Saturday night concert with Keith and Kristyn Getty
Ten years ago this month, Fuller seminary students, staff, faculty, and supporters dedicated the newly formed Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts to the work of God’s Kingdom. Excitingly, over the weekend of April 14 to 16, a similar group gathered to celebrate the completion of the first ten years!
Festivities started on Friday night, April 14, with the screening of Higher Ground, a film that tells the story of one woman’s lifelong struggle for faith. Directed by Vera Farmiga, most of the story is based on the life of Carolyn S. Briggs, which is told in her memoir This Dark World. A story of hope, tension, exploration, and beautiful honesty, it explores the paradoxical human desire for bedrock certainty and illimitable mystery. After the screening, there was a reception with opportunity for enriching discussion with Carolyn S. Briggs.
On Saturday night, April 15, the Fuller community was invited to a concert with two Northern Irish musicians at the forefront of the modern hymn movement, Keith and Kristyn Getty. The music was alive with Irish energy, wonderful rhythm, haunting melody, and spiritual depth. The Fuller Vocal Ensemble, led by Brehm Center Executive Director Fred Davison, was delighted to accompany the Gettys as a backing choir, and Pasadena Church of the Nazarene was filled with people, music, and rich psalmody.
People came together once again on Sunday afternoon, April 16, for a service of celebration and thanksgiving at First Baptist Church in Pasadena. The gathered community enjoyed worshipping God through music, prayer, dramatic readings, dance, hearing the Word, and celebrating communion together. Mark Labberton, professor and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching, brought the message. He provocatively juxtaposed “resurrection” and “lottery,” and challenged all listening that in light of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, there is much work to be done.
After the service, over 200 gathered for a celebration meal at Noor Restaurant in Pasadena. Students, staff, faculty, alumni, supporters, and friends enjoyed an evening of good food, music, an art gallery, and stories from the first ten years of the Brehm Center. The “Super G” Jazz quintet and the Fuller Vocal Ensemble provided the music for the evening, and awards were given to John and Ed Priddy, producers and cofounders of the Windrider Forum, and John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, for their service to the Brehm Center. Great appreciation was also shown to Fred and Dottie Davison for their leadership, and to Bill and Dee Brehm, whose generous gifts and vision have allowed this dream to become a creative reality.
The main speaker of the evening was David McFadzean, who is perhaps best known for producing the television show Home Improvement. He spoke on the powerfully redemptive potential of art in our culture, and gave great words of encouragement to all involved with the Brehm Center. Student Jaclyn Williams also told her story, and with thanks spoke of how the Brehm Center had become a home where she could develop and grow in her life as both a Christian and an actress. She presented Bill and Dee Brehm with a gift of appreciation on behalf of the student body. In response, Bill Brehm addressed those gathered with the humbly profound comment that it was the greatest honor when “somebody takes your ideas seriously.”
Elspeth Noble graduates this year with an MA in Theology with an emphasis in Theology and the Arts.
Above photo courtesy of Ashley White of Getty Music.