I have been going around the campus with one question on my mind – what makes ACC be ACC? It has been a privilege and blessing for me to be part of the communications team where I get to hear different stories from people who share their views about what this place means to them. Each time I sit down to write or edit someone’s document, I am always touched and blessed by the spirit and passion these people have, not only for their future but for the kingdom of our God. I have also scrutinized the work put in by the faculty and staff every day to make this place what it is and what it aspires to be. Believe me, there is no way you can live in such an environment and not be awed by what is going on. It is these observations and more that made me ponder on the question today, and I want to share my thoughts about it.
Close to two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about unity in diversity (1 Corinthians 12). It does seem like the people there thought unity is all about homogeneity, but to him unity also exists in difference. He argued that we do not have to be the same in order to be united, but what we need is a common and shared purpose. There should be an ideal that transcends our individualities and binds us together. He actually uses the metaphor of a body and how each part functions independently yet dependently on another in order for the body to achieve its purpose. Independently means each has a distinct function that only it can achieve; dependently means that the function’s beauty and importance cannot be found on its own but when put together with others. Actions are therefore harmonized towards the common vision, subsequently ridding all egotistical motives. I find a similar scenario at ACC and I will say how.
“Equipping women and men for excellent service in the kingdom,” reads the inscription at the main gate of the school. The first thing you notice when you enter is what the institution believes in and exist to do. There is no mistaking the identity of the school, and one who chooses to enrol here is one who fully wants to be equipped in order to serve excellently. However, there is something beneath this that I see to be a strong factor in making this place what it is – the desire to serve. The reason people wake up each morning to do whatever function they have to do is because they want to serve, not only God but others as well. The reason students are drawn from different countries in the continent is because they want to serve. The motivating factor behind lecturers coming from thousands of miles away is that desire to serve. It is that passion that binds us together, the one thing that despite our differences – cultural and theological – is able to give us focus.
On the Thursday of the Passion Week (13 April 2017) during our morning chapel, we had a skit that depicted humility as Jesus taught the apostles through washing their feet. On that day, the faculty and staff members stooped down and washed the feet of a selected number of students. It was the most touching of events I have witnessed here and it reminded me that Jesus said the greatest must be willing to serve others. That spirit of servant hood operates from the youngest child to the oldest person, from the least educated to the highly educated. It is that desire to be servants of God that keeps the unity in our diversity. I asked a lady to give me one word she can use to describe ACC and she just said, “Diversity.” Yet in that, we have one Lord, one Spirit, one salvation and one common desire. Space does not allow me to continue here, but I want to invite you to pray for this place that the work of the Lord may go forth to the world. I end with the words of the beautiful hymn by Charles Wesley;
“LORD of the harvest, hear Thy needy servants cry; Answer our faith’s effectual prayer, And all our wants supply.
On thee we humbly wait, Our wants are in thy view; The harvest truly, Lord, is great; The labourers are few.
Convert, and send forth more Into thy Church abroad; And let them speak thy word of power, As workers with their God.
Give the pure gospel word, The word of general grace; Thee let them preach, the common Lord, The Saviour of our race.
O let them spread thy name, Their mission fully prove, The universal grace proclaim, Thy all-redeeming love”