2014-2015 Theme: Being Peace, Making Peace
I don't doubt that we will continue to bump into each other
as our human history unfolds. Conflicts will continue to arise
between nations, on our streets, and in our homes. But
we can take steps to move in a different direction--away
from conflict and toward peace. Only by making peace a
part of our regular dialogue can we hope to make progress.
--John Noltner, A Peace of My Mind
The 2014-2015 Program Description:
Spirituality Scholars is a 9 month long, weekly program offered by the Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice. The program invites undergraduate students to explore the connections in their lives between spirituality, vocation and identity in an interfaith group context. We will ask big questions, deep questions, and personal questions. The program is designed to offer an intentional, reflective exploration for students seeking to deepen their spiritual journey, explore diverse spiritual writers, discern their values and create innovative projects reflecting this journey.
The theme for the Fall 2014-Spring 2015 Spirituality Scholars is “Being Peace, Making Peace", inspired by local photojournalist and artist John Noltner's collection called "A Peace of My Mind." Noltner pursues questions such as "What does peace mean to people? What is required for a peaceful life? A peaceful world? How do we work toward peace in our lives? What are some of the obstacles we encounter in the pursuit of peace? After over 50 interviews with Minnesota artists, activists, spiritual leaders, teachers and community leaders, Noltner wove their words and photos into a inspiring book that we will draw from to kick-off our program in September '14. We will actually have the chance to learn with and from Noltner, as he will spend several sessions with us as our mentor over the course of the academic year. Thus, Spirituality Scholars will explore these questions personally and collectively, with each scholar developing one's own peace-project in the spring semester.
As an interfaith group of scholars we will also explore diverse spiritual practices including journal-keeping, breath meditation, centering prayer, labyrinth walking, poetry reading, yoga, bread-baking, midrash and taking a fall overnight retreat. A resurgence of interest in ancient spiritual practices plus evidence from contemporary studies in neuroscience show that daily mindful or contemplative practices can nurture an individual’s emotional, physical and mental wellbeing, as well as ground one’s life in resiliency, serenity, and the confidence to take risks for personal and social transformation. We will explore how leaders of social justice and peace movements have brought together their own spiritual practices with their work for peace in the world. Each week, we will build community together, share a light meal, talk about the readings and our journals, reflect on our "peace-practices", welcome guest speakers and over time, develop a personal "peace-project" that reflects one's own passion and identity that will make a difference in the community. So, to borrow an image from Elizabeth O’Conner, this will be a "journey inward, and a journey outward"--for peace.
The Spirituality Scholars Program exists in the Wesley Center through a generous gift from Stephen and Kathi Austin Mahle called the Mahle Endowed Fund for Progressive Christian Thought.
Learning outcomes for this program aligned with the Wesley Center and Hamline University include the following:
--spiritual/cultural self-awareness, reflection and growth
--empathy and compassion
--commitment to the common good
--working with community partners
--interfaith literacy and cooperation
There is space in the program for 10-12 scholars, who will need to commit to the entire academic year (fall and spring semesters). The application process includes an interview with the program leaders, who will discern the good fit of the program with the applicant. Scholars will each receive a stipend from the Mahle Endowment of $2000 for the year to be distributed 4 times (2X a semester). As with a job commitment, if meetings are missed repeatedly, the stipend will need to be adjusted to reflect the missing hours/weeks. Preference may be given to juniors and seniors.
Criteria for Selection:
- Commitment to exploring new connections between personal identity, spirituality and vocation.
- A sense of right fit between one's Hamline experience and where one is in one’s academic and co-curricular pathways.
- Openness to learning and making the program a priority in one's schedule.
- Openness to explorations of diverse traditions and identities.
- Evidence of leadership experience on campus and in the community.
- Good academic and judicial standing at Hamline University.
- Completed application form and résumé by the application date.
- Completed nomination form from a Hamline staff or faculty member.
- Commitment to exploring one's personal identity and vocation in an interfaith
learning community that is open, diverse and mutually respectful.
- Will read short articles or chapters in books or materials that will be provided. Weekly
journaling and short practice exercises will also be involved.
- Commit to two hours per week in the group meeting plus an average of about 6 hours outside
the group time for journaling/reading preparation, over the course of the two semesters.
- Participate in the overnight fall retreat (October-TBA) and the final project presentation
luncheon on Tuesday, May 12th, 2015, with guests invited of one’s choice.
- Collaborate with other Spirituality Scholars and the program leaders toward
developing a unique individual project that expresses the themes and
personal explorations of the program, to be presented to the group, and in a
public setting as well.
- Welcome the 2015 Mahle Lecturer in Residence to campus and host the visit of this
scholar at several events during the lecturer’s visit.
Program Leaders: The Spirituality Scholars Program will be led by Chaplain Nancy Victorin-Vangerud, Director of the Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice, in collaboration with Rabbi Esther Adler, the Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life.
Program Time: Weekly on Wednesdays, 4:10pm to 6:00pm (including light meal) beginning September 10, 2014, through the week of May 13th, 2015. (We are off for Jterm.) We will also have an overnight Fri-Sat (or Sat-Sun) retreat in mid-October (TBA).
Applications will be accepted starting now through May 9th, 2014. Fill out the questions below or via the online application form along with the requested attachments to the Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice by 4pm on May 9th, 2014. Interviews will be the following week from May 12-23rd.
Short Letter of Reference:
Please ask a Hamline faculty or staff member to write a short letter of reference that can be sent by email (or by campus mail) to Chaplain Nancy Victorin-Vangerud, email@example.com, 318 ANDC. The faculty or staff member should address why they support the student participating in the program, and what they believe the student can bring to the program.
Campus mail: The Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice, MS-A1735
US mail: The Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice, Hamline University MS-A1735, 1536 Hewitt Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55104-1284
In person: 318 Anderson Center (third floor)
The submission deadline for all application materials is 4:00 p.m., May 9th.
Interviews will take place during the weeks of May 12-23, 2014.
Acceptance emails will be sent the following week.
Contact: Chaplain Nancy Victorin-Vangerud, Director of the Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice, Ph: 651-523-2750, firstname.lastname@example.org.