A Sense of Shalom
By Lindsey (Walker) Strength ′10
“To be a responsible person is to find one's role in the building of shalom, the re-webbing of God, humanity and all creation in justice, harmony, fulfillment and delight. To be a responsible person is to find one's own role and then, funded by the grace of God, to fill this role and to delight in it.” Cornelius Plantagina
Shalom. A traditional Jewish greeting and good-bye, it means “peace,” to be complete or whole. As a student at Geneva College, Sara Sackville ′00 began her search for shalom, in her own life and in the lives of others.
Sara had a strong Christian upbringing, but when she came to Geneva College, she learned to be responsible for her faith on a whole new level. “When you get to college, life throws harder questions at you,” she says, and God used staff members at Geneva College to help her find the answers to some of those questions.
Her residence director freshman year, Kristi Barbato, had a deep impact on Sara′s life. In addition to working as staff members at the college, Kristi and her late husband, Michael, were campus ministers with the CCO. Partnering with Geneva College since 1973, the CCO is a campus ministry organization that works to transform students who can transform society for Christ′s kingdom.
Sara was a psychology major with a passion for people, and the CCO staff at Geneva helped her discover what God was calling her to do. “They connected me with people who were really convicted about poverty and social justice, and that really impacted my journey into the social work field, as well,” she says.
Campus life at Geneva also played an important role in Sara′s future career choices. She decided to pursue employment opportunities through the CCO and became an RD at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Transitioning from a faith-centered environment to a completely secular one was tough, but it gave her an even deeper appreciation for the foundation she had built at Geneva.
“Geneva wasn′t just about teaching a college curriculum and being Christian and having prayer,” she says. “They really did have the whole idea of an integrated worldview in approaching different subjects from a Christian perspective.”
Sara earned her master′s is social work while she was at Case, and now she is working at a residential girls′ home in Washington D.C. Working with troubled teenagers has been challenging, but every day teaches her more about herself, her God, and the way He′s called her to create shalom in His kingdom.