By Zach Powers '10
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, Wash. (Oct. 17, 2015)— “We’re all a bunch of nobodies, trying to tell everybody, about somebody who can save anybody,” Rev. Dr. Arthur Banks told the congregation at Eastside Baptist Church on Sunday, Nov. 15.
It was “PLU Sunday” at the predominantly black faith community located a few blocks from Tacoma’s Salishan neighborhood and First Creek Middle School.
The three-hour service ran an emotional gamut, joyously celebrating God’s blessings and somberly reflecting on recent heart-wrenching acts of violence and prejudice both in Tacoma and across the world.
Including students, staff, faculty, and President Thomas W. Krise and his wife Patricia, visitors from Pacific Lutheran University were welcomed with open arms into the hallowed space and invited to share songs, reflections and even the morning’s homily.
Thomas Copeland ’17 was on double duty Sunday morning, playing electric bass with the Eastside Baptist worship band and also singing with the choir.
President Krise opened up to the congregation about PLU’s need for greater diversity, shared what the university is doing to try to become a more diverse and inclusive community, and extended an invitation. “I hope that you will share your ideas and stories with us so that we may grow wiser; and most of all, I hope that you will come to campus often and help us be the best place for all students to flourish and grow,” he said. (Click here for a full transcription of Dr. Krise’s comments.)
Professor of Music David Deacon-Joyner, who also serves as Director of Jazz Studies at PLU, joined the Eastside Baptist worship band on the piano.
An ordained minister on the roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, PLU Professor of Religion Douglas Oakman delivered a powerful sermon addressing tragedy, love, forgiveness and faith. “Jesus walked with the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner … Through the valley of the shadow of death, through the streets of Ferguson, Missouri and through the streets of New York City,” Oakman preached. “He grieves for those who have died unjustly.”
Accompanied by Deacon-Joyner on piano, Sascha Julian ’15 brought many in the pews to tears with her powerful rendition of Duke Ellington’s jazz standard “Come Sunday.”