Vanguard University’s 200-member concert choir and orchestra rang in the season with Christmas Fantasia, its annual holiday concert. Led by the Department of Music Chair Dr. James Melton, the program featured performances by the Vanguard University Concert Choir and Orchestra, University Women’s Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Barbershop and Beautyshop Quartets, and the Vanguard Singers and Band. These world-class performance groups have performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Proceeds directly support students with scholarships and other educational resources through the Vanguard University Fund.
For more information about Fantasia, please visit vanguard.edu/fantasia.
For more information about Vanguard’s Music Program please visit vanguard.edu/music
The segment will broadcast on 99.5 KKLA at 7:30 a.m. PST.
“Not so long ago, there was a boy who lived with three cousins and four siblings in a three-story house. The attic was converted into a large bedroom where they slept and played and wondered about things larger than themselves. In that house the boy learned about God, about love, divorce, violence and, much later, reconciliation. There he began his quest for truth that would lead him around the world and finally to a life-altering experience at a place not so far from where he began.”
So goes the story of Jerry Camery-Hoggatt ’75, professor of New Testament and narrative theology for nearly 30 years, and 3-year chair of Vanguard University’s religion division, 1-year Director of Vanguard University’s Grad Programs in Religion. Camery-Hoggatt has sterling academic credentials, but he is also a riveting storyteller, a published author of scholarly monographs, commentaries, memoirs and fiction, a performer of story concerts and a pioneering professor who teaches the gospel as odyssey rather than as outline.
“[Universities] package most of what they do in outline form, but most people come to their religious beliefs in story form,” Camery-Hoggatt says. “I try to write prose that people who’d never pick up a theology book can read comfortably, that engages them in theological reflection. I use story as a vehicle for achieving that.”
Camery-Hoggatt’s life is as dramatic as the stories he tells. As a boy, his childhood was overshadowed by his parents’ divorce, which left the Pentecostal, church-going family with a shameful stigma. Former church friends crossed the street to avoid them. Camery-Hoggatt was so shaken by this that he began to question God’s existence. He posed a theological question to his pastor one Sunday, and the pastor replied, “We’re Christians. We don’t ask those kinds of questions.” Perplexed, Camery-Hoggatt graduated high school and left home, joining Up With People and touring the world. Deep in his heart he was searching for answers.
One Easter Sunday he found himself in an old Russian monastery in Stamford, Conn., attending a midnight mass. There, seated among the immigrants who whispered to one another in their native tongue, Camery-Hoggatt witnessed a scene of reconciliation that stirred his soul. At that moment he decided he would ask again the question of God. If God did not exist, then nothing mattered; if God did exist, then nothing else mattered in quite the same way, he thought.
He returned from touring and took his spiritual journey to Vanguard, where he says he was welcomed despite his spiritual doubts. Wary and questioning, he attended a prayer meeting one Wednesday night in the old Coat of Arms room above the gymnasium, and when the Communion elements came by, he refused them. He didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Then something strange happened: The fellow sitting next to him put an arm around his shoulder, pulled him close and began to cry. “I feel how lost you are,” the fellow said, “and I’ll pray that God will find you and take you home to him.” At that moment, Camery-Hoggatt had an epiphany: if that person could care that much for him, God could, too. He stood up, walked to the front of the room, took a paper cup and the almost-empty pitcher of grape juice, walked back to his seat and said, “Pour this for me.”
“At that moment I knew I had become a Christian and would be a Christian for the rest of my life,” he says, weeping at the recollection.
He also found his professional home at Vanguard. That very semester he discovered biblical studies under Dr. Russ Spittler and Dr. William Williams, and the subject was “a hole into which I fell and I never climbed out,” he says. He abandoned pre-med and threw himself into study of the New Testament.
To read more of Jerry Camery-Hoggat’s biography Click Here
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Non-profit organization Krochet Kids intl. (KKi) was selected as one of twenty-five charities to participate in the American Giving Awards hosted by Chase Bank, culminating in a TV special awards show December 8th on NBC. KKi rallied support for their cause and invited votes on the Facebook-based platform November 27 – December 4. The non-profit accessories brand that has successfully provided opportunities for communities in Uganda and Peru was looking to bring their life-changing model for empowerment home to the USA.
