In the busy weeks leading up to the end of Graceland University’s fall semester, there were many festive happenings on campus as students, faculty and staff celebrated the arrival of the Christmas season.
The beloved Graceland tradition of faculty and staff singing Christmas carols on the residence halls during the annual “Caroling and Cakes” was, as always, fun and festive. Said carolers visited each residence hall floor and sang a few songs accompanied by guitar. “Good luck on your finals and a happy new year!” was the end lyric for each stop, wishing students good fortune for the grueling week ahead of them. Some students came out of their rooms to listen and join in the singing as well. Devin Williams, a junior on Agape, enjoyed this exchange with his professors, “I like how teachers aren’t just confined to being teachers – they get out and interact with us outside of the classroom. Also, the pancakes were really good.”
The 2014 Gingerbread House Build Off, which is a competition between residence hall houses to build the best ginger bread house, saw Cheville House take first place with their gingerbread house getting destroyed by Hulk, and Sariah as the runner up with a baseball diamond. Along with the gingerbread houses, Floyd M. McDowell Commons served a delicious Christmas dinner, in which not only students and employees were able to enjoy, but also some of the local community; the peppermint soft serve ice cream proved a delicious addition to go along with the holiday theme.
Graceland’s Council of House Chaplains (CHC), Campus Ministries Chaplains and Campus Ministries worked together to organize a campus-wide Christmas celebration service that took place in the Shaw Lobby on Dec. 3. Planning for the service was facilitated and supported by Tom Morain (an Evangelist in the Community of Christ), who worked with the CHC for several weeks on the Christmas service, as well as the Thanksgiving service held weeks before. The service centered on Christmas and personal sharing. Over 90 participants were in attendance as both students and faculty (made up of Community of Christ and non Community of Christ members) shared a personal story, an insight or a memorable Christmas experience they’d had in the past. Some were funny and lighthearted; others were thought provoking and emotional, all related back to what Christmas meant to the speaker.
Throughout the night, the stories from speakers would follow with a Christmas hymn and carol; everyone coming together in music and joined by Graceland’s choir led by Sara Blessing, Graceland’s new choir director. Matt Frizzell, one of Graceland’s Campus Ministers, offered this statement in support of the service and Campus Ministries, “We want to invite and welcome all to participate in our fellowship and activities in an honest, authentic and community-building way. The Thanksgiving and Christmas services were a highlight of the year. They had a good Spirit about them, and reflected both the diversity and hope for spiritual community and purpose on campus. Our on-campus services strive to reflect both our Community of Christ identity and its inclusive aim and mission.”
Graceland University has had a successful Christmas season, and from ours to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!
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