A Prayer for a Presidential Beginning

This was my prayer on the occasion of Dr. Jamel Santa Cruz Wright’s first Board of Trustee meeting as President of Eureka College. The Trustees, faculty, staff and students stood with me, encircling President Wright, laying our hands on shoulders, marking a moment of servant leadership, a beginning. I invite the Eureka College extended family to pray with us.

God of every Good Path, when your providence brought each one of us — trustees, staff, alums, students, teachers — to cross paths with Eureka College, we were unsure where that relationship would take us. But we trusted. We trusted, like the faithful founders of this institution trusted that a college in the frontier plains of Central Illinois could flourish on the students who could find their way here. We trusted, like the first teachers who believed in the promise of non-sectarian, equitable higher education and came here to teach with such a sense of mission. We trusted, like the first students who entrusted their future to an upstart academy, and accepted accommodations here that today’s students can hardly imagine tolerating. We, the current members of the Eureka College community, trusted in an unseen future when we aligned with this place, like the first trustees of Eureka College, to whom was entrusted the shepherding of this institution, to faithfully place it into the hands of the trustees who would come after. To trust in the future is to have faith in something, no matter how religious we might be. Make us bold in our faith in this place, not timid in the face of the unseen. Make us strong in our faith in this mission, not weak when action is required. Make us wise in our faith in the college, when those around us bolt out of fear, like a deer at the snap of a twig. And lastly, make us compassionate in our faith, so that we always remember the servant-nature of our mission, to be a college lovingly and diligently shaping competent servant-leaders, in a world longing for the kind of leaders Eureka College has produced so faithfully, for so, so long. Make us so. Make us faithful. Amen.