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Thanksgiving at EMU

Giving Thanks at EMU

Psalm 107:1 O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; for God's steadfast love endures for ever.

As we move into the Thanksgiving season in the United States, we pause to express gratitude. Here at EMU, we are taking a whole year to gratefully celebrate the institution's centennial. One hundred years after its founding in 1917, EMU continues as a place of service, leadership and transformation. We are thankful for the thousands of people who have been part of the EMU story for 100 years, and those who will shape it in the next century.

We invited students, faculty and staff to share what they are thankful for at this moment in time. Please enjoy their comments with images from the past year in the two slideshows below.

EMU Students
  • Brittany Viands
  • Dar Mikula
  • Megan Breidigan
  • Corey Hostetler
  • Phil Yoder

I’m thankful for the experiences and lessons I’ve had throughout life. It wasn’t always easy, I didn’t always get what I wanted, but I had what I needed and everything that I’ve went through made me who I am today.

Brittany Viands – Undergrad Junior

For the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President - it woke me up from Democratic slumber and made me realize that more people (my own neighbors!) are in pain/suffering in this country than I'd previously acknowledged.

Dar Mikula - 2017 Fall hybrid course

I am thankful for the recent news that my mom is officially cancer free!

Megan Breidigan – Undergrad First Year

I am extremely grateful for second chances in school, relationships, and life opportunities. The ability to try again is a rare privilege, and I am thankful for every single one I receive.

Corey Hostetler - Undergrad Senior

I'm thankful for the call of the land and the aboriginal peoples of North America. That by the power of Christ's Spirit hope of reconciliation is possible between the spiritual owner of the land, the American Indian, and the political owner of the land, the American white man. I am grateful for this call to moral integrity, even if it also means a commitment to be receptive to lament and grief.

Phil J. Yoder – Seminary/Graduate Student

I'm thankful for my family and community that supports me in all of life's highs and lows. I realized the support I have around me at EMU and the local community during times of struggle and success over the past year. I'm also thankful for my faith and the blessing that I have of living in a country where I am able to express my faith freely and act on my desire to spread the word and love of God.

Sarah Jennings - Undergrad Senior

The ability to smile.

Amanda Williams - Undergrad Senior

I too often take my family for granted. We are all really close, and their love has allowed me to continuously grow.

Anna Cahill - Undergrad First Year

I am grateful for a university that encourages critical thinking and for a community of students that understands that indifference is the antithesis of love. To love an institution or another person you must critique them in ways that spur growth.

Sarah Longenecker - Undergrad Senior

I am thankful for EMU's incredibly friendly faculty who are genuinely interested in preparing us for success. EMU cultivates enduring values that I will carry with me now and hereafter.

Allan Peng - Undergrad First Year

I’m especially thankful for my family and the privilege to know and worship our amazing God.

Karyn Nancarvis - Seminary Student, Lancaster

  • Dorothy Jean Weaver
  • Tim Swartzendruber
  • Barbara Byer
  • Jan Emswiler
  • Linda Witmer

I'm grateful for my vocational calling to teach New Testament to seminary students and for the rich opportunity to live out that calling for long years here at EMU/EMS.

Dorothy Jean Weaver - Seminary Faculty

I'm grateful to my EMU professors and cross-cultural leaders who made me a more engaged, justice-oriented, globally-minded citizen of God's kingdom.

Tim Swartzendruber – Development Associate

I'm grateful for my husband and kids.

Barbara Byer - Office Coordinator

I'm thankful for opportunities to connect (students and myself) with the local community as we strive to walk humbly with our God.

Jan Emswiler - Nursing Instructor

I'm thankful for faculty and staff in the RN-BS in Nursing Program in Lancaster and Harrisonburg, support from all the EMU departments that make it possible to have a smooth-running progam, and all the RN-BS students.

Linda Witmer - RN to BSN Director

I'm thankful for family and friends. I'm also thankful for a healthy body and that I have clean water to drink and food to eat.

Obe Hostetter – Adjunct Professor

I'm thankful for my best friend and housemate, Amanda Williams. She's always there for me and never fails to put a smile on my face.

Hannah Daley - Admissions Counselor

I'm grateful for the amazing resistance to hatred and bigotry in our larger Harrisonburg community. We continue to show hospitality and a commitment to welcoming our neighbor in the midst of increased violence.

Deanna Durham - Applied Social Sciences Faculty

I'm grateful for the many ways I'm both blessed and challenged in my spiritual walk through my Early Church family.

Cindy Smoker – Development Office Coordinator

I'm thankful for my family. They're full of love and laughter and remind me that LIFE IS GOOD!

Betty Lee - Lead Custodian

I'm thankful that MCC and EMU worked together to create a practice-focused peacebuilding program. I'm particularly grateful for the unsung persons who labored to "make it so" once the vision was articulated. Vernon Jantzi, Ann Hershberger, Ruth Zimmerman, Cynthia Sampson, and others I do not know about.

Jayne Docherty – CJP Academic Programs Director

I'm thankful for having a job that I'm eager to come to every morning and a family that I can't wait to hug and hang out with every evening.

Daniel Showalter - Assistant Professor of Mathematics

I'm thankful for our students, students in my classes, students on SGA, students who tutor and students whom I meet in the halls, chapel, caf, and sidewalks. Each represents an incredible mind, goodwill, resilience, and hope. My life would be woefully small without our students.

Vi Dutcher - Language and Literature Professor, Writing Program Director

My thanks go to EMU, which offered me a chance to see a real America. The devoted faculty and students help me a lot, whose beautiful and peaceful campus is a great pleasure to my life here.

Qing Wang – Chinese Visiting Scholar

I'm thankful for the Grace of God and the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

Melody Pannell – Assistant Professor of Social Work

I'm grateful for my coaches and other mentors at EMU. They challenged and nurtured me every day, and I'm a better person because of them.

Hannah Chappel-Dick – Cross-Country Coach

I'm grateful for notes of encouragement, letters from friends, people stopping by my office just to say "hey," the sunrise each morning, laughter and loving family.

Carissa Luginbill – Residence Director

I'm thankful for great colleagues who are passionate about their work and who care deeply about students. They make me proud to be a part of EMU. I'm also thankful for my students, who bring me joy and who invite me into the sacred spaces of their lives. In spite of challenges and adversity I see them modeling bravery and courage; they know how to care for one another.

Carmen Schrock-Hurst – Bible and Religion Faculty

I'm thankful for colleagues who are committed to both justice and compassion.

Daryl Byler - CJP Executive Director

Several podcasts of Dr. Walter Brueggemann on gratitude from a past School for Leadership Training at Eastern Mennonite Seminary may be of interest. You may also enjoy a recording of "Come, You Thankful People" performed by The Walking Roots Band, with several EMU and seminary alumni.