By Erika Neldner
Welcoming students and starting the school year off on the right path with God is the focus of a longstanding tradition of Waleska United Methodist Church and Reinhardt University.
The annual Opening Worship Service will be held Aug. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at the Falany Performing Arts Center. A reception will follow in the FPAC atrium. Childcare will be provided for infants and toddlers at Hagan Chapel during the service.
“The beginning of the school year is a great time to reflect on the place of God in their life, in their education and in their future. It is a great time to extend a welcome to the students in the context of worship,” said the Rev. Tim Emmett, pastor of Waleska UMC. “I see this service as a great opportunity both to encourage the students (“God is with you!”) and to challenge the students (“Are you with God?”). The same, of course, is true of the non-students in the sanctuary. We, too, need that affirmation and that challenge.”
While the service is focused on students starting the school year, the community is welcome to attend to pray for a successful and safe school year for the students, faculty and staff of Reinhardt University.
The worship service is led by Emmett and the Rev. Ted Goshorn, University Minister to Students.
“The importance of this service is to demonstrate the unity we have in our relationship with God as a community,” Goshorn said. “I will be focused on God’s calling for us, so we can remember that we do not live for ourselves but we live for others – and that God has called and directed us in ways to make the world look more like heaven.”
Goshorn said this year’s service will include participation from students, who will offer prayer and read from Scripture.
In addition, traditional hymns will be sung, and the Reinhardt University Choir will share their talents of worship in song.
“It’s a nice blending of traditional hymns with what the University choir brings to the service,” Emmett said.
Goshorn said he hopes to see a strong turnout of people who want to worship the Lord and pray for Reinhardt.
“It is a chance to be reminded as to why we are here and the importance of work we have to do,” he said of the service.