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Community Spirit and Heart: Spirituality this Autumn Semester

Danilo Puskas, Head of Student Life and Chaplaincy shares spirituality highlights across this semester.

The spirituality aspect of student life at Newbold is a profound one – and this semester has been no different.

Before that, let’s look back at the summer of 2022. One of the biggest highlights of the season was the Adventist Youth Congress (AYC) in Finland. Whether in Bible study, in worship, or in the outreach programmes, the energy that the youth brought to this event was immense and so inspiring, and this was before the semester started! I had the pleasure of witnessing this spiritual growth and it encouraged me to create a programme that I believe would support students on the continuation of this journey – to ensure that AYC was not going to be an amazing one-off moment but the start of more to come.

Our students have exceeded themselves with passion, creativity and care. Throughout the semester they have shared their incredible encounters with God, their biblical knowledge and have supported each other with respect, encouragement, and interest. The two main themes that revolved around our Experience and Vespers programmes were ‘Life with the Father’ and ‘Let’s Get Real’. Some of the talks across the weeks have brought laughter, others silence, tears, or much longer conversations. Georgie shared her favourite spiritual programme with me, and why it resonated with her:

“I remember the first Experience I went to and feeling so safe, knowing I was surrounded by others who just wanted to worship together like I did. The Experience has been my favourite spiritual programme this semester because it’s a casual event which allowed us to feel comfortable enough to express our opinions and engage in the event whole-heartedly.”Georgie, student

Beyond the programmes themselves – there is something that has truly amazed me: the heart that each student has for another. They are not simply theologians, preachers, or future ministers. They have been an extraordinary, transformative community – by first and foremost being a community. As with any other community, some days are sunny, some are rainy. But you learn that the beauty of life can be found in both. I spoke to Camilla, a student who shares the impact of the community spirit on campus:

“There have been a lot of good spiritual programmes at Newbold, but what I personally find most memorable are all the things happening between events – the spontaneous late-night conversations about God, jamming hymns together after vespers, the “hey, do you mind if I pray for you?” offers. Newbold is, like any other place, not perfect, but I find it amazing to see how God is working in the lives of people around here.” – Camilla, student


Could the amazing spiritual experience at AYC continue on campus? Yes, it could – and it did. Through preaching, music, moving programmes, prayer, studies and serving. But above all, through the ability to find fresh ways of ‘plugging in’ and connecting with God and others as they continue to carve their own Newbold experience.

Danilo Puskas
Head of Student Life and Chaplaincy