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Good News at Southern Nazarene University Church Relations

APRIL 2016

Celebrating the Covenant Bond
The Oklahoma District and SNU Join in Assembly Celebration

In a dynamic collaboration, the Oklahoma District, Church of the Nazarene, led by District Superintendent and SNU alum, Dr. Terry Rowland, joined with the SNU School of Music to combine for a service of memorable music and sacred moments. The opening service of the District’s 2016 Assembly, held at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene, drew a crowd estimated at 1,700 who joined in praise and worship, celebrating the covenant bond between SNU and the Church.

From the opening anthem by the SNU Chorale and Orchestra, the evening was filled with songs and reports that celebrated the common ground of the mission and vision of the university and the Church. Ministry reports were highlighted with connections to SNU through leader education and training, campus-hosted events that inspired initiatives and ministries, and a report from SNU’s president, Dr. Loren Gresham, re-affirming the university’s commitment to the Church, stating that “our mission and goal is to be true to Christ’s calling.”

Dr. Terry Rowland Presents the Second Mile Award to Dr. Loren Gresham.

Following Dr. Gresham’s report, District Superintendent, Dr. Rowland, presented the “Second Mile” award to Dr. Gresham, honoring his decades of service to the Oklahoma District as a member of the District Advisory Board, as well as his service and dedication to Southern Nazarene University. The congregation responded and affirmed the honor with a standing ovation.

Dr. Mark Reighard, SNU School of Music professor, and Dr. Steve Betts, Dean of the College of Humanities at SNU, presented an epic piano duo, followed by a stirring message from Dr. David Busic, presiding General Superintendent and alumnus of SNU.

In reflecting on the District’s legacy of support of the university, Dr. Rowland said, “It was our dream in the service to weave together the mission of the church and SNU, seeing it through each auxiliary -NYI, NMI and SDMI - as they worked through different aspects of connection. It was a powerful testimony of how the local church, district and the university walk hand in hand to accomplish the great commission."

SNU Chorale & Orchestra

He went on to say, “I believe this service will benefit the district and the University for years to come. I have already heard of at least one young person who committed to SNU because of this special time together.”

For more information about the SNU School of Music, visit To learn more about the Oklahoma District, Church of the Nazarene, visit

Getting to Know You

Texas-Oklahoma Latin District Makes Campus Visit

Under the leadership of District Superintendent, Rev. Caleb Herrera, the Texas-Oklahoma Latin District met for their 2016 Assembly at the Primera Iglesia del Nazareno in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma recently. At the close of the assembly approximately 90 pastors and their spouses, as well as a large number of the assembly delegates gathered on the campus of SNU.

Dr. Gresham with Supt Herrera at TOLD luncheonThe group enjoyed a luncheon hosted by Dr. Loren Gresham, and a walking tour of campus led by Dr. Terry Toler, SNU’s Vice President for Church Relations. During the buffet lunch, which took place in the Heritage Room of the Webster Commons, Dr. Toler gave an update on the many good things taking place at SNU in partnership with the South Central Region, Church of the Nazarene. He introduced Mr. Danny Abrego, of the SNU School of Music, who spoke to the crowd in Spanish about his work launching a marching band program for the university, and his vision for more opportunities for Hispanic students in the music programs at SNU.

After words of appreciation and inspiration from Dr. Gresham, Rev. Herrera encouraged those present to find ways to connect to their regional university and help students in their churches connect to SNU. Presiding General Superintendent, Dr. David Busic, an alum of SNU, spoke of his positive experience and spiritual grounding during his college years, urging the members of the District to help their young people see the value and possibility of Christian higher education.

Our Campus Guests - Resource Center for Pastoral LeadershipIn reflecting on the day, Rev. Herrera said, “Many of the Hispanic Nazarenes from the District, coming from as far south as the Rio Grande Valley, had never seen the SNU campus. They knew about our 'Educational Budget,' not knowing where it was going. For them to see our beautiful campus, and be treated royally at the luncheon provided by the university, gave them a new vision of our educational system. I hope and pray this event will translate into more students at SNU from our district in the future."

After the campus tour, one of the pastors remarked to Dr. Toler, “This helps me know how to better pray for SNU!” For more information on the Texas-Oklahoma Latin District, visit For information about Hispanic recruitment at SNU, visit

Regional Teens SERVE at Extravaganza

SNU Campus Hosts Annual NYI Gathering

Eric Samuel Timm For the more than 1,000 teens and sponsors who gathered on the campus of SNU for 2016 Extravaganza, this year’s event stretched beyond the quizzing, talent and fun. They stretched their arms out to ServeOK to donate much-needed goods and labor, stretched their hearts in authentic worship and responded to the message of Eric Samuel Timm with new, or renewed, spiritual commitments.

