Student Perspectives on PCA’s Spiritual Emphasis Day
Despite COVID’s best efforts, PCA’s middle and upper school students (us!) were able to celebrate Spiritual Emphasis Day this year! Due to virus restrictions, this year was slightly different than the usual set-up, but that did not make it any less exciting. To provide a safe and socially-distanced environment, grades were split into separate dates to take part in the day’s activities as smaller groups.
My name is Maddie Jeffery, and I am a junior at PCA. Coming from someone who has experienced multiple Spiritual Emphasis Days, the initial prospect of not being able to worship and have fellowship as a school was disappointing, but, against what I had originally thought, the smaller groups were wonderfully engaging, allowing us to have more personalized conversations and an immersive experience with our close friends. What’s more, the discussions, games, and worship that generally take a whole day to get through only required a few hours. There was no time to be bored, and as there was so much to do, remaining involved and attentive was simple!
My name is Audrey, and I am an eighth-grader at PCA. From the perspective of someone who has never experienced an upper school Spiritual Emphasis Day before, Mr. Evans’ teachings about not being afraid to be a follower of Christ were especially interesting. Mr. Evans became a missionary to one of the most dangerous parts of India, so he could tell the good news to others. That really stood out to me because Evans and his team were not afraid to spread the good news to people in areas where proclaiming the Gospel is dangerous, even though they could have died in the process. The message was very inspiring by showing that it is okay to be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new by spreading the Gospel to dangerous people groups or in a new way.
Organized by PCA’s new Spiritual Director, Scott Schumpert, the few quick hours were packed with excitement. We began with a bus ride from the school to Hunter Hills, and upon arrival, we were greeted in the auditorium by Chapel Practicum (CP) student and self-declared comedian Garret Strickland. After a few jokes to get the ball rolling, small breakout groups were created, and everyone rotated through five unique stations designed to enhance our relationship with the Lord as well as strengthen our bonds with one another. The stations included an excellently improvised story with CP student Matt Story, who taught us about expectations in prayer; several rounds of “Name that Tune!”; a lesson on worship from CP students Shelby Furr and Anna Connell; fellowship games with Coach Rob and Mr. Schumpert, where we learned to rely on each other and work as a team; and finally, a discussion on scripture reading led by Shane Segers that guided us to view God’s Word as a tabernacle for a relationship with Him.
As if all of that were not enough, the breakout groups returned to the auditorium for a special time of worship. We were encouraged to open our hearts to the Lord, and after so many months without in-person chapel and time to worship as a PCA family, the sound of all of our voices crying out to God was incredible and heartwarming. Then, to conclude the day, an outstanding message was delivered by a guest speaker Mr. Paul Evans from Landmark Church.
According to Mrs. Bowman, “this year’s day especially impacted our students in that it reminded them that we CAN have fun and CAN be joyful, even in a pandemic.” With COVID-19 impacting this school year heavily, this was the perfect time to simply enjoy each other in a celebration of our relationship with God. However, the process of getting this day to come together was a challenge all on its own. Mr. Schumpert relayed how the team had to persevere through quick changes and sudden quarantines, but “even through the hardships, it was amazing how God continued to provide.” Furthermore, he is super proud of the Chapel Practicum team, which led the way in creating a time “for [the] students to worship, learn and laugh together” while still following PCA’s COVID-19 guidelines. They knew God was going to do something great, and that is exactly what happened.
Despite the circumstances, this year’s Spiritual Emphasis Day this year was just as great if not better than previous years. We still got to spend time with our friends and strengthen our bond as a PCA family, all while learning about God’s reckless love for us. As Mrs. Bowman said, “The games were awesome, watching the smiles and hearing the laughter touched my heart, and Paul Evans put everything in perspective about how to live each day joyfully,” and we could not agree more. Mr. Schumpert thanks everyone who worked together to make this a reality, and he is “looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in all the students at PCA” in the future. May the Lord continue to bless all of us in the coming year as we glorify Him with the amazing lessons we have learned.
By: Maddie Jeffery ‘22 and Audrey Maddox ‘25