Updated: Sep 20
President Greg Jones’ 3-day inauguration celebration kicked off Wednesday with a message of hope, unity and Christ-centeredness at Belmont.
Taking the stage for a chapel service in Massey Performing Arts Center, Jones echoed his inaugural theme of “Let Hope Abound,” encouraging those in attendance to learn to live together, not just side by side.
“My hope for this campus the next three days and for the rest of our year and for all the time we’re here together, is that we will be people who are Christ-centered and spirit-empowered, bearing witness to the goodness of God in our study, in our worship, in our work, in our play, in all the activities that mark Belmont University,” Jones said.
Though the rest of the week will be full of fun campus festivities, ending with Jones’ official inauguration as president of Belmont, he is not blind to the issues plaguing the world today.
“There are challenging times,” Jones said. “Issues of the pandemic that we call COVID are upon us, but not only that, there’s a heightened attention to racial injustice over the last 18 months, the economic disruptions, the mental health challenges that have been intensified and accelerated over this period.”
In a nearly full audience of students and faculty, many found Jones’ message to be reassuring and enjoyed hearing the new president speak.
Student Ava Edwards attended chapel to hear Jones give his talk, saying she had not yet heard much from him this year.
“I thought his message was really good, and I was kinda shocked by how good he was at speaking,” said Edwards.
Olivia Romer, another student in attendance, was also encouraged.
“I like the ‘Let Hope Abound’ thing, that’s a good core center especially for us this year,” said Romer.
“Let Hope Abound” has been a recurring theme throughout the first months of Jones’ presidency at Belmont, and has been woven into the fabric of all his speeches this semester.
Jones places an emphasis on distinguishing hope from optimism as a virtue that can persist even in the darkest times, he said in an interview with the Vision.
His messages also connect hope with action, driving home the idea that students can spread hope by sharing with, learning from and helping one another at Belmont and beyond.
“We are called to let hope abound, to be people of Easter hope and Pentecostal power that surprise people with the goodness of God by reaching out and loving and embracing, doing surprising things,” Jones said at the Wednesday chapel service.
Inauguration events will continue Wednesday through Friday, with Jones’ official inauguration ceremony taking place Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the Curb Event Center.
This article is part of the Vision’s continued coverage of the inauguration of President Greg Jones.
PHOTO: President Jones at the kick-off chapel service Wednesday morning. Belmont Vision / Sarah Maninger.
This article was written Sarah Maninger and Connor Daryani.