Student Development is organizing a remembrance service for students, faculty and staff at John Brown University.
Held March 3, the Monday of the first week of Lent, the short service will include scripture reading, hymns, prayer and a time for those attending to speak out loud the name of those they have lost in the past year. It will begin at 4:00 p.m. outside of the Cathedral of the Ozarks, weather permitting.
Tim Dinger, director of the Student Counseling Center, explained that event is intended for anyone who is interested.
“We don’t know how many to expect,” Dinger said. “It could be anywhere between fifteen to a hundred.”
Dinger compared the initiative to an All Saints Service, explaining that it would be a time to pause and reflect on the gift of life, and to honor those who have passed away. Speaking names brings prominence to those we have lost and expresses thanks for their lasting impact, Dinger explained.
“We often grieve in isolation from others, and there is value in coming together with something that impacts all of us,” Dinger said. “We are all human and this is an equalizer.”
Attendees will be able to participate as much or as little as they desire. Dinger encouraged those who are unsure if they should attend to simply take a chance, come and be present.
Dinger is working with Tracy Balzer, director of Christian Formation, and Lisa Corry, director of campus ministries, to finalize service details. The time will officially be called a Day of Remembrance.
Balzer explained that they intentionally planned the service to intersect with the beginning of Lent.
“Lent is the time in the church year when we remember that our lives are fleeting on this earth, but we look ahead to the promise of resurrection and eternal life,” she said. “Lent helps us acknowledge the reality of death, while proclaiming that death does not have the final victory.”
The atmosphere Balzer, Corry and Dinger hope to foster is one of respect and reflection.
“I think it will naturally be rather solemn,” Balzer said. “We don’t want it to be gloomy, however. So we hope it will be reverent, holy, prayerful and hopeful.”
This is the first time the University has offered a service such as this. In the fall, Dinger began to consider hosting such an event and brought the idea before Student Development.
“It seemed like a good time to try something new, and to give students a way to support each other if they are grieving,” Balzer added. “Sad things happen, students experience loss, and sometimes it can feel like no one cares about that loss.”
Dinger discussed how college and young adulthood is a unique time for people, who often begin to experience close personal loss for the first time.
Dinger is hopeful for the possibility of the event to continue to thrive and build as a tradition over the coming years.
No chapel credit will be offered. More information to follow in the Here & Now and during an announcement in chapel.
For those interested, the University’s Counseling Center will subsequently offer a grief group in the coming weeks. Contact Twyla Krueger for details.