KKi has built a brand over the last five years focused on creating life-changing employment and educational opportunities to some of the most difficult areas in our world through the creation of their headwear and accessories line. Over 180 women in Uganda and Peru are beneficiaries of this work and the organization is not stopping there. Now that KKi has won the American Giving Awards they will be able to test their theory of change and empowerment for communities here in the USA.
“It has always been our goal to create a model for change that could exist in different contexts… we are excited to announce the plan to start a Krochet Kids intl. program here in the USA. Through job creation and supportive education we look to pilot our work in communities here at home and create some amazing new product,” says KKi CEO Kohl Crecelius.
Vanguard is proud to announce their winnings and to support the efforts of this talented team; Stewart Ramsey ’08, Travis Hartan ’06 and Kohl Crecelius.
To learn more and help the effort, visit www.krochetkids.org
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Costa Mesa residents, churchgoers, officials and others are helping the homeless off the streets.
That’s magnanimous by most accounts, but there’s a catch: They want to mostly help Costa Mesa residents, and discourage others from coming to town.
The first step in their process, a census and survey by Vanguard University, found a stable population between 100 and 120 locals. The homeless hot spots were mainly on the city’s Westside, near nonprofits and churches. Now, officials are finalizing their list of residents while stepping up their enforcement measures.
“We want to take care of our own, but we don’t want to be an attractant,” said City Councilman Steve Mensinger.
One of the men they are focusing on is Don, 50, a regular at the Lighthouse Church. Like many homeless, he prefers to use his first name because of the stigma.
On Monday, he met with city social worker Rosemary Nielsen – an impromptu chat about where he could live. A recovering addict with two dogs, Don is hard to place into limited housing.
Nielsen may soon have a new option: Officials are planning to convert an old motel into supportive housing and create an “adoption” program for people like Don – homeless with long-standing ties to the city.
But not everyone believes in the plan. Without other cities taking the same approach, some argue, Costa Mesa will just be pushing people around, to places with fewer resources. Some see the city’s social services as the big magnet – if they aren’t as selective as the city, why would people stop coming?
CITY TO FINALIZE LIST OF HOMELESS
The city is finalizing a list of roughly 100-120 chronically homeless people it considers Costa Mesa residents.
If they make the cut, homeless individuals may qualify for city-coordinated services like housing.
If they don’t, they have to rely on county, private or other resources.
Either way, people living on the street face heightened law enforcement and other measures designed to make Costa Mesa less inviting to them.
Officials call this a “carrot and stick” approach to ending homelessness in Costa Mesa. Here are some of the city’s actions:
•Contracted with a mental health worker to assist police
•Worked with churches to open a storage facility for personal belongings
•Hired a part-time social worker, with plans to hire two more
•Working with faith-based community to “adopt” a homeless family or individual
•Seeking a developer to build supportive housing with mental health, job referral, and medical services
•Working with churches to reunite individuals with families in other cities
•Seeking funding for emergency motel stays, bus and airline tickets
•Police issued 190 citations in Lions Park this year and made 52 arrests, more than doubling last year’s numbers
•Hired park rangers that patrol Lions Park and other parks, looking for violations
•Banned smoking in parks
•Banned extra belongings stored on bike racks
•Demolished shade structure in Lions Park
•Drafting a law against leaving unattended belongings in public
•Considering surveillance cameras in Lions Park
•Planning heightened enforcement of anti-camping laws
Can it work?
“It would work if every one of our cities that border Costa Mesa embraced the same approach. Without that, we’re just taking homeless people somewhere else to be homeless.” -Ed Clarke, Vanguard University sociology professor
“I think the biggest obstacle is to keep them from coming. There are so many services…I don’t think they can ever stop the massive influx.” -Marisa David, resident of the Vendome Condominiums, adjacent to Lions Park
“A key aspect has to be housing and getting them off the streets. Something beyond providing meals.” -David Snow, UC Irvine sociology professor
For full story in OC Register Click HERE