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On Friday, Sept. 8, students made their way to Burman Chapel to attend Impact, a weekly vespers event held by the Black Student Christian Forum (BSCF). At this event, students from different ethnic backgrounds come together to engage in faith, fellowship and fun.
“It was one of the biggest turnouts I’ve seen in awhile. There seemed to be a new aura about Impact and I feel this year will be an amazing spiritual experience,” such as Alicia Dent (junior, music and biochemistry) said.
The evening began with a worship service, led by Impact’s very own praise team. Directly after, Chaplain Michael Polite began his sermon emphasizing the importance of identity; Impact’s theme for the year. Chaplain Polite asks students if they ever feel incomplete or not good enough encouraging students to take a deeper look inside at themselves. Chaplain Polite explained that this feeling is the reason why one may constantly feel the need for validation, and how one builds their identity by the people they associate with and their socioeconomic status. For example, a student may be a biology pre-med major not because they want to be a doctor, but because their parents want them to be one.
The sermon delineated the core of identity: “we are not defined by what we have done, but who we are.” Not surprisingly, this message appealed to several students especially at a time where fresh faces enter new territory and returning students might still be figuring things out.
One student, Kiana Gurley (junior, film) resonated with this point, said, “I felt like the sermon related to my current situation. Tonight was really a blessing.”
Chaplain Polite went on to explain how sin is intertwined into one’s identity. However, the sermon also clarified how God helps one overcome their struggle with identity. Chaplain Polite explains that as a sinner, one tries to place God into a box, but God is unconcerned with proving himself to us. God is secure within himself and wants to help us get over this value-based system of the world. To end the sermon,
Chaplain Polite had a special appeal for students who feel like their soul is crying out for freedom. He encouraged students to stop making excuses and to seek God first, as he is the only one who can help you.
Shortly after leaving the vespers, Joy Ngugi (junior, documentary film) expressed her thoughts about Impact. Ngugi said, “The return of Impact was both highly anticipated and very needed. To me, Impact depicts a worship experience with the richness of the black community while not being exclusive to those having other backgrounds.”
Overall, Chaplain Polite’s sermon expresses the theme of identity for this upcoming school year. The best thing that a person can do for themselves is to recognize that they are enough. Now, it’s up to the students to follow through and make changes in their lives.