A graduate of Ruth Murdoch Elementary school, Andrews Academy, and now a student at Andrews University, Richard Parke has been an active member of the Andrews community ever since he and his family moved to southwest Michigan from a small town in Minnesota when he was nine years old.
"I’ve never really been a pew sitter," he explains. Being involved at church and in ministry is something Richard has been doing for as along as he can remember. Growing up in a small church in Buchanan, Michigan, Richard remembers helping out in Sabbath School and taking up the offering even as a child.
"I went to Andrews University because it was easy to get involved," says Richard, a senior business major with an emphasis in computer information systems. And involved he is. From the start, Richard took an active role in campus ministries, working as part of a team of students who developed Andrews' popular college Sabbath School, Higher Ground.
At the end of last school year, Richard was offered the opportunity to take the position as director of Mosaic, Andrews Friday night contemporary worship service, and he was eager to have the chance to try something new.
"Mosaic is a way students can express themselves through worship," explains Richard. "It’s not about providing an activity as much as it is providing a place for that activity. Wherever you bring God in, He’ll be there."
Under his leadership, Mosaic has continued to evolve, and is now a weekly program. Twice a month students fill the seminary chapel for a worship and praise service. The other two Fridays they either stretch their creative muscles at the Creative Arts Cafe, or enjoy listening to the music of talented independent Christian artists as part of the new Mosaic Christian Concert Series. "It's been an eye-opening experience," says Richard.
In between taking classes and organizing Mosaic, Richard also took on the role of ticket coordinator for the 2005 Easter Passion Play, a position he held last year as well. He was the one responsible for taking ticket reservations, working with ticket locations, and making sure that the 8,400 attendees of this year's play had a ticket in hand.
Next year, Richard will once again put on a new hat, as the Andrews spiritual life Communication Director.