The First Word: Where Faith, Learning, and Service Meet
At North Park we assume responsibility for educating the whole student. Jesus expressed this same ideal when he was asked, as a teacher, to identify the greatest commandment. He replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:39). These three aspects of being human are reflected in the concluding phrase of the University’s vision statement: “to fashion a university of uncommon character and enduring excellence where faith, learning, and service meet.”
Just as loving God to the fullest requires all of one’s being, so at North Park we hold that education should engage our whole person. Our commitment is to form and transform each student—to mold and remold them, shape and reshape them, direct and redirect them—toward becoming the person of God’s intent. We embrace the responsibility to graduate students who love God and serve their neighbor as broadly as humanly possible—in heart, soul, and mind.
How is this accomplished? What are the means we at North Park adopt toward this end? The answers to these questions are well illustrated in the two features of this issue of the North Parker.
The new science and community life building — freshly named the Johnson Center — is designed to address the educational needs of the whole student. In the classrooms and science laboratories of this wonderful new facility students will engage the academic disciplines; in the café and lounge areas students will meet each other and build friendships for a lifetime; in the Center for Student Engagement students will join with their peers to love God and serve others.
Through North Park’s annual Sankofa experience, students engage learning via a road-trip, an undertaking which becomes a life-journey. The Word of Christ becomes flesh in the journey toward racial reconciliation, and along the way students learn new ways to love God will all their heart, soul, and mind, and to love their neighbor as themselves.
To learn at North Park is to learn how to love God and how to serve others. This is our sacred obligation.