Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development has presented the theme for this year’s Student Congress of Racial Reconciliation conference conference as “Repairers of the Breach” in hopes to strengthen the church body in response to national and campus wide racial tension.
Healing and restoration
The need for healing and restoration has grown since the directors of SCORR first decided on the theme over a year ago, according to Glen Kinoshita, director of Imago Dei initiatives and director of SCORR. In light of recent national and campus events, they hope to take the conversation deeper than the point of awareness.
“The conference itself establishes that this a necessary conversation, and so my hope is that students would walk away feeling welcome and more aware, but with everything that they learn they are refined into being a better citizen of each community that they’re in,” said Zoe Alava, junior Christian ministries major and student director of SCORR.
Along with the sessions designed for students, SCORR directors have added new workshop sessions on Friday morning for faculty to engage with one another and increase intercultural competence in their classrooms. The directors have also added a story slam session, titled “Narratives of Redemption and Identity Formation,” focusing on diversity, justice and restoration where people can share their personal experiences.
“The workshops… are designed to address many of the issues going on. And I think the scriptures… have a lot to say as far as the tensions of our world, but unfortunately the church has not always reflected that and Christian colleges have not always reflected that. And we humbly would invite ourselves and those around us to step into that and be salt and light,” Kinoshita said.
Engagement with diversity
Kinoshita and the student directors hope to prepare students for post-college lives and careers in an increasingly convoluted society by training faculty and students to not only become aware of these issues but to process them on a deeper level rather than simply hear about the things occurring.
“SCORR is also trying to fulfill the university’s aspirations and learning outcomes in preparing students for a very diverse world, a very complicated world. And I think that much of what happens in SCORR is learning how to deal with complexity, diversity and how to engage,” Kinoshita said.
The student directors also hope to help students realize their impact on society and begin transforming the mind and goals of the church.
“More than ever, the world is looking at us and our response to these things and I believe that we should be the model of what unity among God's people looks like,” said Kayla Bumpass, senior intercultural studies major and student director. “I think we as Biola students need to see that this is the heart of the Gospel. It's raising up those who are oppressed, it's loving on God’s people, and that’s what we need to incorporate in our own lives.