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Good News at Southern Nazarene University Church Relations

NOVEMBER 2016


This Is Our Story...
Homecoming Concert Showcases School of Music

An evening packed with musical performances, awards and tributes was served up to a great crowd of alumni and friends at Homecoming 2016.

From the opening hymn featuring a mass choir of alumni and students, accompanied by a full orchestra, the theme, “This is Our Story, This is Our Song,” celebrated the great tradition and legacy of the SNU School of Music.

The evening was highlighted by the presentation of Outstanding Alumni Awards. Presented by Larry Snowbarger, Alumni Association President, and SNU President, Dr. Loren Gresham, the 2016 honorees were Rocky Gribble (’74), George Vera (’80), Elizabeth “Betsy” Fischborn (’06) and Ron (’66) and Karen (’68) McClellan. A guitar solo by Rocky Gribble and a rousing aria performed by Ms. Fischborn, displayed the talents that were nurtured at SNU and developed with commitment to their craft by these outstanding alums. Music educators Ron and Karen McClellan were honored for their investment in the lives of young people, and the recognition of George Vera’s many years of music ministry in the Church of the Nazarene was representative of the importance placed on music and its role in worship in our churches.

The new SNU Marching Band got the crowd on its feet with its strong percussion line and striking red and white uniforms. Following a piano duo by Drs. Mark Reighard and Steve Betts, a video tribute to Dr. Reighard honored his many decades of service and influence on past and current students. With his retirement slated for the end of the current academic year, Dr. Reighard gave a ‘farewell’ performance of some of his most-loved arrangements.

The finale of the concert was a stirring arrangement by Reighard of Blessed Assurance that featured the SNU Chorale and Chamber Orchestra, and brought a long, standing ovation from the appreciative crowd.

SNU’s Director of Alumni Relations, Mrs. Marcia Mosshart, stated that “both immediately afterward and in the days since the Showcase, we have received an outpouring of positive comments and words of appreciation for our School of Music faculty and students, and the incredible talent they and the alumni of the department displayed.”

To learn more about the SNU School of Music visit snu.edu/school-of-music.

A Place of Honor

The Hall of Witnesses at SNU

In a moving ceremony on the campus of Southern Nazarene University, a noteworthy and inspiring group of Christian servants was inducted into the Hall of Witnesses at SNU.

As part of the Homecoming festivities, this annual event is always marked by stories of sacrifice, service and uncompromising commitment as the biographies of the honorees are read. Housed in the foyer of the Ludwig Religion Building on the campus of SNU, the Hall of Witnesses is a frequently visited space, and truly is a Christian “hall of heroes.”

Joining this illustrious group, this year’s inductees ranged from career missionaries, to Christian higher education professionals, teachers and counselors. From pastors and their spouses who impacted the lives of thousands, to laity that faithfully served in small, local churches - each of the honorees’ livesDr. Loren & Linda Gresham are surprised with induction into the Hall of Witnesses. reflected their commitment to Christ and His Kingdom. Special honorees were Dr. and Mrs. Loren Gresham, who were nominated by the University for their legacy of service to the denomination and to SNU.

The Hall of Witnesses was created as a place to not only recognize those clergy and laity who have invested their lives in Christian service, it is designed to build endowed resources for educating and supporting future generations of Christian servants. Nominations are made via a gift to the Ministerial Internship Scholarship endowment in the name of the honoree.

This endowed scholarship is making it possible for students who are preparing to enter full-time ministry to graduate with little or no undergraduate debt, allowing them to pursue further studies or a ministry role that might otherwise be economically impossible.

To learn more about the Hall of Witnesses and the Ministerial Internship Scholarship Endowment, visit snu.edu/hall-of-witnesses.

Hall of Witnesses 2016 Honorees

Spotlight on Service

SNU Alumnus Lives Out His Calling

“Coming to Bethany Nazarene College changed the course of my life,” says George Vera, “and the commitment to excellence in education of my music professors shaped my career path.” That path has been a life of service to the Church of the Nazarene, and to the communities where George and his wife, Paula, have lived.

Graduating in 1980 from BNC, now SNU, with a Bachelor’s degree in music, George followed where God had called him, into music ministry and education.

While at BNC, George traveled with the Collegian Quartet and was instrumental in the formation of the public relations group, Highest Praise. It was also at BNC that he met his wife, Paula, and God has blessed them with a wonderful, supportive family of three children and three grandchildren. Two of his children and daughters-in-law are also graduates of Southern Nazarene University.

Vera Family Photo

While serving as music minister at the Garden City, Kansas Church of the Nazarene, George completed a Master of Music Education degree at Wichita State University. Other church assignments were Wichita, Kansas Linwood Nazarene and in Oklahoma City at Western Oaks Church of the Nazarene. George and Paula served thirteen of these years under the ministry of Rev. Ray and Vera Hance, citing their mentorship and spiritual influence in shaping their lives.

Concurrent with these assignments, George held teaching positions in public school systems, directing bands and leading Fine Arts programs in school districts in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Now located in Rogers, Arkansas, George served eight years full-time as Worship Arts Pastor at Rogers (AR) First Church of the Nazarene, then, last year, transitioned back into public education, while maintaining a significant role in the music ministry at Rogers First.

George says, “I thank God for all the opportunities I’ve had in learning from others and for using me to impact people with the love of Jesus Christ.” “My prayer is that God would continue to use me in whatever capacity He calls me.“



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 lives of service to God, leadership, and reconciliation toward their neighbors and within the global community. More than 32,000 alumni work and serve throughout the United States and the world. Read About Our Heritage

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