Shalom Week helps students find and spread peace

By wayne.steffen on November 30, 2017 @ 1:15pm
FPU student art presentation balloon network strung up between trees

By Francesco Parisi

Students learned how to apply shalom, or the peace of God, to various areas of their lives during Shalom Week.

“Shalom is the way things ought to be for people—in, for and between people,” said Daniel Dominguez, director of multicultural ministries in the Fresno Pacific University Office of Spiritual Formation. The Shalom Club and Center for Online Learning came together with the OSF to bring this event to the FPU community in the form of online devotionals, art projects and daily activities in the Forest on the main campus during the week of November 6.

One devotional was emailed each day to all FPU students—traditional undergraduate, degree completion and online—written by FPU students and staff, who gave advice on how to apply shalom in areas such as studies, home and the workplace. In the final devotional, Merced Regional Campus Pastor Rod Cochran wrote, “The ‘Shalom’ of God guards the mind from the hysteria of our society and finds the rest and relief in the love and life of Christ!”

Shalom Week also featured art projects by FPU students, the most prominent of which was a display of balloons strung on the McDonald Hall Green. According to Dominguez, each balloon represented a person as an individual, and what they were tied to demonstrated two aspects of shalom: togetherness and stewardship of nature. These and other art projects demonstrated various forms of shalom.

Shalom Week was capped off with Dreams for DREAMERs. After speakers and a devotional, Dominguez invited students to write their own dreams for immigrant students on 3x5-inch index cards. About 50 cards were collected and these, along with others from around the nation, will be sent to Capitol Hill on December 4 in an attempt to convince Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to permanent residency to undocumented students.

“My dream for DREAMERs as a dreamer is allowing us to be part of this country to be contributors. We want to work and grow here. This has been the only land we truly know. Being part of this country would mean being able to finally be free of our chains. We worry about our future although we shouldn’t have to,” one DREAMER wrote on a card.

A sympathetic U.S. citizen wrote: “Our DREAMERs want to be here as much as we (legal citizens) do. They are NOT a nuisance to society, they contribute to the U.S. and simply want to be a part of this country. We should not exclude people form our country. We should embrace them.”