While he didn’t know it at the time, Dr. Brian Fry had a hand in selecting Indiana Wesleyan’s spring undergraduate commencement speaker.
Fry, professor of sociology, introduced Dr. Amanda Drury to the work of Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, and she nominated Boyle to give the commencement address April 29.
Father Boyle is a Jesuit priest and the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, Calif. Homeboy provides gang intervention, rehabilitation and reentry services by employing and training former gang members.
Drury, associate professor of practical theology and examen director, said she nominated Boyle after using his book, Tattoos of the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, in her Evangelism and Discipleship class and learning more about his approach to ministry.
“…His understanding of the Gospel encompasses a broader understanding of dignity,” Drury said. “People walk a little taller after working alongside of him. He doesn’t give the impression of swooping down into a dire situation and trying fix things; rather, he works with people–side by side, not from a scarcity mindset but from one of abundance.”
Fry said he first became aware of Father Boyle via a TED talk and was inspired by him.
“He has a kingdom of God mindset and heartset that demonstrates the beauty, goodness, and power of living a life with God,” Fry said.
IWU President Dr. David Wright spent time with Father Boyle at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles in January on the recommendation of Dr. Drury, observing the largest and most successful gang ministry in the world.
“One of the things Father Boyle said has stuck with me,” Wright said. “He said, ‘If you can heal a gang member’s heart he will be set free from that life.’ If you just educate a gang member he will go back to the gang. He said the men and women come will all kinds of hurt and pain. Until their hearts are healed they cannot be set free.”
Drury said she is looking forward to what Rev. Boyle has to say to the IWU community.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to hear him live and I’m thrilled that our students will be exposed to this ministry,” Drury said.
“I want our community to see and hear an example of a lifetime of ministry given to people who most often are written off as too lost and violent to be redeemed,” Wright said. “I want our graduates to be inspired by a powerful example creativity and compassion.”
Boyle will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony, while Christian businessman Tom Arington will speak in the 2:30 and 6:00 p.m. commencement ceremonies.
The Sojourn was unable to reach Rev. Boyle for comment.