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Terry McGonigal
(1994-present), Dean of the Chapel

It feels like every academic year moves more swiftly than the previous one. That certainly is my perspective one week after Whitworth's commencement weekend, as so much has gone on during the past year professionally and personally. In January I traveled to Whitworth's Costa Rica Center, where I taught my Biblical Theme of Shalom class for 35 honors freshmen students. It was a fantastic experience, providing experiential learning in intercultural communication, ministry and mission, sustainability, and experiencing the beauty of God's spectacular creation. The students studied scripture passionately and served well as we worked alongside Youth With A Mission staff and volunteers on multiple occasions. After the freshmen students returned to Whitworth for the spring semester, they continued to be in weekly contact through two Bible studies.

This spring brought the joyous welcome of my next two grandkids, two boys (Declan Terry, born to my daughter, Shannon, and her husband, Dan, on Feb. 23 in San Diego) and Ryan Clark (born to my son, Keats, and his wife, April, on April 24 here in Spokane – since then they have moved to Bend, Ore). Our hearts are full of joy for our four grandkids, and we look forward to having them all at the beach in Southern California this summer.

Campus ministry this year has been a delight, working alongside a team of gifted leaders who provide guidance to lots of students living out the gospel of Jesus each day on our campus. I am reminded daily of the importance of raising up a next generation of faithful, passionate Christian disciples who will bear witness to Jesus' grace and truth.  That's the mission of Whitworth University, and that's what keeps me going.

The shifting directions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are also on the forefront these days. Much of my time this past year has been spent listening to people with very different perspectives interpret the state of the denomination even as we try to find ways to move forward faithfully. That is what we considered at this summer's Whitworth Institute of Ministry with our theme of "Our Hope for Years to Come: Theological Foundations during Turbulent Times." Our evening preacher was Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary. Todd Bolsinger, senior pastor at San Clemente Presbyterian Church, led us in considering how to go about adaptive change that builds upon the past as we try to envision the church in a very uncertain future. In morning Bible study, Mary Kate Morse, professor at George Fox Seminary, led us to consider how to be sensitive to God's spirit personally during time of transition. WIM 2012 was a great week of spiritual renewal.

As always, I thank God every day for the gift of life and privilege to work with such great people in our common mission at Whitworth University. Peace of Christ to you. 

Terry McGonigal
Dean of Spiritual Life

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