Briercrest College and Seminary wrapped up a successful week of homecomings, reunions, a missions conference and a presidential installation this past weekend.
“I’m overwhelmed by the support, kindness, encouragement and prayers that I have experienced this past week, and I’m deeply grateful to God and the community with which I share life and mission,” Michael Pawelke, Briercrest’s president, said.
The week, which began with Briercrest’s annual 2819 missions conference, saw hundreds of people from all over Canada and the United States come together.
“We had people from as far away as Florida come,” June Clark, who oversaw the alumni homecoming, explained.
Clark said she was very pleased with how the week’s events turned out and was blessed to have over 200 alumni back on campus to reconnect.
“It was a great opportunity for Briercrest alumni to come back to campus, get reconnected with classmates, find out what’s new, relive some of the memories and find out what God is doing in the lives of students today,” she said.
For many of the alumni, she explained, it was like reconnecting with family.
“Alumni can be strong at any school, but I think because we live in community here there is an excitement about re-establishing that sense of community,” she said.
“Briercrest, for many of us, has been a place where God has caught our attention and some of our most significant decisions in life have been made here. We had people from every decade in which Briercrest has existed here this weekend, so we had a whole gamut of memories.”
One of the highlights was Pawelke’s presidential installation that took place on Friday, Sept. 27.
“It was exciting to be a part of history as Michael Pawelke was installed as our sixth president. All of our living presidents were on campus this weekend and were part of the installation, so that was pretty awesome as well,” Clark explained.
“Also, Sunday morning, having everyone together in the chapel and hearing our students sing and worshiping together and hearing Michael Pawelke open the Word to us was a reminder of how we have been committed over the years to the Word of our God.”
Carlin Weinhauer, MC for the board reunion and former board chairman at Briercrest, said he, too, was encouraged by the week’s events and by the 40 or so board members who were able to reunite.
“The fellowship was wonderful and so was being able to catch up with people you haven’t seen for years,” he said.
One of the highlights for the board reunion was being able to reminisce.
“We were asked the question, ‘what has Briercrest meant to you?’ during the first general meeting we had and there were many people that spoke into that,” Weinhauer explained.
“It was heartwarming and encouraging to hear. Many of these people had been here many years ago and have been in Christian leadership or business leadership and acknowledge God’s special preparation of them here at Briercrest for their lifelong journey.”
Tim Stabell, assistant professor of mission at Briercrest, was pleased by how well the overall events came together.
With about 28 mission organizations present this year, Stabell said the conference was a great chance to encourage students to look at their world more broadly.
“It was an opportunity for students to be exposed to the global mission of the church. To look at the challenge of areas of the world where people do not have access to the gospel and areas of service around the world where they can come alongside other believers, and encourage and contribute what gifts they have,” he explained.
“The main priority of 2819 is the awareness of missions for the whole student body. For students to realize we are all called to God Who is on a mission. We are part of this global movement so we want students to catch that vision.”