Walla Walla Valley Academy
November 21, 2015
“I know everyone in my class already!” says Kylea McVey, a freshman at Walla Walla Valley Academy (WWVA). This year marks her first experience with Christian Education. Between teachers who know her by name, fellow students who are friendly and inclusive, and Bible teachers who meet her where she’s at on her spiritual journey, Kylea says WWVA is very different from her former schools. Over the past couple years as a student at Pioneer Middle School in Walla Walla, Kylea became connected and involved with Christians at the Walla Walla City Church. Her family isn't particularly religious and so learning about God, being involved in Pathfinders, and attending worship services were all new experiences. Speaking of churches’ generosity to WWVA she quips, “It’s definitely worth the investment!”
Karl Loree was a student at WWVA years ago and now as an adult has returned as a teacher. This year is his first as faculty and he's teaching science and math. As he reflects on how much the school means to him, he is quick to recall that it was there that he first met Jesus. Raised as a Mormon, Karl first became acquainted with Adventist Education at Milton Stateline. But it wasn't until he made his way to WWVA that his spiritual light really turned on. Now as a teacher, he says that the opportunity to return is "Good for my soul." After four years at Touchet High School, Karl loves how he can now share his faith, pray openly, and still offer a top quality education. "I wouldn't have ever found Jesus without this school," Karl says.
WWVA Principal, Brian Harris, says of the school, “It’s an awesome privilege to help our students connect their stories with God’s purpose for their lives!” The University Church community is incredibly proud to partner closely with WWVA and the powerful ministry it provides in our valley.
Walla Walla Valley Academy is a key ministry of the University Church. Upwards of 25% of our yearly local church budget is a subsidy for the school which has just under 180 students this school year. WWVA's mission is "to empower students for Christ" -- a call the staff and faculty take seriously -- and which also bears out in the fruit of their work.
We're happy to welcome the WWVA Singers and WWVA Orchestra this Sabbath as they lead us in worship at the Second Service.
We thank the musicians of Walla Walla Valley Academy for sharing their music with us. It is always a joy to hear Walla Walla Valley Academy Orchestra under the direction of Benjamin Gish, and today
we also have the joy of hearing the WWVA Singers under the direction of Patti Short. Please join me in welcoming and thanking all of these students and their fine directors.
In the prelude we hear two movements from the Brook Green Suite by the renowned English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934). Although written in a simple, approachable style, Holst composed this suite the year before he died and it is rather sophisticated music. The prelude concludes with a setting of “Beach Spring” by Terry Blackburn, a graduate of WWU. This tune appears twice in our hymnal, No.363 “Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service” and No.634 “Come, All Christians, Be Committed.”
The American composer Paul Manz (1919-2009) wrote “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” during the critical illness of his three-year old son. The text is a paraphrase of Revelation 22:5. The WWVA Singers also perform a setting of Hymn No.624 “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me.”
As you prepare your heart to worship, please take some quiet time to reflect on these texts or those of the hymns we sing congregationally.