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Restoration in Spirit

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

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As restoration leaders sought to restore accord among Christians of varying denominations, they emphasized, above all else, the unity of believers and the royal priesthood—encouraging personal responsibility for one's relationship with God. All Christians, the movement's founders argued, have equal access to God, and all have the divine potential to minister for Him.

As the movement grew, it remained focused on the noble idea of restoration, taking steps to abolish more common religious creeds and return to the principles of the early churches as they were described in the New Testament. Followers of the movement, for example, deeply valued congregational self-governance, rejected man-made creeds and confessions, and viewed the Bible as the best source for understanding the will of God.

Such a theological vision energizes a faith-based institution of higher education, especially one like Pepperdine that recognizes the importance of its place in a particular time and culture. In our pursuit to nurture cultural healing and encourage spiritual restoration, Pepperdine affirms paths that bring our community together and encourages all to help guide the University's focus and direction. True to our Restoration DNA, as well as our commitment to academic excellence and service, the University remains steadfast in its mission to equip each person as a role model for capacious faith, gracious welcoming, and sustained dialogue about the world today and the role that humanity plays in it.


Gus Peterson

When Gus Peterson took on the role of convocation director at Pepperdine, his goal was to rediscover the meaning of and reprioritize the program, specifically Wednesday morning chapel services, for students, faculty, and staff.

"Wednesday Chapel is our biggest opportunity to not only bring our students together, but to bring all of us together," shares Peterson. "We happen to have a diverse array of Christian speakers who are sharing with us their experiences and God's calling in their lives, and in that we're challenged as a community to step forward in different ways of faith."

The fall semester's Wednesday Chapel theme of "Invitation" was inspired by George Pepperdine's dedicatory address, which invited students of all faith backgrounds to learn about the Christian faith in addition to their academic pursuits. The theme also encouraged attendees to explore the meaning of being Christ-like as individuals and as a community, where all are invited to worship at an "open table."

Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges was born in 1954, the same year that the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision mandated racial integration in public schools. At the height of the Civil Rights movement, Bridges became the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. In response, the parents of all of her classmates withdrew their children from the school in an effort to avoid contact with an African American child.

At the 73rd annual Pepperdine Bible Lectures, Bridges recalled how armed U.S. marshals would escort her each morning through angry mobs in opposition of the desegregation ruling. Bridges was subsequently educated alone by Barbara Henry, a teacher from Boston, Massachusetts, whom she still describes as her best friend.

In the midst of racial hatred, Bridges continually prayed for those who threatened to harm her and her family, thus practicing lessons of love and forgiveness she had learned in church. Her steadfast commitment to her faith in times of hatred, injustice, and loss enabled her to love and forgive those who hated her very existence.


Since fall 2014, the Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies at Pepperdine has partnered with L'Dough V'Dough, a program developed by the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust to give students an opportunity to meet and hear the personal narratives of child Holocaust survivors while making Challah, a traditional braided bread generally eaten on the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. While the challah cooked, students were grouped with Holocaust survivors to converse about issues of faith, identity, and discrimination while discussing how the Holocaust shaped their perspectives on God, life, and evil.

Miguel Gallardo

At the Irvine graduate campus, a group of Graduate School of Education and Psychology students part of the Aliento program are learning to respond to the unique mental health needs of Latina/o communities. Aliento, led by founding director Miguel Gallardo, stresses liberation psychology and liberation theology as the foundation for the education, outreach, and research conducted through the training facility and research institute. Through hours of hands-on training, Spanish language immersion courses, and community service projects, students are equipped to help the most vulnerable, marginalized, and stigmatized populations.