ORSL Newsletter | February 2017
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A Message from the Dean  

On Friday, February 10th Wellesley College students and chaplains joined dozens of others across the region for the 2nd Annual Northeastern Interfaith Student Summit. Making our way through the snow filled streets, we gathered with a diverse community comprised of students, staff, and faculty from New England colleges and universities to reflect on themes of interfaith cooperation, peace building, and religious literacy. Inspired by the morning words of Valerie Kaur, we engaged in afternoon workshops designed to equip students with spiritual practice and concrete leadership skills as we confront the most pressing challenges of the contemporary world with what Kaur defined as Revolutionary Love.

As a co-sponsor of the Summit, Wellesley College led sessions on Walking the Sacred Path, an introduction to the labyrinth as a spiritual practice and Telling Our Stories, a workshop on personal narrative as a tool for community organizing.

This summit represents the best of who we are and strive to be on campus and off….inquisitive, engaged and active global citizens! Indeed, this is the work of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life…to invite students to critically reflect on life’s’ most central questions…who am I and who do I want to become for the sake of the world?
This Month's Snapshots
Mental Health First Aid

On March 4th, we had twenty students sign up and attend an 8 hour workshop on mental health awareness.  Students from different faith traditions gathered to learn more about mental illness and how to support those who may need to access further care.  The workshop was sponsored by the Protestant Chaplaincy and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Wellesley and was paid for by a generous grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

Below: the students participating in an activity to consider how much an individual is impacted by an illness (Left to right: Julide Iye, Catherine Winn, Lauren Rondestvedt,  Kira Van Voorhees, Xandra Stannford, Anna Page, Abigail Stinson, Lizzie Mears,Sulaika Buuh, Gloria Sun, Rev Catherine Healy, Rev Margaret Schwarzer.)
Together Toward the Dream: A Mini-Conference on Social Justice Activism

Before students even began classes, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, in collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Students and Community Engagement gathered students for an afternoon of engaged learning and action. Together Toward the Dream was a mini-conference on social justice activism designed to empower and equip Wellesley College students to make positive social change in the world here and now. The afternoon featured two workshop sessions led by on-campus leaders and off-campus organizations including The Climate Disobedience Center, El Movimiento Cosecha, Black and Pink, and Life Together.

Students were delighted to hear Liz Miranda, Class of 2002, who came back to campus to deliver the keynote lecture entitled, “A Seat at the Table: From Birmingham to Boston. From Roxbury to Wellesley.” Miranda described her own journey as a high school student from Roxbury to the halls of Wellesley College and back again. A passionate and devoted community activist, Miranda encouraged students to use the privilege of a Wellesley education to make a difference in the world. She reminded them the road will not be easy and self-doubt will always creep in. In those times, she implored students to remember three key truths: “You are enough;” “You are seen;” and “What you need you already have.” As she closed, Miranda implored students to “speak so your echo shatters the fetters of injustice and oppression, making a seat at the tale for everyone.”
Learn about Liz Miranda's life of service!
Coming Up

Join us on February 26th as we design Wellesley’s first outdoor labyrinth. Master labyrinth designer, Lars Howlett, will lead us in an afternoon workshop, teaching us how to build four distinct types of labyrinths and facilitating our own labyrinth design.

To watch Lars at work, check out the video below of his home altar labyrinth made of bottle caps. Be inspired!

What kind of labyrinth would you like to see at Wellesley? One of flowers? Rocks? Grass? Come to the workshop and be part of the design process!

In just a few short weeks a select group of multifaith students from across our campus will travel with the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL) to Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma for a spring break they will never forget. Confronting the Unacceptable: An Interfaith Engagement with the Civil Rights Movement was born when a student, in the midst of an engaged conversation on mass incarceration, asked, “But, what does my faith have to do with that?” For the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, this is the central question we ask…what do our multiple faith traditions have to say about the world in which we live?

Working in collaboration with Harambee House and Community Engagement, ORSL’s alternative spring break program offers students a unique opportunity to explore just that question, not simply about their own faith, but also about the diverse traditions that comprise the fabric of American life. After a contentious year in which national and global divisions dominated our discourse, we at ORSL seek healing by engaging students at the intersections of faith and social justice. Traveling through the American south, we will use the history of the civil rights movement to frame our study as we ask diverse communities of faith how they have and continue to use their faith as a critical resource for creating positive social change. Now more than ever, our students must be connected to vibrant sources of reflection and action as they follow in the footsteps of so many Wellesley women before them to make a difference.

You can join them on this journey by reading along with us. Students will read John Lewis’ riveting graphic novel, March which chronicles his experience at the intersections of faith and justice….and you can too. Throughout the month of March, ORSL will post a set of weekly reflection questions as students and the wider Wellesley community read the trilogy.  We hope you will read along with us as we explore faith and justice in history and in our lives today.  If you want to receive the weekly book read questions, email Dean Steinwert at
Cultivating an Office of Calm
Billings 113A - the Wellesley home of Unitarian Universalist Chaplain Joanna Lubkin and ORSL Fellow Lara Glass, is evolving into a space of hospitality. Our office is a safe, supportive, playful space for students to talk to a chaplain, peacefully co-work, or hang out and sing along together to the Hamilton soundtrack. We try to live out the quote from the Sufi poet Rumi framed on the table: "It's this love that holds everything together. It's the everything, too." All are welcome. There is always chocolate. 
Weekly Offerings Fall 2016

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