There are three components to an education at Patrick Henry College. These are the three founding elements behind the college, its mission, and its philosophy. Academic excellence is the first one, a dedication to the spirit of the American founding is the second. And the third—and most important—is an unwavering dedication to a biblical worldview.
Taking the principles found in the Bible is of the upmost importance to the leadership of the college—so much so that it’s in the fabric and identity of the college. Now, what that means is that every 8:00 A.M. class, every professor, and every lecture is grounded in the Bible and its instruction.
But it’s not just displayed in the leadership of the college. It’s not just a sentiment that’s on the cover of admissions office brochures; it’s a reality that’s lived out and reflected in the community and in the life of its students. Sp`iritual life is incredibly important to the students of Patrick Henry College. Many of apply and attend Patrick Henry College in search of a college-level Christian education that will enforce and grow their faith.
Here are some of the events on campus that help nurture a community that thinks seriously about their faith and personal development.
Every Tuesday and Thursday each wing gets together to talk about the Word of God and their own personal spiritual life. These student-led Bible-studies are organized and spearheaded by the Resident Assistants or “RAs.” By encouraging their fellow students to dig into the Bible and to apply it to their lives, RAs play a large role in the development and maintenance of spiritual life at Patrick Henry College. Each RA is handpicked by the administration to lead Godly examples of what it looks like to be a student and a Christian at the same time.
These smaller, more familiar environments lead students to be more comfortable with sharing and opening up to their fellow hallway neighbors. But the wing chapel setting isn’t the only place where students get together to hear and read the Word.
Chapel is the larger version of wing chapel. Instead of breaking up into groups, the entire student body comes together on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to listen to a speaker present a message. Many times, these speakers will come from outside Patrick Henry College. In the past, they have come from local churches, think tanks, Christian ministries—a wide range of places. But regardless of where they come from, they all preach from the Bible with varied perspectives and bits of wisdom for the student body at Patrick Henry College.
It’s these routine meetings that consistently and continuously remind students that Christian life is a priority at Patrick Henry College, not just an afterthought. It is the cornerstone of Patrick Henry College’s mission, and Chapel helps keep that in perspective.
Sunday Night Worship
While reading and studying the Bible is a large part of the Christian life, worship provides students and opportunity to band together around an activity they can all participate in. Sunday Night Worship happens every week at 7:00 and runs until 7:30. For thirty minutes, students at Patrick Henry College sing their favorite worship songs to close out the week, re-orienting their minds and focusing back on the simple but profound truths they live with on a daily basis.
It’s a completely student-led activity and is usually pretty simple. Most of the time, it’s led by a singer, a guitar-player, and a drummer. With these relatively simple tools students at Patrick Henry College set apart a small fragment of their Sunday night to make their spiritual life in community a priority.
Faculty Bible Studies
As seen with Sunday Nigh Worship, students have a vested interest in improving their own spiritual lives and encouraging the students around them to do the same. But it isn’t just the students that set aside time for spiritual nourishment after hours.
The faculty and professors at Patrick Henry College are deeply interested in seeing their students grow. Professors like Dr. Robert Spinney, a history professor at Patrick Henry College, holds annual men’s Bible studies after classes are over on Wednesday nights. By mentoring young men and investing in their lives, Dr. Spinney ensures that all men on campus have an opportunity to peruse God in the fellowship of other young men. Other professors like Dr. Randy Newman, a professor of theology, lead Bible studies that go through a book of the Bible. Last year, Dr. Newman led a group of men and women through the book of Ruth, exploring the significance of ideas like hope, restoration, and redemption.
It’s people like Dr. Spinney and Dr. Newman that continue to encourage students to be both academically and spiritually active during their time at Patrick Henry College.
Last year, Patrick Henry College lost one of its best when Dr. Frank Guliuzza passed away. His loss has not been the only tragedy felt by the Patrick Henry College community. When loss strikes or when illness is felt in the community, students band together to pray for the needs of the people around them. Patrick Henry College students will gather at the flag pole on the center of campus to bring their needs and supplications before their heavenly father.
Community prayer has and will continue to be one of the great marvels at Patrick Henry College. Because Patrick Henry College has around 300 students, it’s entirely possible for students to know and support each other’s needs. It’s one of the most striking and powerful aspects of life at Patrick Henry College.
There’s a lot of different things to focus on in college. Every student activity, every club, ever friendship demands just a little bit more attention and time. But in the midst of all the various ways students could choose to spend 24 hours, at Patrick Henry College, spiritual life will always be a priority. It’s part of the identity of the school and thus part of the identity of the student body. These handful of activities that students take the time to be a part of are a testament to the fidelity and the commitment of the student body to their convictions and beliefs.