By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer
Baylor’s first family invited parents and students into their home for a potluck dinner with a side of prayer on Thursday night.
Baylor University president Dr. Linda Livingstone and husband Brad Livingstone hosted this month’s Waco Parents in Prayer meeting at the Allbritton House. The roughly 50 Parents in Prayer groups each meet monthly across the country to support each other, their students and the university through prayer.
President Livingstone said the local group pitched the idea of a potluck at last month’s meeting and Baylor’s first family was happy to host.
“We were happy to volunteer to host [the potluck] this evening,” President Livingstone said. “We love inviting people here. It’s one of the benefits of having a home right here on campus is you can do a lot of entertaining and bring people here, and it’s especially special that we have groups like this that will come and pray together for our campus and for our students.”
Gail Offringa is the director of the Baylor Parents Network, which works to connect Baylor parents with the community. Offringa said the Parents in Prayer meetings are unique to Baylor and elicit very positive feedback.
“As far as I know, we’re one of the [only] universities that has this type of program…throughout the country,” Offringa said. “It’s just wonderful. Parents will tell me that it is the most rewarding thing that they get involved in while their students are at Baylor… we’re very grateful for their prayers and I know that they love the support that they get from each other.”
Offringa said typical meetings range from just two people to upwards of 35. Thursday’s potluck at the Allbritton House was on the high end, and Linda Livingstone said the on-campus location provided a unique opportunity to involve students.
“[Parents] take turns hosting it at their homes, but we certainly would be open to doing it another time,” President Livingstone said. “I’m thrilled. It’s a great turnout and because we’re here on campus we have quite a few students with us and so it’s fun to have them with us.”
One of those students was Hewitt junior Casey Strauss, who came to the potluck with his mom, Nikki Strauss.
Casey Strauss said he appreciated the Livingstones welcoming the Baylor community into their home.
“Honestly it’s just really cool to see it. I mean, I don’t know how many presidents of universities just open their house to the people at their school,” Casey Strauss said. “It makes me happy to see Mr. and Mrs. Livingstone do this for everyone else that wanted to come.”
Nikki Strauss, who had attended one previous Parents in Prayer meeting, said the potluck was a great way to get involved with the Baylor community in Waco. “We’ve lived here for five years and just always finding ways to be involved at Baylor and in the Waco community, and just saw this as an opportunity to be around other Waco area families,” Nikki Strauss said.