It is quiet on campus as I write these words. Our students are already home. 2020, a year we long will remember, is ending. Advent is here, and Christmas is coming.
A few days ago, I told a friend that in more than two decades of college and university teaching, I have never seen a more determined, hopeful, or grateful group of students than those I taught this fall. That same strength of character is evident in faculty and staff colleagues; they have been models of perseverance.
2020 has been long and difficult, but it also has allowed us to witness good people trying very hard to do good things. We have seen powerful examples of courage and grace.
The Institute for Faith and Learning’s normal rhythm of gathering people for conferences, lectures, and working groups had to find a new beat this year. Like so many of you, we adapted.
With the Office of the President and Office of the Provost, we began an online series of Readers Meet the Author events, where faculty authors are talking about their new books with colleagues. We continue to gather others (albeit virtually) to think about how teaching across the disciplines might be animated by Christian faith, and how, especially in these days, it might be done online.
Our Crane Scholars Program, now in its 20th year, continues to flourish, fostering the next generation of Christian servant-leaders, some of whom may be called one day to places like Baylor. We also have been inspired by the 14 congregations across Texas who are a part of the Soundings Project, an initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment. Pastors and lay leaders are developing creative projects that deepen and extend their ministries, and we are seeing firsthand how essential the relationship is between church and church-related higher education.
We have plans for 2021, including our Baylor Symposium on Faith and Learning—Living Accountably—but our approach to making plans certainly has changed. For now, we wait, but we wait in hope.
Thank you for your support of our mission at Baylor and beyond. On behalf of my IFL colleagues, we wish you and yours Advent blessings and a joyous and peaceful Christmas!