STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 08/19/2008


The Complexities of Coffee Production
A lot goes into the dark roasted liquid in a coffee cup, starting with a little tree somewhere in the tropics. Accompanied by Daniel Johnson, associate professor of sociology, and Kirk McClelland, director of service learning and missions, students sat under the instruction of Guatemalan coffee farmers who shared meals and information on soil cultivation, caring for coffee trees, how cherries are picked, coffee bean extraction from its fruit and how to wash, sort and grade beans.

Students observed the processes of buying and selling, transporting, roasting, preparing and packaging of the beans for market. Johnson says, "We know--not just in our heads but in our bodies--how hard it is to pick coffee cherries from 10-foot arabica bourbon coffee plants on a 45-degree slope. We also know how hard it is to carry a 70-pound bag up that same slope at the end of day. We know how delicate the 'butterfly' seedlings are when you transplant them and how resilient the plants are when they're producing cherries. We know what it takes to roast the beans over an open fire and grind them with a stone roller and a grinding stone."

McClelland says the trip was a combination of lectures paired with real-life experiences that drove home those lectures. Participants experienced different models of production: a single plantation owner, a cooperative run by former guerillas, a coffee shop owner, and a company that puts all the production of coffee into the hands of the farmer from seed to market. Guatemalans shared how
various arrangements have impacted the lives of their families and their communities.

This two-credit seminar makes visible what people take for granted in one cup of coffee, prompting reflection on the responsibilities that consumers share as followers of Jesus in an increasingly interdependent world.

To see more images of their experiences, visit

To read more about the Coffee International Seminar, visit

Notable Coaches
These Gordon coaches were recently honored by The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC):

  • Cross Country: John Molvar was named the CCC men's Cocoach of the Year. He led the team to its highest finish at the NCAA Regional Championship. Three of Molvar's runners were placed on the All-Conference team.
  • Field Hockey: Cory Ward '97 was named Coach of the Year. He earned his 100th career win this season and guided the Fighting Scots to an undefeated Conference regular season (8-0). Seven teammates were named All-Conference members and two were named on the All-New England team.
  • Volleyball: Joy Gabrielli was named Coach of the Year. She led her team to its most wins (24) since 2002. Four players were named All-Conference.

Athletics at Gordon:

Breaking Ground: Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness
The Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness (CBMW) is moving from the Bennett Center to the Brigham Athletic Complex. The 6,000-square-foot facility will also house a future day care center for children of Gordon faculty and staff. Phase one of the new center is scheduled to be completed this spring.

The Center offers clinical, academic and research expertise for treatment of neurological, vestibular, and gait and balance disorders. It will also support fitness and wellness promotion for adults age 55 and older.

Physical therapist Marie Lucey, clinical director, will be assisted by three additional therapists working directly with clients referred by area physicians. Lucey works with Sean Clark and Peter Iltis, both professors of kinesiology, in developing CBMW's expanded services in their new facility. The Center supervises student interns for Gordon and Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.

Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness:

Companions for the Journey
Companions for the Journey pairs students with faculty or staff members for semester-long mentoring relationships, focusing discussion on vocation, family, relationships, faith and identity. Malcolm Patterson, dean of graduate education, and Dan Bell, senior history major, were paired as companions when Dan was a freshman, and they continue to remain close friends.

Malcolm Patterson: Whatever the matching process, God's hand was in my first meeting with Dan. Despite our age difference, conversation was comfortable and friendly. Dan exhibited maturity of thought that belied his youth. When the semester was over, Dan and I agreed to continue meeting to maintain our friendship and share the ongoing events of our lives.

Watching Dan give a history presentation as a freshman, I was impressed with his remarkable maturity, poise and confidence. "That's my boy," I thought with a feeling of pride usually reserved for a parent. This observation of Dan's significant God-given gifts and graces bolstered my admiration and respect for him. This year our discussions have turned to postgraduation plans; Dan has his sights set on graduate and Ph.D. studies in church history. He expresses admiration and appreciation for the personal nurture and wise counsel of Gordon's History Department faculty, whom he hopes one day to emulate.

As a mentor I hoped to contribute something of value to a formative stage of Dan's life; however, my life has been immeasurably enriched, and no doubt Dan and I will always remain friends.

Dan Bell: It has been a blessing to get to know Dr. Patterson and his wife, Joyce. He has been an incredibly strong encouragement in my life at Gordon, supporting various things I've been involved in--including student ministries, the Jerusalem and Athens Forum, and my decision to study abroad. Our discussions have helped me better grasp my vocation and consider what it means to be a thoughtful and loving follower of Christ. He has been a wonderful example to me.

Graduation Speakers
Baccalaureate--May 16, 5 p.m.
Roberto Miranda, senior pastor at Congregación León de Judá, Roxbury, Massachusetts; president and founder of the Fellowship of Hispanic Pastors of New England; member of Gordon College Board of Trustees since 2004.

Commencement--May 17, 10 a.m
Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California; author of The Purpose Driven Church (1995) and the bestselling The Purpose Driven Life (2002); leads the Purpose Driven Network of churches, a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries.

A Guide to Commencement:

A (Textured) Service of Prayer
Andene Christopherson

Our annual Day of Prayer invites the campus to pause, pray and listen. This year sacramental stones, Scripture paired with poetry, 1947 footage of Gordon on the Fenway, and a string quartet were woven together in a walk through Gordon's past, present and future. We recognized that Gordon is an active force in the Body of Christ--with a story.

We prayed through this story in three segments: gratefulness for its past; humility and obedience regarding its present; and supplication for its future. Each segment included Scripture followed by poetry or prose, and a brief insight to focus the prayer time.

The thrice repeated prayer liturgies were book-ended with sacramental stones. Attendees were invited forward to select a stone representative of their part in the story, and at the conclusion of the service they returned the stones--like the Israelites in Joshua 4:1-7--piling their stones in remembrance of and in expectation of God's faithfulness. This prayer service reminded us of the part we play in the story of Gordon's service to the Lord

Andene is the director of worship at Gordon.


Coffee Seminar
Center for Balance and Mobility
Companions for the Journey
Day of Prayer