LWC Community Celebrates College’s Methodist Heritage
Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 [7:04 PM]
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- The Rev. Terry Swan remembers
when visitors to Lindsey Wilson College had to look hard in order
to find symbols of the school's relationship with The United
During a campus visit to the A.P. White Campus by members of the
United Methodist Board of Higher Education in
the early 1990s, LWC officials were told that symbols of its church
heritage were few and far between.
"One of the conclusions of that team was we didn't have many
symbols of our church connection here at Lindsey Wilson," Swan said during Church Celebration Day, held
Wednesday in V.P. Henry Auditorium.
In the two decades since that visit, LWC has done a much better
job displaying its church heritage, Swan said.
"You can hardly miss the symbols anymore -- you have to not be
looking for them," said Swan, who is a professor of religion and
dean of the chapel and has been a member of the college's faculty
since 1985. "The list goes on and on and on -- we're surrounded by
symbols and reminders here."
Church Celebration Day is an annual event every fall in which
the LWC community affirms its relationship with The United
Methodist Church. The college was founded in 1903 as a training
school by Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Swan noted several major events have underscored LWC's church
relationship in the last two decades. In addition to the building
of the John B. Begley Chapel, LWC has opened the Sumner Campus
Ministry Center, Norma and Glen Hodge Center for Discipleship, and
added a bachelor's and master's program in Christian
"Now, today, what a difference 20 years later, the very symbol
of our school on our literature is the crown of the beautiful
Begley Chapel," said Swan, who is a professor of religion and dean
of the chapel. "And it's seen, lit up like a beacon, on the Lindsey
Hill from miles at night."
The Rev. Todd Love, who is superintendent of the United
Methodist Church's Columbia District, credited the Lindsey Wilson
mission with helping bolster the college.
"For I see on this campus, every day, that the mission statement
of Lindsey Wilson College is not just theoretical jargon concocted
to sound appealing," he said. "It is in fact a credo lived out in
very practical ways of active caring and Christian concern for
every student every day. I am undeniably proud to be associated
with such an institution."
Swan also noted that LWC has evolved into a place where students
can grow intellectually and spiritually.
"It's where faculty and staff imprint the beauty of their lives
and the wisdom of the ages into the young adults who come to our
school," he said. "A private, church-related college should be the
very environment where you have the freedom to give attention to
and even give priority to the deepest, existential questions of
life that each of us have."
Because LWC is a place that encourages students to develop
intellectually and spiritually, Swan said the college is a kind of
"For students, college can become a spiritual greenhouse or it
can become a spiritual graveyard. And at Lindsey Wilson College we
choose the former," he said. "We want this to be a safe place where
we consider our deepest values, life's direction and purpose, and
the meaning of a good and rich and full life."
Although LWC has experienced unprecedented expansion over the
last decade, Swan noted that has not been the norm for many
church-related liberal arts colleges.
"At a time in history when many church-related colleges in rural
areas are retrenching and are cutting staff, their enrollments are
diminishing, faculty are in opposition to the administration,
colleges are distancing themselves to their historic church
connection, instead we still have a degree of difference here," he
said. "There is something special about Lindsey Wilson College, and
I think that is because we are always trying to improve."
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