Coming into Summit Semester, I had few expectations for what small groups would be like. I attended session four of the Summit Summer Conference in Manitou Springs, Colorado, this summer. There is a great contrast in the small group setting at Summit Semester. Small groups at Summit Semester have been much more intimate and personal because of the time spent in group meetings and simply living in community with the girls. During the first couple of weeks, we had small groups more than once a week, which helped initiate a stronger bond with the group. I have learned to love and respect those in my small group: I cherish Sarah Lewis, Grace Matson, Cassidy Bronson, and Pari Cribbins significantly. I find it challenging to open up to others, yet I have learned at Summit Semester that this is a good and important thing. I have seen growth in myself through this. This has led me to have great conversations with Sedona, my small group leader, during “one-on-one” times throughout the weeks.
We usually have small group meetings once a week, where we discuss our assigned reading. We started the semester by reading The Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. Out of the many important yet daring reading assignments given to us at Summit Semester, this one was a refreshing “break,” and I valued it greatly.
We usually have small group meetings once a week, where we discuss our assigned reading. We read certain chapters each week and learned how to discover God in the many “ordinary” moments that take up most of our lives. From making the bed, which my roommate and I strive to do every morning (even though it does not always happen), to brushing my teeth, this book captures the potential of worship in these normal routine activities. After finishing the book, we moved on to different article assignments to discuss. Some of these articles included “The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis, “Forgive us our Faults” by Tim Keller, “The Trouble with ‘X” by C.S. Lewis, “Redeeming Rituals” by James K.A. Smith and others. Being at Summit Semester has helped me conclude that it is impossible to be a Christian if you do not read C.S. Lewis. Alright, I am just kidding… sort of. The conversations I have had with these intelligent girls have helped me to learn more about myself and how to view the world around me. In addition to these great discussions, we could not have done it without Pari’s delicious pumpkin muffins. The community’s generosity during Summit Semester is astounding, evident in small groups. There are always treats and snacks brought in to share-it automatically enhances our time together. Since being at Summit Semester and having family-style meals three times a day, I have learned that sharing meals with others is so impactful in ways you would not realize. This carries over into simply sharing a small snack during small group. We have had the opportunity multiple times to combine with other girls’ small groups to spend time with other girls, which has been so special. We have watched movies together, enjoyed Sonic mozzarella sticks, had Walmart runs (which are way more fun than you would anticipate), and more. I know how important it is to develop these long-lasting relationships with the same gender, and I will cherish my small group forever after Summit Semester.
Lilli Weir is from Mooresville, North Carolina. She recently graduated high school and is attending Summit Semester during her gap year. This fall, she hopes to mature in her faith, learn how to defend Christianity, and gain quality fellowship and relationships with other students. She plans to attend a university in the fall of 2023 with more wisdom to navigate this secular world. If Lilli could eat one meal for the rest of her life, it would be chicken and waffles.