This email was sent by President Matthews to the Eastern Community in February 2022.

Dear Eastern Community,

Grace and peace to you as we celebrate this first day of February. As we invest the time to familiarize ourselves with our new Core Values, this month we will focus on  R - Relationships. You can read our core value descriptions on this webpage. So far, we’ve explored E - Excellence, A - Authenticity, S - Stewardship, T - Thoughtfulness, and E - Enthusiasm. 

Here’s how we’ve defined Relationships:

In Ephesians 4:2-3, Paul encourages the church in Ephesus to be “completely humble and gentle; be patient, and bear with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

The early church was full of diverse people groups from a wide array of backgrounds. It certainly wasn’t easy for them to learn to understand one another and work together. Amid these struggles, Paul gives this beautiful charge for the community – keep unity through humility and patience, think of others above themselves, and allow love to guide and bind them together.

Maintaining healthy relationships is never easy or simple, but power emanates from relationships that are unified through the humility, patience, and grace found in Christ.

One story from our own community about the power of relationships features twin sisters and alumnae of Eastern, Taiye Oladapo ’01 and Kehinde (Lola) Oladapo ’03. These sisters have been inspired to create spaces that foster unity and belonging for whoever crosses over the threshold. 

Lola shares, “There’s a need for more spaces like our home where diverse people, with diverse opinions, can come and share. It is in these environments that biases are confronted, allies are formed, and the ‘othering’ of people who are not like us decreases.”

Read the Story:
The Gift of Hospitality

May we be inspired by the example that Lola and Taiye have set before us to humble ourselves, open our hearts, and create spaces where healthy and Christ-filled relationships can thrive. 

During this month of February, I invite you to reflect on the questions below. Take a moment during your lunch break to reflect, journal during your quiet time, or consider using these for discussion at team or group meetings.

February Reflection Questions: R - Relationships

  • What relational giftings has God given me?
  • Where have I observed healthy relationships around me at Eastern?
  • In what areas would I like to grow and mature relationally?

Let’s pray and encourage one another as we explore Relationships this February. I find it fitting that we are reflecting on this value during the same month we celebrate Black History Month and Valentine’s Day. Thank you for all of the relationships you have already created and nurtured within our Eastern Community. Have a great month!

With appreciation and enthusiasm, 


Dr. Ronald A. Matthews


P.S. Core Values Cards: We still have some extra core values cards in the President’s Office if you don’t have one yet and would like one. Feel free to place the card on your wall or near your desk to help familiarize yourself with these values. (You can also download and print it here.)