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Strangers Welcome: Creating Spaces Where Brokenness Can Encounter Love, Compassionate Witness, Healing, and Restoration Conversation with the President Os Guinness Matriculation Jewerl Maxwell Lee Trio


Convocation is the calling people together for a large formal assembly. To that end, the purpose of the Convocation program at Gordon College is to convene the Gordon community together on Friday mornings throughout the year and is designed to foster the development and application of a Christian worldview. Convocation provides common experiences to the community that will at times reinforce and at times challenge perspectives expressed in the curriculum, encouraging us to listen graciously and learn deeply from those with whom we agree and disagree. In addition, during select Fridays throughout the year, the Convocation hour is utilized to recognize the success of individuals connected to the Gordon community (i.e., Homecoming Convocation, Honors Convocation, etc.) and by the Student Life Office to assist students with personal and professional growth.

Strangers Welcome: Creating Spaces Where Brokenness Can Encounter Love, Compassionate Witness, Healing, and Restoration

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." — Matthew 25:35-36

In December 1869, Dr. A.J. Gordon began his ministry as pastor of the Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston, MA. In reflecting upon his father’s ministry at the church, Ernest Gordon explained that Dr. Gordon believed that a church should “be likened to the image of a hospital,” offering “settings where brokenness could encounter loving, compassionate witness, thence healing and restoration.” Indeed, while serving as pastor of Clarendon Street Baptist Church, Dr. Gordon “constantly admonished . . . parishioners to care for ‘the drunkard, the outcast, the vagabond, and the opium-slave.”

Gordon’s desire to love and serve the underserved led to his decision to launch the Boston Missionary Training Institute in October 1889. At its core, the institution was committed to preparing the people of God for the work of God and in particular, preparing the people of God for the work of God as they came in contact with individuals for the very first time—strangers

This year, we will honor Dr. Gordon’s legacy as we welcome a range of talented speakers to campus for Convocation, all of whom will focus on the theme of how we as Christians can serve strangers through the careers that we pursue. In particular, speakers will address how an education grounded in Christ should lead to a devotion to utilize knowledge for the betterment of those around us—not just friends and family members, but strangers. Hearing from speakers from varied academic disciplines—including Kinesiology, Music Therapy, Business, and others—we will explore how a Christ-centered education ought to compel us to continual service to those in need. As Cornelius Plantinga asked in his article “Educating for Shalom,” “how will the knowledge, skills, and values of my Christian college education—how will these things be used to clear some part of the human jungle, or restore some part of the lost loveliness of God’s world, or introduce some novel beauty into it?’ After all, as Hebrews 11:13 suggests, we too are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth,” who have been welcomed into a new family. In light of this truth, how will we serve and extend the welcome?