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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Pepperdine Law School Dean’s Bible Study: Celebrating 37 Years

GoffPepperdine Law School Surf Report, Dean’s Bible Study: Celebrating 37 Years:

The Dean’s Bible Study began some 37 years ago, a humble beginning to what is now a cherished and celebrated staple at Pepperdine Law. It first began meeting in the 1980s and has been in continuous existence for most of the life of the law school. Every Wednesday evening, rain, shine, or looming exams, students flood over to the residence of Professor and Director of Global Programs Jim Gash and his wife Joline. Gash spoke about the student organized and student led gathering:

“My wife and I are privileged to provide the venue and some snacks. Each week, we sing a few songs, pray together, and get to hear from a student, professor, administrator, or other guest about a topic related to the speaker’s journey of faith. One goal with this gathering is to provide a sense of community for those looking to integrate their faith into their law school studies and career.

Another goal is to bring an encouraging message each week from someone who has either walked the path ahead of them or from someone currently walking beside them. Law school can be overwhelming, so getting a reminder each week of the larger context of the journey the students are on provides much-needed perspective and grounding. My favorite part is the opportunity to connect more deeply with the hopes, dreams, and fears of the students who participate. They are a constant encouragement to me and a regular reminder of why I chose to dedicate my career to engaging with students.”

Former Professor of Law F. LaGard Smith [was] the original host before it was officially declared the Dean’s Bible Study. ... Following LaGard, the Wednesday night gathering switched hosts to Dean Emeritus and Senior Vice Chancellor Ron Phillips and his wife Jamie. ... Then Dan Martin, who was Dean of the Law Library, and his wife Kathi Stafford, hosted until Dean Martin left Pepperdine. [Then David Davenport, who was Pepperdine University President, hosted.] Then Vice Dean Tim Perrin, and his wife Lucy, served as hosts until they left for Vice Dean Perrin to become President of Lubbock Christian University. Professor Jim Gash, and his wife Joline, then took over, and they have now served as hosts for about six years. ...

The Bible Study is currently run by host Jim Gash, Student Coordinator Alice Anderson (3L), and Student Worship Leader Luke Landers (3L). Anderson was kind enough to answer a few questions about her own experience with the Dean’s Bible study during her time at Pepperdine Law:

Can you explain what the Dean’s Bible Study consists of?

The students who attend Dean’s Bible Study recognize that leaders at Pepperdine have a wealth of wisdom and life experience as lawyers who strive to live as followers of Christ. To that end, students from all over the law school gather every week for a night of worship and prayer, with a message from a member of the Pepperdine community. It is a space for connection and rejuvenation in the middle of an otherwise full week of work. ...

Would you encourage other students to attend?

Dean’s Bible Study has been one of the most welcoming spaces in my experience at Pepperdine. I would recommend Dean’s Bible Study to students of any faith background who are interested in making friends, meeting Pepperdine’s leadership, and exploring more of the Christian faith.

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