"This is a unique opportunity to mark the beginning of the year, reflect on our mission, and set our sights on the future," said Mark Erickson, president of Wittenberg University during his welcome message. "We get to tell a powerful story — the Wittenberg story."
Hanson, who was elected earlier this month for a second six-year term as bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), delivered a keynote address titled "Service & Engagement in the World: A Lutheran Tradition." He called upon students and faculty alike to use their positions as members of the Wittenberg community to engage others and be a catalyst for change in today's society.
"I believe Wittenberg exists in part to teach you the art of being engaged in communities of moral deliberation," Hanson said. "We need Wittenberg students, faculty and staff to keep unquenchable curiosity about life's big questions."
With the abundance of ethnic backgrounds and religious faiths inherent in society today, Hanson stressed that a willingness to take the initiative to help others and create heightened levels of social understanding is necessary. Involvement is key, and Hanson encouraged students to connect themselves with issues like relief for Hurricane Katrina victims because the experience can "form you for a life of being engaged." Part of this, Hanson said, is learning how to see ourselves through the eyes of others.
"For people of faith, service and engagement in the world is God's work, but it's our hands," Hanson said. "So let's get to work."
Written By: Erica Strauss '08
Photo By: Jeff Smith '96
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