March 12, 2020, 9 a.m.
Good morning friends,
I trust you are well on this new day. As students, faculty, and staff at Trevecca, all of our lives have been rearranged by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. I am grateful for the dedicated servants of Trevecca who are working tirelessly to guide us into the future. I am proud of their work. Please join me in prayer for those who are working long hours under the weight of an unpredictable situation with limited resources. Our emergency task force is seeking to bring calm in the chaos, to be the presence of Christ in a frightened, uncertain world. We are leaning on the most common expression of God’s care for us in the Bible: “Do not be afraid, I am with you”. I am personally asking God for the grace to reply to people with compassion, courtesy, and wisdom. Please join me in this.
Our decision regarding face-to-face classes and campus operations has not been quick or easy. The effort underway nationally is to flatten the curve of contagion that has spiked rapidly in other countries. Educational institutions are prime players in the spread of a virus. The very thought of bringing a community back to the campus from the highly infected east and west coasts, from international origins, and from states infected with the virus, is unwise. And to operate as usual, with athletic teams traveling, sports and music events hosted, internships and jobs across the city, and visitors on the campus daily, would have been to participate in the very gatherings that spread a highly infectious disease. As members of a global family, we want to love our neighbor by minimizing the spread of the virus. This is not simply about us. It is about vulnerable populations, like the senior living community at Trevecca Towers and the Trevecca Rehabilitation Center that shares our campus with us. It is about our campus friends who have weakened immune systems. It is about our parents and grandparents. We welcome being inconvenienced for the sake of others. Such is the way of the people of God.
In times of crisis, the best and worst in humanity is revealed. We have the choice to determine which is expressed in our lives. Let me be direct. Transitioning to an online educational mode will not be easy. We are asking many of our professors to do something they have never done... and we expect them to use the systems and processes that are in place. We are asking our students to access education in a way that many of them never have done. For some, both professors and students, this will pose significant difficulties. While we trust our faculty and students to work through issues in communication with each other, we have also established communication networks for responding to your questions: 615-248-1200 or email@example.com. Updated information may be found at http://www.Trevecca.edu/coronavirus. My prayer is that these challenges will bring out the best in us, that we will be found working together, communicating with respect, helping each other figure it out, and encouraging and serving each other with uncommon grace and kindness. Take the time to tend to each other.
Other communications from Trevecca will be about the questions, details, and changing plans in a fluid situation. This email is about one simple thing. The name Trevecca means "a binding together in love". In this inescapable moment, may we be found building our community through unselfish gestures, placing priority on serving others, and putting a smile on the face of our God by the way we speak, act, teach, and learn. This is our moment. And God will give us the grace to rise to the challenge.
President, Trevecca Nazarene University