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Growing Together

By Julie Riddle '92

On Thursday evenings, after finishing work for the day and sharing a quick dinner, Kamesh and Angela Sankaran welcome eight students into their home near Whitworth. Early on each semester, the students arrive alone. Before long, though, they walk or drive together and talk along the way.

Building relationships – with each other and with Christ – is the goal of the Life Groups program, launched by campus ministry in 2018. Every fall and spring, faculty and staff members lead 15 to 20 small groups of students that gather weekly.

Professor of Engineering & Physics Kamesh Sankaran led a group for the program's pilot semester; since then, he and Angela, a nurse practitioner, have led groups together. While their students represent a range of class years and majors, "the common pattern is that they want community and they want to grow in their faith," Kamesh says.

During the Sankarans' hourlong gathering, they and the students catch up on each other's week, pray for one another, and read and reflect on a Scripture passage related to a faith topic the students have chosen to explore. The group this spring delved into the basics of growing a relationship with God.

"Most of the students have some Christian foundation," Kamesh says, "but some are still searching and making decisions about what they believe. [Angela and I] set up a welcoming atmosphere that allows students to be honest about where they are."


Angela Sankaran and Kamesh Sankaran, professor of engineering & physics


Leading Life Groups together provides the students with varied perspectives and communication styles, Angela says. "Kamesh speaks for a living, and he is gifted at asking questions and leading discussions. For my job in healthcare, I listen. A lot of my conversation with the students is before or after the group discussion. Some of the students prefer one- on-one conversation, so there's something for everyone."

As the Sankarans connect with students and help them grow in their faith, the couple also grow in their relationship with each other and with God. "One of the beautiful things about working with college students is that they always have fresh questions," Kamesh says. "They keep me looking at Scripture with a fresh pair of eyes."

Angela, who led a small group of students for years at a public university, has come to love the Whitworth community. "I think special things are happening and God is working," she says. "It's such an honor to be able to be part of that."

 This story appears in the spring 2022 issue of Whitworth Today magazine.


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