Jubilee brings great group to Praise Park

Published 6:44 pm Saturday, March 15, 2014

By Larry P. Stover

The Selma Times-Journal

Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene had the privilege of hosting a group of students, professors and staff from Point Loma Nazarene University, located in San Diego, Calif., this past Sunday evening. The Black Student Union of Point Loma sponsored a trip to Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee to visit Civil Rights sites. Their itinerary included stops in Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham as well as Memphis, Tennessee.

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Local Pastor Rev. Al Smith, an Alumnus of Point Loma, made the arrangements for the group coming to town.

While in Selma, they enjoyed Sunday morning worship at Selmont Community Baptist Church, followed by participation in Bridge Crossing Jubilee activities. Sunday evening they joined us at Praise Park for a “Southern BBQ” and a time of worship. It was a delightful evening for us as we got to know each other in an atmosphere of food, fellowship, and praise.

On Monday morning, Don Willingham, Dallas County Superintendent of Schools, went with the group to Southside High School and Tipton Middle School to interact with students. After an enjoyable lunch of southern cuisine, the group departed to Birmingham.

The remainder of their tour before returning to San Diego, included stops at the 16th Street Baptist Church and the Civil Rights Institute/Park in Birmingham as well as the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.

Their “Mission Statement” for the trip sums up their experience.

“This “Civil Rights Pilgrimage“ is an opportunity for the PLNU community to embrace our mission, which is often summarized as “To Teach, To Shape, and To Send.” In accordance with our university mission, the Civil Rights Pilgrimage will teach by allowing students to venture to places and personally experience places where defining events took place that made impactful contributions to the foundations of our country today. This will be a collaborative effort to build relationships with and for Faculty, Staff and Students. A bridge will be built between PLNU’s community and those in the communities that we will be visiting. This trip will shape the students before they are sent to carry out various jobs throughout this diverse nation and the kingdom of God.”

Faculty and Staff who enjoyed the trip included: Glen Laster, the assistant director of Public Safety at the University and coordinator of this trip; Cynthia Brownlee, University Credential Analyst; Brian Becker, Director of International Ministries; Dr. Kim Bogan, Associate Dean of Students as well as the Director of Justice and Reconciliation; Dr. Jamie Gates, Professor of Sociology and Social Work; and Dr. John Wu, Faculty Chair of the School of Psychology.Students who enjoined the Pilgrimage included Allison Kendrix, Norrell Lopez, Molly Murphy, Lorren Comeaux, Bianca Hernandez, Anissa Hernandez, Abigail Wulah, Jessica Osa, Prudence Torian, Lynn Dickson, Christina Marcial, Keana McGrath, Zurisadai Rivera, and Ebanezare Tadele.

This was a first time visit to the Southeastern part of the country for most of them. It was a big difference from being at college in San Diego. Point Loma Nazarene University sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As I look back on their visit, it was “Something Beautiful.”