Last month in chapel, Dr. Kelly Kapic told us, “Probably the most important thing that Covenant College faculty do is stand in front of you and believe.” This is undoubtedly true. I would add a corollary to that insight: one of the most important things our professors do for us is standing with one another and love each other well.
At Covenant, we tend to advertise the student body and the relationships we form with each other. We talk about intentional friendships and fellowship and hall life. We also make much of the way that professors relate to students. We talk about ratios and class size and having dinner at our professors’ houses. These are all wonderful aspects of what has made Covenant home for me and many other people. But we should also notice and appreciate the community the professors have amongst themselves. I’ve seen professors share meals, take walks together, hang out in one anothers’ offices, and spend time with each other off campus. Obviously we only see a part of our professors’ lives during the school day, but the relationships lived out in front of us are worth noting and reflecting on. If we don’t, we are overlooking a vibrant example of Christian community and a model that we can seek to emulate as we go forth into various forms of professional lives. Here are just a handful of examples of friendship that have stood out to me in my time at Covenant.
Covenant professors show up for each other. Whenever one professor speaks in chapel, the front rows on the right side fill up with other professors coming to listen to their colleague. If you have a 10am class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you’ve probably heard professors pray for their coworker’s chapel talk that morning. They listen well, and then they talk about it together afterwards.
Covenant professors help each other out in small but tangible ways. Last semester, I attended a Linguistics Club event downstairs in Brock, a floor with fickle and unpredictable temperature control. Dr. Nola Hecker was at the event to introduce the speakers, and found herself unprepared for the strangely frigid building. So she simply stopped by Dr. Bill Dennison’s office, and he lent her a sweater – admittedly oversized, but it looked suitably warm. She wore it the whole time.
Covenant professors care for each other in strikingly sacrificial and significant ways. One of the most memorable mornings at Covenant for me was early one morning last spring, when Dr. Paul Morton had a health crisis at work. Dr. Jay Green dropped everything and drove him to the hospital. Dr. Green was back in time for the class I had with him at 10. He opened class in prayer, which was not unusual. But that morning he prayed for Dr. Morton, whom he called “my friend.” Later that day, he expended precious time in getting Dr. Morton’s truck back home for him, which is true sacrifice because Dr. Morton lives in the middle of nowhere.
As students, we spend four years at Covenant. In that time, our professors teach us about our academic disciplines and instruct us how to see and value God in those fields. Importantly, they also offer us examples of stable, faithful friendship, lived out in front of us. They show up for each other, but aren’t afraid to teach one another or to disagree heartily but respectfully. They pray for one another. And they love sacrificially. I encourage you to watch for and reflect upon these examples. The many models of robust friendship that surround us are good gifts. Let’s make much of them.