Guest speakers, students, faculty and staff shared on the theme of “Holy Spirit” throughout the year in chapel and the weekly elementary Gathering.
In an end-of-year wrap up chapel, Justin King (high school principal) and Maria Archer (K-8 principal) shared times when they experienced the Holy Spirit this year. “When our 7th graders visited our local Jewish Synagogue during Explore Week,” reflected Archer, “their quiet respect felt holy to me,” she said.
“I felt the Holy Spirit at work in my first year in this role when I knew my colleagues and even students were praying for me,” shared King.
Chapel participants jotted comments on sticky notes about how they have felt the Holy Spirit this year and placed them on crosses as they left. Some samples…
- … everyone who has made me feel like I belong here.
- … in the beautiful innocence of the elementary students.
- … long and meaningful conversation with friends and family about faith and life.
- … the seniors who have been mentors to me.
- … in Touring Choir. The people and passion for music but also sharing God’s love.
- … on my team when we have devotions, celebrating a win, or crying after a tough loss.
- … in prayer chapels. At first they made me uncomfortable but they became really meaningful and intentional for me.
- … in teachers and their willingness to help students with things other than schoolwork, even taking time to pray with them daily.
Shannon Roth, government teacher, leads Chapel Planning Committee. Students provide planning input, offer tech support, and help to lead music.
The elementary weekly Gathering time also often focused on the Holy Spirit. Guests included:
Moriah Hurst, Park View Mennonite Church youth pastor, talked about fire as a symbol for the Holy Spirit. It is calming and can give warmth, but is also very powerful.
Joyce Lind, former first grade teacher at EMES, had several students wear a blindfold and try to hear the voice of their friends. Sometimes we have to listen closely to hear the Holy Spirit.
Fred and Judy Miller shared Mennonite Disaster Service experiences helping communities rebuild after natural disasters. They also challenged students to find ways to help other people, noting this is God’s Holy Spirit at work.
Mary Golden-Hughes, former EMS Advancement Director, shared how the Holy Spirit has led her to work in La Gonave, Haiti and at a local food pantry.
Dr. Nabeel Babar, father of three EMS students, told about his family’s return to Pakistan when he was about 11, an experience that instilled in him a desire to serve others, especially those less fortunate in his community. He shared about the importance of listening to each other; even when our ideas and faith practices differ, we can learn and grow from hearing the stories of others.