2014-15 Scott Center Events

Reunion Chapel Service

Sunday, June 7, 2015

10:00 a.m.

Mead Memorial Chapel

Ecumenical Christian service led by Chaplain Laurie Jordan ‘79.  Music by the Alumni Reunion Choir, led by Emory M. Fanning, Professor Emeritus of Music and College Organist.  Be a part of the Choir!


Bible Study: Jesus in Context

Tuesdays, starting January 13, 2015

4:15-5:15 p.m.

Davis Family Library room 145

Chaplain Laurie Jordan leads a Bible study called “Jesus in Context,” with the focus on gaining a better understanding of the historical world in which Jesus lived so that we can more fully grasp the meaning of his words and actions.  By putting the Bible into the context of its time, we will also do a better job of bringing Jesus into the context of our own lives and our times.   Discussions will build upon each other, though any given lesson can stand on its own, so consider joining us even if you cannot commit to every Tuesday. 

All are welcome to join; invite your friends.


Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony

Sunday, April 12, 2015

4:00-5:30 p.m.

Twilight Auditorium

Join us for a service of commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.  The program includes screening of the 2014 Frontline film “Memory of the Camps,” (60 min.) which includes disturbing images of concentration camps immediately following liberation in 1945 and is not suitable for children.

Co-sponsored by Middlebury College Hillel, The Addison County Jewish Congregation: Havurah, The Middlebury Area Clergy Association, and the Middlebury College Chaplain’s Office.


Carol Rifelj Faculty Lecture Series

Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
4:30-6:00 p.m.
Mead Memorial Chapel

Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities Jeff Buettner with College Chaplains Laurie Jordan, Ira Schiffer, Naila Baloch and Beau Scurich will give a talk on, “One City, Three Faiths, Four Chaplains and a Choir.”


Bible Talks!

Wednesdays, 12:30-1:30 p.m. (starting Feb. 11)
Coltrane Lounge, Adirondack House

Join Assistant Professor of Dance Christal Brown for a weekly study/discussion of the Bible.  Topics include exploring and deepening faith, questions about the Bible, prayer, encouragement, and living a godly life.  Professor Brown is an avid disciple of Christ who loves studying the Bible and sharing her faith.  As an artist she has traveled the world and shares candidly about the struggles and triumphs of living a life pleasing to God.  For inquiries she can be reached by email at Christal@middlebury.edu. All are welcome.  Feel free to drop in!

Bible Talks are hosted by the Middlebury College Chaplains office and the Alpha Omega Campus Ministry of the Burlington Church of Christ. (http://www.burlingtonchurchofchrist.com)


Easter Sunrise Service

Sunday, April 5, 2015

6:00-6:30 a.m.

Alumni Stadium (Kirk Alumni Center in case of rain)

Ecumenical Christian service led by Chaplain Laurie Jordan.  All are welcome at the service, and at the post-service breakfast at the Weybridge Congregational Church (at which donations will be gratefully accepted).


Passover Seder

Friday, April 3, 2015

6:00-9:00 p.m.
Atwater Dining Hall

RSVP’s are required; please call Ellen McKay at 802-443-5626, or email emckay@middlebury.edu.

Presented by Middlebury College Hillel, The Chaplain’s Office, and
Havurah—The Jewish Community of Middlebury.


The Civil Rights Struggle 50 Years Later — In Movement and Word

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

4:30 p.m., Wilson Hall

See the full videorecording of the event here.

The 2015 Pasteur Pierre and Helene Gagnier “Acting Righteously in Times of Danger” Event.

Assistant Professor of Dance Christal Brown, along with students, faculty, and alumni, will engage us in a conversation on “What was. What is.  What should be?”  This conversation will be introduced with dance pieces choreographed by Professor Brown and with brief, personal remarks by Professors Lary Yarbrough, Bill Hart, and J Finley, among others.

Seating is limited.  Please come early!

The program follows a weeklong Alternative Spring Break trip to Montgomery, Alabama, marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma-Montgomery march.

This program and trip were made possible by generous gifts from Cookie Tager ‘66 MA French, Les Blau ‘69, Charlie and Marie Kireker, the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, the Department of Religion, and Middlebury College.


