29 Mar Senior Speakers Deliver Outstanding Messages in Chapel
Every year, the University of Valley Forge recognizes seniors by inviting a graduating student from each department to speak during chapel. This affords all students a chance to be impacted by their peers, and the seniors themselves a wonderful opportunity to share a unique and relevant message from God with their friends and classmates.
This year, six senior speakers were given the honor of speaking: Alicia Rivera, the Intercultural Studies department representative; Caroline Poore, of the Education Department; Deborah Phillips, representing the Digital Media Communications department; Jessica Simonic, representing Business Administration; Melea Fowler, speaking for Arts and Sciences; and representing Behavioral Sciences was Melenis Velez. The final two senior speakers, representing the departments of Music and Ministry Leadership and Theology, will be sharing along with senior class advisor Dr. JoAnn Smith at Baccalaureate on April 27, 2018. Click here to listen to their messages!
Alicia Rivera, who spoke in November of 2017, delivered a sermon drawn from Revelation 2:1-5. She asked the important question: is God the fire in your flame? Warning against complacency, she encouraged us that we are called to walk before we are called to work. It’s easy to get caught up in work – even the work of the Lord – all while your flame is dying. We must remember our walk in order to remember for whom we are working. Finally, she concluded her message by stating one’s first love should be Jesus – and love at first sight should be love at every sight, continuously fanning the fire of God’s flame.
In December, Caroline Poore spoke about the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19. She divided her message into three parts: go, make disciples, and baptize. Each of these commands, she said, is broad and begs their own question. Go where? How does one make disciples? When should people be baptized? One by one, she answered these questions: go where God calls you, make disciples by living as an example for Christ wherever you go, and lastly, baptize people after they have committed their lives to Christ and are ready to make a public declaration of their faith. One must encourage baptism, but not force it because God is not a God of instant gratification. Caroline is currently the children’s pastor at the Power Place Church and hopes to continue serving there in the future.
Deborah Phillips, the first speaker of the spring semester, shared a message entitled “The Great Romance.” She talked about the three things that the Lord showed her during her time at UVF: love, identity, and community. She stressed that God does not want us to learn from punishment, but encourages us through love to be continuously better than we are. In addition, she encouraged us to find where we are in contact with God – through worship, time alone, or the Word – and constantly be there.
“Before you can understand what you were made to do, you first must understand how God created you,” said Jessica Simonic during her chapel service. Her message was about looking at personality from the Creator’s perspective. Our traits, quirks, and tendencies serve a purpose in bringing glory to God and advancing his kingdom. This sermon combined Jessica’s interests with her faith and education. Jessica is already credentialed with Assemblies of God and will be graduating with a degree in Human Resources and a minor in Marketing.
As an English major, Melea Fowler talked about a topic dear to her heart: words. Words, she said, can be positive or negative; lift us up or tear us down. Melea shared a quote from Louisa May Alcott, “I like good strong words that mean something.” Our words are strong and mean something, and it’s up to us to choose which meanings we share with the world. We must choose whether to use kind words or rude words, to speak positively or negatively. After graduation, Melea will continue to work on the UVF campus in the Marketing department.
Melenis Velez shared a message centered around emotions. She spoke about not suppressing or ignoring our emotions, and instead embracing them as part of God’s design. She encouraged us to rejoice in them as a part of our journey and to receive comfort, hope, and positivity from God rather than man. Melenis will be attending Stockton University after graduation to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work, and she hopes to work with troubled adolescents and young adults in the future.