In the closing moments of the film Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart's character Rick Blaine tells Captain Renault, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Over the past two weeks, during our introduction to Capital Fellows, I found myself mentally echoing Rick's words several times during conversations, lectures, and prayers. Not only do I anticipate growing deeply in friendship and brotherhood with these fellows, but, Lord willing, we will also develop more intense relationships with Christ and his church.
On August 30, all fellows arrived at a retreat center in rural Maryland, where we spent the rest of the week preparing for the program, getting to know one another, and finding creative ways to have socially-distanced fun. John Kyle and Sarah Sarsfield, the Director and Assistant Director of Capital Fellows , led us through the details of the program, and our daily devotionals through Romans 12 inspired us to practice "genuine love" as we prepare to dive into the program's four themes of vocation, leadership, service, and community. Each of the fellows, as well as the leaders, delivered a long-form testimony followed by Q&A, which prompted radical honesty from the speakers and compassionate awareness from the listeners. We also had opportunities to eat in groups, throw a dance party, and explore God's creation together.
One of the first "icebreakers" that week was for the fellows, as a group, to find something in common between all 14 of us — perhaps one interest we all shared, or a mutual acquaintance. While we didn't quite find a single person that we all happened to know, I later noticed that Jesus was consistently present in each of our life stories — providing grace in times of crisis, need, and doubt. It gives me great encouragement that we do in fact have a mutual friend: one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and his presence in our hearts shows. After a week of intense vulnerability, the fellows are already modeling Christ by drawing closer to and loving one another.
The retreat catalyzed what I hope will be deep and lasting friendships amongst the fellows, but it also prepared us to grow in the church and in intentional, Christian community. Each day before dinner, John encouraged us to think of our efforts this year as being much bigger than ourselves. Lord willing, our endeavors in Capital Fellows Season 14 can be impactful for years to come at McLean Presbyterian, in the DC area, and beyond.
Already, we have experienced firsthand the incredible generosity and hospitality of McLean Presbyterian members, families, and staff. On behalf of the fellows, I want to thank all of you for welcoming us into your community! I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Season 14, a good church, and a great God; and I would ask for your continued prayer as we enter into this next season in the life of his church.
Pictures from the Week
Little did we know we'd be on foreign soil. Photo: Rachel Baber
Dinner on the National Mall after a citywide scavenger hunt. Photo: Daniel Schartner
Back when the ice hadn't completely broken yet. Photo: Sam Trizza
Become A Capital Fellow in 2021-22
We are now receiving applications for Season 15 of the Capital Fellows program! The next season runs from late August 2021 through mid-May of 2022. If you are a college senior or recent college graduate, we would love to hear from you! If you know someone that should consider being a fellow, please send them our way.
Pray for the Capital Fellows
Want to pray for the Capital Fellows throughout the year? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.
Benefits of The Fellows Initiative
You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 30 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. But, did you know that the sponsors of TFI offer great benefits to Capital Fellows alumni? For example, Reformed Theological Seminary offers a 33% tuition discount for 5 years. You can learn more about TFI's sponsors by clicking here.
If you know of a graduate school, seminary, employer, or other organization that would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact TFI by clicking here. Thanks!
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