Alternative Spring Break Trip to Montgomery, Alabama

Join students, faculty, and staff for an Alternative Spring Break trip to Montgomery, Alabama, March 21-29, 2015.

Click here to learn more.


Heaven Touching Earth: Music and Meals Create Community

Friday and Saturday, March 6-7, 2015
Axinn 229

The Scott Center presents a series of workshops, conversations, and worship services about Christian Community in the 21st century.
This event brings together two innovative Christian organizations:  Music That Makes Community is a network of musicians and clergy focused on developing and renewing oral practices of singing together, and is grounded in a theology of welcome and generosity; and St. Lydia’s Dinner Church, an emergent church in Brooklyn, NY.  They gather every Sunday and Monday night to cook and share a sacred meal. The congregation looks for an experience of the Holy that is strong enough to lean on, deep enough to question, and challenging enough to change us.
The worship format that our leaders will present — both deeply ancient yet refreshingly new — is intended to complement other musical and liturgical genres rather than replace the prayer and praise that congregations already love and enjoy.

Our leaders throughout the weekend will be Charlotte Moroz and Zachary Walter, from St. Lydia’s, an emergent church in Brooklyn, NY.  

This series is grounded in the Christian tradition, but anyone interested in the practices of hospitality and singing are more than welcome to join in, for all or just portions of the series.

For more information contact Chaplain Laurie Jordan at ljordan@middlebury.edu.  

Sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life with generous co-sponsorship from the Vermont District of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Friday, March 6
3:00 -5:00 PM
Afternoon Prayer will be the opening worship service for a series of workshops, conversations, and opportunities for reflection about Christian Community in the 21st century.  
Saturday, March 7
9:00 – 10:00 AM  Registration and introductions while sharing breakfast

10:00-11:00 AM  The Gestures of Hospitality.  A practical workshop on how we physicalize welcoming and listening in worship and in our communities. We’ll explore gestures effective in song-leading and explore the various ways gesture, posture and stance invite and welcome. A fun and practical exploration!  
11:00 – 12:15 PM Paperless Music 101. How we lead and sing music together with paperless music.  This workshop highlights the age-old human tradition of singing together by ear and how paperless music can enrich our services and gatherings. We’ll sing together and share leadership of paperless song!  
12:30 PM Lunch in Axinn 220

1:30-4:00 PM   Nuts and Bolts: How do we Bring Listening Home?  An envisioning workshop, inviting participants to make practical plans to bring welcoming, listening and paperless music into our future services and gatherings.  
4:00-5:00 PM   Making our own Music: An Exploration of Musical Improvisation. A fun and elevating workshop for musicians and non-musicians alike!

5:00-5:30 PM  Contemplative Evening Service of Worship

Emerging Leaders Retreat

Feb. 28-March 1, 2015
Bishop Booth Conference Center, Burlington
Emerging leaders of student spiritual and religious life organizations will travel to beautiful Rock Point for an overnight retreat. Chaplain Laurie Jordan and Associate Chaplain Ira Schiffer will facilitate conversations centered around leadership development, multi-faith programming, and best practices.
Lodging is dorm style; all meals and transportation will be provided.
Please RSVP by Feb. 20 to Ellen McKay, emckay@middlebury.edu.  Please let us know if you prefer vegetarian meals.


The Reluctant Activist

Lecture by The Rev. Wayne Meisel

Monday, Feb. 23, 2015

4:30-6:00 p.m.

Robert A. Jones House Conference Room

Reverend Wayne Meisel, the Director of the Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, will speak on Feb. 23 at the Robert A Jones House Conference Room.  Titled “The Reluctant Activist,” this talk will touch on Wayne’s lifetime of service, and his work to help shape the national AmeriCorps program. He will discusss his role in launching the modern civic engagement movement and as founder and director of Project COOL (Campus Outreach Opportunity League), one of the first organizations to recognize the need for campus and community to encourage and become actively involved in student activism and engagement.   Co-sponsored by the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Community Engagement, the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, and JusTalks.

February 24 Career Conversation: “How to Be an Activist: Linking Service, Faith, and Self”

Meisel will take part in a Career Conversation on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 12:15 p.m. at the Center for Careers and Internships Library at Adirondack House.    Stop by any time to chat informally with Rev. Meisel, talk about his career path how he got to where he is today, and what ideas you have to work in this field. Bring your questions!  Lunch will be served.


