Thursday, October 13, was overcast and rainy, but the atmosphere inside the Vos Chapel that day was anything but gloomy. The Kuyper community had the honor of hosting Brian Black as a part of Ora et Labora, the weekly time where speakers share about the work they are doing and how their faith impacts that work.
Black is at the helm of Harmel Academy of the Trades, a post-secondary academy that trains men in a skilled trade while also forming them in their Catholic faith. Harmel and Kuyper College enjoy a fruitful relationship, with Harmel using some of the College’s facilities. This allows the two schools to be in community together, learning from each other what it means to bring God’s grace into today’s culture.
“I had a conversion to Christ in early college. During that time, it became clear to me that to be a member of Christ’s body meant engaging well in your work,” Black recalled. After a few years working in corporate marketing and construction management, he began to notice that many of the young men working with him lacked a good understanding of how to integrate their faith with their work.
This realization is what ultimately led to the formation of Harmel Academy. “I wanted to help young men learn a skilled trade while deepening their faith and learning to integrate the two,” Black said. At Harmel, young men are nourished both spiritually and vocationally while gaining the understanding that work is, above all, a way to collaborate with God in the creation and redemption of the world.
Black reminded his listeners that properly ordered work can actually be an important component of a full life of faith. “When you are working with your hands, you are imitating Christ,” he said.