Fall Retreat 2013: Hope Restored
Dean of Students David Leedy writes on his experience at the newly revived school-wide Fall Retreat.
Last weekend, three fourths of the King’s student body, as well as many staff and faculty (400 people in total), congregated in Rock Hill, New York, 90 miles northwest of NYC. Something profound happened, something I didn’t quite expect.
We worshipped. We heard fabulous teaching (thanks to Kimberly Thornbury, Dru Johnson, Anthony Bradley, Eric Bennett, and others). We took part in the annual Drama Competition, which was gut-wrenchingly fun. In a spirit of solidarity, President and Kimberly Thornbury graced us with their presence. Pres. Thornbury’s musical flair was even on display at various points during the weekend, which was a huge hit with students.
But something deeper happened. One student used the word hope, which I think gets at it. Last year’s turbulence resulted in many disruptions—ruptures—in the King’s community. Those setbacks resulted in some students losing hope, as if a dark cloud obscured their vision of a bright future for King’s.
God used the Fall Retreat to restore hope—and by my observation joy—to our community. Student after student said that the Fall Retreat convinced them that they are in the right place and that something great is happening here. The residual heaviness was lifted away.
Numerous students were in tears on Saturday night after the staff/faculty rendition of The Wizard of Oz, not because the staff were so funny (though Noel Rabinowitz’s embodiment of the cowardly lion did blow off the roof), but because they were so thankful to be part of this community and so encouraged to be part of what is happening at The King’s College.
There was a key force behind making the Fall Retreat happen: Student Body President Peter Flemming. Peter not only championed reinstating the Fall Retreat, he provided the leadership to make it happen. In his short time in office, he has already left a profound mark on the student body. Well done, Peter!