Ash Wednesday Service

February 18, 2015
5:15-6:00 p.m.
Mead Memorial Chapel

Chaplain Laurie Jordan will lead an ecumenical Christian service, holy communion, and imposition of ashes.


Film Screening:  “Freedom Summer” 

Monday, Jan. 19, 2015

4:30 p.m.

Axinn 232

During the summer of 1964, the nation’s eyes were riveted on Mississippi. Over 10 memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined with organizers and local African Americans in an historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in the nation’s most segregated state. Working together, they canvassed for voter registration, created Freedom Schools, and established the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, with the goal of challenging the segregationist state Democratic Party at the national convention in Atlantic City. The campaign was marked by sustained and deadly violence, including the notorious murders of three civil rights workers, countless beatings, the burning of 35 churches, and the bombing of 70 homes and Freedom Houses.  Produced by PBS, 2014, 55 minutes.

Sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, which will lead an alternative spring break trip to Montgomery, Alabama, this spring to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma-Montgomery civil rights march.

To learn more about the film, click here.


Community Supper, hosted by the Middlebury College Religious Life Council

Friday, January 16, 2015

Middlebury Congregational Church

An annual tradition — student members of the religious life groups on campus make dinner for anyone who would like a hot meal.  Sponsored by the Middlebury Community Care Coalition.

Please contact Ellen McKay, emckay@middlebury.edu, if you’d like to lend a hand!


Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mead Memorial Chapel

Lessons & Carols for Advent and Christmas, an annual traditional program combining choral music, congregational singing and the biblical texts of the season, takes place on Sunday, Dec. 7, in Middlebury College’s Mead Memorial Chapel.  Chaplain Laurel Macaulay Jordan ‘79 will officiate at this celebratory community service.  George Matthew Jr. will ring in the service with selections on the chapel carillon; Emory Fanning, professor emeritus of music, will play the organ, and the Middlebury College Choir, directed by Jeff Buettner, will perform.

There will be two services, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Both are free and open to the public.  Donations collected for local charities.


The Tower of Babel and The Ivory Tower: Reflections on Reaching for the Heavens

Monday, November 17, 2014
7:30 p.m.
Dana Auditorium 

Click here to see the entire lecture.

Environmentalist and best-selling author Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College.  In this lecture, he will look at the story of the tower of Babel from Genesis 11, and the issues the text raises for the modern college: are there limits to what we should discover, and what are some of the early ideas about what we now call multiculturalism? The Babel story—at the very end of the so-called ‘primordial Bible’—is full of intriguing hints about how all humans might approach these key questions.

Bill McKibben is an author, whose books include The End of Nature, about climate change, and The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation, which is about the book of Job. He’s a regular columnist for the religious magazine Sojourners, and his work has also appeared frequently in The Christian Century, as well as Christianity Today and Books and Culture. Later in November he’ll give a plenary address at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in San Diego, and in January he will teach a winter-term course on “Stories from the Bible.”

Sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, with generous support by Cook Commons.


(Re)Framing Faith: How LGBTQ Students of Color and Faith Make Meaning of Their Multiple Identities

Lecture by Chris Woods

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

7:00 p.m., Robert A. Jones Conference Room

There are very few, if any, spaces for LGBTQ college students of color and faith to integrate their identities in ways that are affirming and validating.  Therefore, students are challenged to make meaning of their identities in unique ways in order to make space for all of these complicated intersections of identities.  Join our guest speaker, Chris Woods, as he shares personal narratives and some of the findings of his research on how LGBTQ students of color and faith (re)frame their identities.

Chris Woods is Program Administrator at the NYU LGBTQ Student Center. Chris serves as the Anti-Racism Chair for the Board of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College, Chellis House and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies, The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, and Queers & Allies.

Free and open to the public.


Hike at Spirit in Nature Interfaith Paths, Ripton

Saturday, November 8, 2014

11:00-2:00 p.m.