With the full support of the SNU campus family, the NYI Regional Council made Extravaganza 2016 an epic event filled with memorable worship services, community service, and spirited competitions in quizzing, sports and talent of all kinds.

Most importantly, a number of teens stood up at the very first service and received Christ for the first time, and across the auditorium there were youth pastors praying with teens and leading them to Christ. God used Eric Samuel Timm and his amazing talents and humor in powerful ways to make real change in hearts and lives. SNU’s Pastor of Worship & Chapel, Banning Dawson, led a worship team of SNU students and alums who provided energetic and powerful times of praise.

Jennifer Lester, SNU alum and Executive Director at ServeOK, coordinated the service project and, in addition, almost $2,500 was raised for Nazarene Justice Movement and the Meso-America Field NYC. Pastor Darrick Acre, senior pastor of the Piedmont, OK Church of the Nazarene, led another year of highly competitive quizzing, with over 100 quizzers preparing for Q2016, which will be held on the campus of SNU this summer. The South Central Region quizzers are looking to repeat their USA/Canada NYC championship.Extravaganza Workshop at SNU

As is always the case, talent abounds on the sports fields and on stage. This year’s competitions were no exception, with SNU’s assistant Football coach, Davis Hodam, coordinating sports, and Audra Faust making sure the talent competitions and auditions ran smoothly. Of course, no Extravaganza is complete without lots of fun, and opening night’s party and epic dodgeball tournament were memorable.  

NYI Regional Council President and SNU’s University Pastor, Dr. Blair Spindle, summed it up this way, “We firmly believe that God was glorified and people were challenged in real ways.” “We were challenged to discover Christ and His salvation, to embrace a compelling forgiveness, to understand how death has passed us over by the death and resurrection of Christ and how we partake in His life through the bread and juice, and we learned that we should be a light that isn’t blinding or hidden, but one that burns brightly into our world.”

Not only does Extravaganza give the SNU Admissions team a unique opportunity to recruit our Region’s best and brightest Nazarene teens, SNU’s students love the energy on campus and look forward to each year’s gathering. For results of this year’s competitions, visit

Sound of the Storm Resonates With Alum

SNU Grad to Lead Marching Band Initiative

For this Mercedes, Texas native, Danny Abrego’s first trip to Bethany, Oklahoma was more than a brief visit, it was the beginning of a transformational experience from music prodigy to career professional. A graduate of the Class of 1994, Abrego returned to SNU in 2015 after 19 years as a public school band director to lead the recruitment and development of SNU’s first marching band, the Sound of the Storm.

Professor Danny Abrego - SNU Marching Band - Sound of the StormDanny Abrego grew up in an environment of music, studying piano from an early age and developing his skills as a trumpet player through his high school music program, specifically marching band. He knew by his senior year that he wanted to pursue a career in music education, and because of his exposure to SNU through music groups that ministered at his Texas-Oklahoma Latin Nazarene District summer church camp, he made the decision that he would attend Southern Nazarene University. His first trip to campus was also his first day as a Freshman at SNU. This step of faith began a journey of preparation guided by his mentor Dr. Phil Moore, and influenced by the encouragement and help from Dr. Mark Reighard.

After graduation, Danny returned to Texas, teaching instrumental music for several years, with a return to Bethany, Oklahoma to teach at Bethany High School for a time, followed by a teaching assignment in Fort Worth, Texas. Then the call came for an opportunity to join the faculty of SNU, leading the charge for recruitment of a marching band, adding excitement and pride for athletes, students and fans.

When reflecting on his experiences since joining the campus family, Danny said, “What excites me the most is having the opportunity to watch Christ do something special in the lives of these students.” He continued, “The medium I use is music, and through it God works to show them how to use their gifts and talents for His service.”

Professor Danny Abrego & Recruiter Chris Rangel - SNUDanny knows that fielding a fully formed marching band for the 2016 football season is a big challenge, but he noted that his recruits are, without exception, high-achieving students who possess the strengths of discipline and high integrity. The name, Sound of the Storm, was chosen to represent the core values of the group, Abrego said, and produce a spirit that will help to shape the future of the ensemble and resonate Christ in all that they do.

For Prof. Abrego, his wife Angie and their four children, coming back to Bethany has been a positive move. With daughters who is currently at SNU, and three younger children who are, hopefully, future SNU students, it appears the legacy of excellence from the Abrego family will continue.

To learn more about the SNU School of Music, visit To refer a marching band prospect or support the Sound of the Storm, contact Prof. Abrego at 405.491.6340 or

Our Nazarene Heritage
Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university - a service of the Church of the Nazarene. Located on a 40-acre campus just west of Oklahoma City, SNU grew out of several small colleges committed to training people for service to God and their fellow man. More than 32,000 alumni work and serve throughout the United States and the world. Read About Our Heritage