By Jacob Smith, executive committee chairman, J.H. Eaton Society
Fellowship, particularly over food, was one of the defining features of the church in Acts. Baptists earned their historic reputation for eating because of their desire to repeat this model with dedication. Fellowship, then, is central to Christian community. Knowing that, In February of 2015 myself and a group of other School of Theology and Missions majors agreed that our school did not model this precedent well. That began the long journey of establishing the J. H. Eaton Society, which was fully recognized by the Student Government Association as a student organization.
A couple points are in order to help others understand our motivations in the Eaton Society. Firstly, we exist to cultivate vibrant community in our school. Myself and others noted that nothing really bound us together, and there were many causes and events which were going unnoticed by our fellow students. We believe that the students in the School of Theology and Missions deserved a way to fellowship with one another regularly, and I will confess that we took our model in part from the Honors Community. Their regular coffee hours demonstrate that repeated time spent together in less formal discussion forges a strong bond between students, one far stronger than achievable in the classroom alone. Thus, we have already began to observe regular times of fellowship by having fellowship meals in Cobo on the last Thursday of each month.
Secondly, we provide a conduit through which students can contact the professors and administration of our school. Previously, the students were represented by the Student Advisory Council, which did well for its time, but the administration agreed with us that it was time to move to a new system. Now, the leadership of the Eaton Society, which is chosen by students, represents them to the professors. Through those of us in leadership positions, students have input on course offerings as well as an avenue through which to express issues to the department.
Now, I have a few important notes about our leadership as well as significant events of which one should be aware. Being the departmental organization at a Baptist school, we are, of course, led by committee. The Eaton Society’s Executive Committee is made of nine members who are always ready to help the students in our department whenever they can. I, Jacob Smith, am the Executive Committee Chairman and the other members are Caleb Shaw, Katelyn Walls, Rachel Ewing, Jon Pope, Reeves Garrett, Phillip Lundy, Jake Leach and Taylor Brazil. With regards to upcoming events, as mentioned earlier, we will be having Cobo fellowships on the last Thursday of every month for the whole semester (and presumably ad infinitum). Furthermore, our first official Organizational meeting, with food of course, will be in mid-March.
I will leave you with our official motto and verse: ἀλλ᾿ ὡς ἐκ θεοῦ κατέναντι θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ λαλοῦμεν or But as from God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.