ORSL Newsletter | September 2017
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A Message from the Dean  

On September 10th the Wellesley College community celebrated Flower Sunday. Since 1875 students have gathered to welcome one another into the Wellesley family. With the giving and receiving of flowers, students nurture a community among and between them, one that will last well beyond their four years together on campus.  

This year’s theme was drawn from Orientation: Stretch Out Loud. The logo, emblazoned on all the orientation materials from t-shirts to planners to belly bags, was a bright green bamboo shoot. Throughout the student leader training and first year welcome, students explored what it meant to stretch out loud, to bend, not break.

This seems the perfect symbol with which to begin the year for bamboo is a rhizomatous plant species. Rhizomes are root-like, subterranean stems, often horizontally arranged and organized. They produce deep roots downward, while simultaneously sending shoots upward toward the surface. What we see, the beautiful, tall, green stalk, is only a small part of the plant. Underground grow beautiful, intricate, seemingly endless networks of intimately interconnected root systems. These covert, rhizomatous communities stabilize the stalks above ground providing strength and support. No one stalk is disconnected from another and no one stalk can really ever be said to stand on their own. Each bamboo shoot depends on the support of their resilient and radical root connections. Much to the chagrin of fastidious gardeners, rhizomatous plants are very difficult to control. They spread and grow where they want, the strength of their invisible network resisting all forces meant to subdue, quiet, or stop their powerful and prolific propagation.

This sounds a lot like our Wellesley community. We, like the bamboo, grow taller, stronger, better, only when we are connected one with the other. This connection is what makes us siblings, what makes us family.

Indeed, this is what Flower Sunday celebrates. These intricate interconnections between students and across generations knit us together as family. Flower Sunday is that moment in the year when, through a beloved, time-honored ritual, we listen together for sacred wisdom proclaimed through historic world traditions and gleaned from our own experiences. Through music, dance, poetry and student reflections, we make a collective commitment to bind ourselves one to the other, crafting a community of compassion and care that will support and encourage us no matter what comes our way. 

At the end of the evening, we each took a moment to look around, side to side, backwards, forwards, to see the fullness of the Wellesley community surrounding us and to affirm for ourselves that we indeed are Wellesley. Our task now is to cultivate that community, rooting deeper, growing taller, bound together now and always. 


Vice President Sheilah Horton with Dean Tiffany Steinwert, welcoming students to the ceremony with flowers

"Bigs" with "Littles" outside of Houghton Chapel

Students in the Multifaith Council at the ceremony
Student Feature
It is always great to hear about Wellesley College students in the press. This week I noticed in our diocesan capital campaign newsletter Wellesley College’s Chloe Kolbet was featured. Chloe is a long time member of the Multifaith Council and Protestant Chaplaincy (Sophia’s Table).

Written by Rev’d Thea Keith-Lucas, the Episcopal Chaplain of MIT:
“…I met Chloé Kolbet last year, when she helped organize a Lenten Quiet Day for Episcopal college students. Chloé’s infectious enthusiasm carried the project forward, so it came as no surprise to me that Chloé had been formed as a leader at the Barbara C. Harris Center [The Diocese of MA Camp], both as a camper and later as a member of the summer camp staff, and as a member of the diocesan Youth Leadership Academy and the Diocesan Youth Council. For Chloé, the Barbara C. Harris Camp is a sanctuary. In a week of camp or a weekend retreat, kids form lasting friendships with people from all different backgrounds and find a safe space to grow. It’s a safe place where kids who almost never get to spend time outside can play games all day in the sun, and where something as simple as making a friendship bracelet can teach an anxious kid that life is not about getting things perfect, but about putting time and care into your relationships. A member of St. Andrew’s Church in Wellesley, Chloé is continuing her Christian leadership at Wellesley College, where she takes part in Sophia’s Table, a weekly gathering supported by the Rev. Sarah Robbins-Cole, the Protestant chaplain. Last year, Chloé brought her love of diverse community to Saint Paul’s in the Walls in Rome, an international congregation where she taught English language skills to refugees…”

 We are excited to have Chloe back on campus after her year abroad in both Italy and France.
Contributed by Reverend Sarah Robbins-Cole, Protestant Chaplain, Wellesley College
Rabbi Steven Edelman-Blank

This year,  Wellesley College Office of Religious and Spiritual Life welcomes Interim Rabbi and Director of Hillel, Rabbi Steven Edelman-Blank for the 2017–2018 academic year. While Rabbi Edelman-Blank's focus is on supporting and guiding Wellesley's Jewish students as they integrate Jewish wisdom and learning into their daily lives, his ability to foster an inclusive and welcoming community will benefit the entire campus.

Rabbi Edelman-Blank is a graduate of Harvard University. He received his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He comes to Wellesley with a wide array of experience, including interning at Burbank Temple Emanu El in Burbank, Calif.; directing youth programs at Congregation Beth El in Pittsburgh; assisting with research in the field of psychology at Boston University; serving in AmeriCorps; and being involved in an array of community service activities. Most recently, he served as the rabbi of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Des Moines, Iowa, for eight years, where he was a board member of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. He was also an adjunct instructor at Drake University. Rabbi Edelman-Blank’s passions lie in community development and making Torah meaningful in people’s daily lives.
Betsy Wooster

Betsy Wooster is delighted to serve as ORSL’s 2017-18 Chaplaincy Fellow with the Protestant community and the Multifaith Council at Wellesley College. Betsy is a Master of Divinity candidate at the Boston University School of Theology, studying in the chaplaincy track, and is a member in discernment for ordination in the United Church of Christ. Prior to moving to Wellesley, Betsy served as director of spiritual formation at three congregations in Cleveland, Ohio, and earlier in her career as promotion director of the national magazine of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Betsy is a graduate of Westminster College, where her study of English literature strengthened her interest in the broader narrative of the religious and spiritual life. She believes that we become more fully human by paying close attention to the narrative of our our own lives and our lived experiences of the Divine. Her roots in the Protestant Christian tradition led to her interest in interfaith relationships and shared contemplative practices. 
Betsy is the proud mom of two grown children, and she lives in Wellesley with her husband, Matt, who is senior minister at the Wellesley Hills Congregational Church. She can often be found walking and jogging on the trails in town, or hiking/cycling anywhere in New England!
Coming Up
(Click to expand event information)
Beyond Charlotesville

High Holidays

Yavila McCoy
Newman Catholic Ministry - Fall Retreat

Buddhist Sand Mandala Ceremony

Ennegram Retreat

Hillel Family Weekend Bagel Brunch

Catholic Baptism and Confirmation Classes

Weekly Offerings Fall 2017
Copyright © 2017 Office of Religious & Spiritual Life at Wellesley College, All rights reserved.

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