Westmont held Global Focus Week during the last week of February, center- ing conversation around the Church’s role around the world. Dedicating each day toa different continent, EmmausRoad brought attention to the ways in which the global Christian community is con- tinuing to thrive and strug- gle in living out the gospel.
Core team leaders Ashley Walker and George Mathen shared in a recent interview that Emmaus Road centered this year’s focus week around the “ambassador of hope and reconciliation” in 2 Corin- thians 5:14-21. They are try-ing to incorporate “differentperspectives and traditions within the global church,” ex- plained Walker, going on to say that a key question sur- rounding the week is “how can we as the American churchlearn and see differently.”Mathen added that this type of engagement is the key to reach a more “holistic faith.”
Global Focus Week, concen-trating each day on a differentcontinent, was divided into a morning prayer for the specif-
ic area and an evening event. On Monday, dedicated to Asia, Emmaus Road hosted a panel of students and faculty — such as Dr. Farhadian — to discussdifferent experiences in mis- sionary work. Tuesday was set aside for the Middle East, allowing Elam Ministries to share about the rising church in Iran. Focusing on Europe’s refugee crisis on Wednesday, students watched “Jesus in Athens”, a documentary on the Greek church and refu- gees. Urbana’s Eric Lige led a worship service on Thursday made up completely of Afri- can songs, while also incor- porating stories and readings from Westmont students. Fi- nally, Friday revolved broadly around the Americas, ending in a discussion led by Pris- on Fellowship to discuss the United States’ prison system.
Dedicating the week to the global church provides Westmont students a chance to engage with a Christiani- ty that is not western-centric, resisting what Mathen terms a “tunnel vision of faith.” “It’s beautiful to see how my understanding of Christian-ity can be different from thesoftness and radical ways of God around the world,” em-
phasized Walker. “My expe- rience can be so narrow and privileged in America … it’s eye-opening to see what is go- ing on in the global church.”
The Emmaus Road team also committed to diminishing the white savior complex that often accompanies American notions of global Christian- ity, “although it hasn’t been perfect,” shared Mathen. This year’s focus week convenient- ly led into the Intercultural Program (ICP) and Westmont Activities Council’s (WAC) Voices event, which cappedoff the week by further high-lighting different voices re- garding race and issues of injustice. We want to make sure “we are more aware and supporting other organiza- tions,” shared a member of the Emmaus Road core team, explaining that working with ICP means “getting a chance to learn more and being bet- ter.” Emmaus Road leaders went on to stress that “organi-zations are conducive to flour- ishing when they sharpen one another,” and that “partner- ship is essential to creating a better community.” Ultimate- ly, there must be a “commit- ment to rigor, yet humility and grace for the means in which
content is conveyed on cam- pus by any organization.” Global Focus Week brought the global church to the center of Westmont’s attention, spark- ing a conversation that will hopefully continue. Mathen emphasized that “the global church will directly or indirectly influence you at some point… if you have the resources to engage now, use them.”