An opportunity for students of various faith backgrounds (or none) to enjoy the beauty of the November woods in Ripton.  Spirit in Nature is a place of interconnecting paths where people of diverse spiritual traditions may walk, worship, meet, meditate, and promote education and action toward better stewardship of this sacred Earth.  Bring a bag lunch.  Contact Casey Watters ‘15 crwatters@middlebury.edu to sign up.


“In Conversation”

Religious Prejudices — Yours and Mine

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
12:15-1:15 p.m., Abernethy Reading Room, Axinn Center

Lunch will be served.

The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life sponsors this series of informal conversations about questions that matter in our lives.


Middlebury College Theatre Presents 1920s Jewish Comedy “Mendel, Inc.”

October 30-Nov. 1, 2014

Wright Memorial Theater

All shows 7:30 p.m.

The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will present David Freedman’s play “Mendel, Inc.” on October 30–November 1 at Wright Memorial Theater. A heartwarming comedy set in NYC in the 1920s, this play follows the aspirations and travails of a Jewish family seeking a toehold in the American dream. This production honors the 60th anniversary of Hillel at Middlebury.

Tickets are $12 for the general public; $10 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students.

Audience members who wish to learn more may attend the Behind-the-Scenes Lunch and Discussion on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, at 12:30 P.M. at Wright Memorial Theater. The cast, crew, and design team will explore the themes and challenges in the upcoming production. This event is free to Middlebury College ID cardholders; a $5 donation is suggested for community members.

This production is being produced to celebrate Hillel’s 60th anniversary and is supported by the Department of Theatre, The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, Hillel, and the Committee on the Arts.


Fall Family Weekend Events Sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office

Hillel Shabbat Services
Friday, October 24, 2014
5:30 p.m.
Jewish Center at Freeman International Center

Fall Family Weekend Chapel Service
Sunday, October 26, 2014
10:00 a.m.
Mead Memorial Chapel
Ecumenical Christian worship service led by Chaplain Laurel Macaulay Jordan ‘79. Our guest preacher will be The Rev. William Harper P’15, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Fall Family Weekend Hillel Bagel Brunch
Sunday, October 26, 2014
11:00 a.m.
Jewish Center at Freeman International Center

Muslim Fall Family Weekend Light Brunch
11:00 a.m.
Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life Living Room, 135 So. Main St.
Please RSVP to Muslim Advisor Naila Baloch, nbaloch@middlebury.edu, if you plan on attending.


Politicizing the Wives of Abraham

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
4:30 p.m.

Abernethy Reading Room, Axinn Center

Professor Carol Bakhos explores the roles Sarah and Hagar play as matriarchs in the founding family of Abraham and considers contemporary readings of their story. Modern readers are moved by the desire for the children of Sarah and Hagar—Arabs and Jews, Israeli Jews and Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims—to live in peaceful co-existence. Bakhos will argue that reading the Genesis story in order to illumine political and social issues often ignores or distorts the narrative’s framework.

Carol Bakhos is Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA. She is the Chair of the Study of Religion program and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion. Her research interests include rabbinic literature, late antique Judaism and comparative Jewish, Christian and Muslim scriptural interpretation. In addition to many scholarly articles, she is the author of Ishmael on the Border: Rabbinic Portrayals of the First Arab, and editor of several books including Judaism in its Hellenistic Context, Current Trends in the Study of Midrash and the co-edited work, The Talmud in its Iranian Context.  Her most recent publication, The Family of Abraham: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Interpretations (Harvard University Press) came out this summer. Professor Bakhos currently serves on the Executive Board of the Association for Jewish Studies.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Religion, Ross Commons, The Department of English and American Literatures, the Jewish Studies Program, and the Middle Eastern Studies Program.


“In Conversation”

Hook-Up Culture, Dating and Relationships: Can Religion and Spirituality Contribute to the Conversation?”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

12:15-1:15 p.m., Abernethy Reading Room, Axinn Center

Lunch will be served.

The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life sponsors this series of informal conversations about questions that matter in our lives.


Addison County CROP Hunger Walk

Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014
Middlebury Town Green
Registration begins at noon
Walk begins at 1:00 p.m.

Update:  as of Nov. 25, our total amount raised is $26,818.42.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty.

