• Unique class hymns welcome Baylor freshmen to campus each fall

    While it’s common for incoming freshmen to be welcomed to college by campus leaders, it’s not so common for that encouragement to come in the form of a hymn — but that’s what we do at Baylor.

    Since 2008, each class of freshmen has received its own unique message of encouragement and hope written by University Chaplain Burt Burleson, BA ’80, and Associate Chaplain Ryan Richardson, MDiv ’04. Each class hymn reveals the heart and hopes Baylor has for its students. The hymn is performed during Orientation, giving students that come from so many different backgrounds a common song and message. Later, the hymns are also performed at chapel and worship services across campus.

    “Music has the ability to inspire us, to change us, to heighten our awareness of ourselves and how we interact with the world,” says Richardson, Baylor’s director of worship and Chapel. “Melodies have been written and sung for generations upon generations to celebrate, to mourn, to endure hardship, to acknowledge truth and to worship God.”

    You can listen to and download most Baylor class hymns dating back to 2008 on iTunes, and for the past few years, Baylor Spiritual Life has also shot a music video to complement the music. This year’s video features BU graduate students Joslyn Henderson and Ross Tarpley (BBA ’15) singing “Shining Bright,” written by Burleson, Henderson and Tarpley.

    [LISTEN to hymns for the Classes of 2019, 2020 and 2021]

    While the lyrics to “Shining Bright” (and all Baylor’s class hymns) were written with a specific class in mind, they’re a welcome reminder to the entire Baylor Family that we are called to reflect God’s light to those around us:

    Longings of the world and every heart.
    Callings on a life to find its part.
    Inklings deep within, praying for a sign,
    Hoping for the day when we will find…

    A city on a hill
    A dream beyond the night
    A fountain that will fill
    A light that’s shining bright
    To-illumine every sphere
    To raise our sights above,
    To make the pathway clear
    To lead us in God’s love.

    Saying yes to life and each new day,
    Taking each new step in mercy’s way.
    Healing who we are, setting spirits free,
    Knowing that we all are called to be…


    Holding holy gifts with grateful hands.
    Blessing hallowed lives with sacred plans.
    Greeting greater truth, waking as we go,
    Walking in a world that needs to know…


    Sic ’em, Baylor Spiritual Life!

    You might also like:
    Baylor Chaplain: How spiritual formation works at a university of 16,000+ students (July 2018)
    Record number of Baylor missions teams serving worldwide this summer (June 2018)
    ‘A Playground To Explore’: Baylor chemistry prof on how faith and science meet (May 2017)

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