On Monday, March 20, a panel of North Central staff and faculty members sat in a semicircle on the platform of the Lindquist sanctuary in a continuation of a chapel series happening this semester. The topic of the day: singleness. With Beth Brown as a moderator, panelists were asked questions about different concepts of singleness that exist within the culture of the church. Panelists included Erin White, dean of student advocacy, Lucas Sutter, Phillipps Hall resident director, Kristi Hedstrom, Miller Hall resident director, Nicole Palser, dean of student life, and Allen Tennison theology professor. These panelists were chosen because of their experiences of being single in the church.
The purpose of the chapel was to encourage and educate those in attendance on what it means to be single. It was discussed that many single people can feel ostracized by members of the church simply because they are not married.
One of the objectives of the panel was to reinforce that a person can still have value while being single, an element that is very important in the Christian community. The panelists recalled stories where they felt separated from the church because of their lack of a significant other. Many shared about times when others had looked at them as incomplete because of their lack of marital status.
Panelists also discussed the issues that they had faced regarding being single. Tennison, who was previously a singles pastor in California, shared some of the experiences he had with other single people in his congregation. He informed those in attendance that the hardest time for his fellow single people was the loneliness of the holidays.
The panelists discussed other issues facing single people concerning one’s sexuality. They posited that simply because a person is not in a sexual relationship does not mean that they are not a sexual being.
One of the main focuses of the discussion was to reinforce the students and faculty in attendance that being single does not make a person inferior in any way. They stressed that at times a person can slip into the belief that a person cannot be used of God to their fullest potential until they are married. This is far from the truth. While marriage is a wonderful gift from God, it is not the ultimate state of being. A person can be wonderfully used and fulfilled by God without being married, the panelists said.