By Hali Anderson
Community: it is discussed in chapel, promoted in small groups and dorm sections, and experienced most intimately as close friends study and socialize. Community is being put into practice every day on Corban’s campus, but is it extending “off the hill?” In what ways can students experience community beyond the campus and into the twinkling haze of the Salem’s city lights below?
Student worship leader Chris Spivey hatched an idea. Not every student has the opportunity leave campus and delve into the heart of Salem, but every student can certainly welcome the Salem community to campus.
Spivey first approached Dan Shuholm, the director of bands and worship arts, in spring of 2010 with his idea for a community worship experience that would unite the body of believers across the greater Salem area.
In previous years, Corban hosted occasional Sunday night worship sessions, but the times of praise were limited to Corban attendees. This worship session, however, would be different. Students from across the community would be invited. The plan became a reality, when Shuholm OK’d the proposal, and Spivey partnered with ASB to promote the upcoming event.
This year, ASB has coordinated to welcome students from Willamette University, Chemekata Community College, Western Oregon University and Oregon State University, as well as many local church college groups to attend Corban’s first Salem United Worship Experience on Sunday Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. The event is the kickoff for, hopefully, the first of many Salem United worship experiences.
“It is an opportunity to bring the community here… [from] all different styles and denominations,” said Spivey. “[It is a way] to utilize what is going on at Corban through the themes of community, but to make it accessible to the outside.”
The Salem United Worship Experience will include an hour of upbeat worship led by Spivey and his chapel band and will be followed by a 10-minute talk from Tim Burke, Corban alumnus and pastor of student ministries at Dayspring Fellowship Church.
The music for future Salem United Worship Experiences will be led on a volunteer basis, and it is Spivey’s hope to arrange speakers who will give brief talks on varying themes of community.
Spivey is in the process of assembling an “elder board” that will be responsible for organizing and promoting future worship nights. Whether the experience will become a lasting tradition is contingent upon the outcome and the availability of a facility for worship. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts with the Psalm Center, a permanent location is yet to be determined. Regardless, Oct. 10 will be an opportunity for Corban students to join fellow believers in a spirit of unity.
“The Willamette Valley is aching for the body of Christ to unify,” said Spivey. He concluded, “This is a way for Corban to literally be that ‘shining city on a hill.’”