Religion Department Enjoys Weekend of Fellowship

By Timothy Baze on October 17, 2014

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Every year, PUC’s department of religion is able to enjoy a weekend of rest at the Albion Retreat and Learning Center, PUC's campus on the Mendocino coast, before fall quarter gets busy.

This year’s retreat, October 2-5, began Friday evening with a powerful testimony by senior theology major, and former student association president, Ivan Ostrovsky. He shared his experience working as a pastoral intern in Chula Vista, Calif., this summer, and described the incredible experiences he had while working with a Youth Rush team who were based in Chula Vista. Youth Rush is a summer ministry program in which students sell religious books to work on scholarships for college. Ivan closed his message with an appeal asking students to answer God’s call, “Whom shall I send?” with the words, “Here am I. Send me!”

Junior theology major Taariq Patel was the speaker for Sabbath morning. His dynamic message, entitled “The Voice of the Dragon,” was based on a story in the book of Jeremiah where two prophets were preaching opposing messages. Patel encouraged fellow theology and religion majors to make sure that the sermons they listen to and preach are filled with truth and mercy.

Sabbath School at Albion is always a highly anticipated event. Ross Winkle, department of religion chair, and Myron Widmer, professor of religion and applied theology, hosted “The Ultimate Bible Challenge.” The students were divided into teams and answered Bible questions in various formats. The games were a mix of friendly competition and laughter, as students competed to see who could answer the questions correctly.

After lunch on Sabbath, students and professors alike took time to explore the beautiful area surrounding the Albion Retreat and Learning Center. One group went kayaking up the tributary the Center is located on, and some even went swimming in the cold water. Another group took a bus up the coast to go tide pooling, stopping by Point Cabrillo Light Station State Park on their way back to see the historic lighthouse.

That evening, students gathered again to close the Sabbath with an inspiring message by senior theology major, Zachary Surovec. He closed with an appeal, encouraging the audience to choose to follow Jesus. Following the final meeting, a game night was led out by senior theology major, Brysanna Penland, helping theology and religion majors get to know each other better.

John Mangan, a junior theology major who recently transferred to PUC, thoroughly enjoyed the trip. "Albion was such an amazing experience. The fact that we spent time with God in nature opened the meaning of God's power. I really enjoyed the powerful messages given, getting to know my fellow theology classmates and the praise and worship. It was great being able to connect with everyone!” Mangan shared.

“I recently changed my major to religion, and I felt so welcomed,” said junior Taylor Pittenger. “The sermons were uplifting, and it was great to be with people with like minds.”

While the programming was a blessing, the biggest impact the Albion trip had was that it gave religion and theology majors time to bond with their classmates and professors. Freshman theology major Randy Ramos stated, “Albion retreat was something more than I envisioned.” He explained his favorite part of the trip was getting to know the other attendees and hearing the stories of how God called them to a life of ministry.