by Christy Pratt (Graceland University Campus Ministries Intern)
For the last few years we have done HOPESpeeches at Graceland, an event that Zac and Katie Harmon-McLaughlin dreamed up. It was based off TED Speeches or the Last Lecture series, with the intention that each presenter would have the opportunity to share what their hopes were, how they were bringing hope to the world, or an expression of hope.
In the past we’ve had speeches, poetry, Readers Theater, music, and various forms of visual art. This year with World Conference creating a huge break in the middle of the semester, I proposed moving it to final fling. So last night we had Hope Rising, an event to inspire hope in our community.
We heard from various voices in our community about how Graceland has changed them or how they have been changed through the experiences provided by Graceland. It was inspiring to hear from young and old voices that all have so much love and hope in this community.
I realize that I am biased towards the Graceland community because it has been a place I’ve called home for over 6 years. The people here have been with me through every trial and every triumph I have faced. I am constantly being inspired by those around me, whether it be the commitment of the staff and faculty, or the excitement and energy from the students. Each person that comes to Graceland has the opportunity to experience something life-changing. I have been an intern with Campus Ministries for the past 2 years, I have been blessed to be on both sides of the institution and see how much the staff and faculty really believe in the students.
Last night I was given the opportunity to see how others view Graceland and where they find their hope. Each person had something beautiful to share through spoken word or music, and as each one began I was overwhelmed by the Spirit that lives in every person’s life, shining uniquely from within. Through their passionate voices, dancing, singing, or slam poetry I was given the memorable experience to really embrace the divinity in my community.
Hope is contagious, my hope is that every person is inspired by those around them, wherever they find themselves, because the Spirit can be found in the places you least expect it to be.