Join hundreds of Addison County residents in a fun 2-mile walk to raise money for seven local food shelves and for hunger and sustainability projects around the world.

Call Patty Hallam at for a walker packet, or click here to go straight to our page online to start raising money by emailing your friends and family.

Last year, our little Addison County walk raised over $27,000 and was the highest-grossing CROP Hunger Walk in all of Vermont.  And #8 out of the 84 walks in all of New England! 

The money we raise goes to Church World Service disaster relief, education, and agricultural sustainability projects around the world, and also benefits seven Addison County food shelves:  The John Graham Shelter in Vergennes, H.O.P.E. (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects),
Middlebury Summer Lunch Program, The Have-A-Heart Food Shelf in Bristol, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, The Vergennes Community Food Shelf, and the Middlebury Transitional Care Coalition (Middlebury Community Suppers).


“May I Please Have this Dance?”

Lecture and Dance Lesson with Pierre Dulaine

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

7:00 p.m., Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Four-time world champion ballroom dancer and founder of the American Ballroom Theater’s Dancing Classrooms program, Pierre Dulaine has gone from public schools in New York City to his hometown of Jaffa, Israel bringing reluctant public school students together through sharing the gift of ballroom dance. His work has inspired major films such as Mad Hot Ballroom (2004), Take the Lead (2006), starring Antonio Banderas, and more recently Dancing in Jaffa (2014). On his visit to Middlebury, Pierre will discuss his life experiences and how he has been able to use ballroom dance as a tool for peace making and social change.

His lecture will take place on Wednesday, October 1st at 7 PM at the Mahaney Center for the Arts’ Concert Hall and will be followed by a dance lesson, capped at 40 participants, in the MCA 109 Dance Rehearsal Space. To secure your spot in the class, please contact Zeke Caceres, ecaceres@middlebury.edu.

This event was made possible by the sponsorship of the Rohaytn Center for Global Affairs, Arabic, Hebrew and Middle East Studies Department, Charles P Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, Project on Creativity and Innovation, the Center for Social Entrepreunership, MiddCORE, Atwater, Brainerd, Ross and Wonnacott Commons.


Religious Opinion and the Common Good:  An Editor’s Reflections

Friday, Sept. 26, 2014
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Abernethy Reading Room, Axinn Center

Paul Baumann, editor at Commonweal Magazine, speaks about writing about religion in public life.  Increasingly, Americans who self-identify as religious and Americans who eschew religion find themselves on the opposite sides of political and moral questions. Yet since the nation’s conception, religious values and institutions have provided an indispensable foundation for our democratic faith and hopes. If confidence in our democracy is to be restored and the nation’s fraying social contract mended, the moral and intellectual resources of traditional religious communities will be needed. That is why religious commentary and opinion, which can be found in a rich variety of publications, continue to play a vital role in shaping the larger political and cultural conversation.       

Paul Baumann was appointed editor of Commonweal magazine in 2003. He was educated at Wesleyan University and Yale Divinity School. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Monthly, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and other publications. Before coming to Commonweal, he worked as a newspaper editorial writer and reporter. With Patrick Jordan, he is the editor of Commonweal Confronts the Century: Liberal Convictions, Catholic Tradition - Celebrating Seventy-Five Years from the Pages of Commonweal (Touchstone).

Panel discussion on careers in editing and publishing to follow lecture, with Paul Baumann. Dorothy Resig Willette ‘04 (Managing Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review and alumna of the religion department), and Jane Garrett (former Senior Editor for Knopf Publishing)

Refreshments will be served.


In Conversation:

Spiritual Journeys — Stories from Students and Chaplains

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Mitchell Green Lounge

Lunch will be served.

The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life sponsors this series of informal conversations about questions that matter in our lives. 


High Holidays 5775 Services Schedule
September/October 2014

Wednesday, Sept. 24
7:00 p.m.    Evening Services at Mead Chapel.  Babysitting space in Forest East Lounge*
Following services:  “Apples and Honey” Reception Forest East Lounge

Thursday, Sept. 25
9:30 a.m.    Shacharit – Morning Services at Mead Chapel.  Babysitting space in Forest East Lounge*   
5:00 p.m.   Tashlich Service at Otter Creek Footbridge, Marble Works

Friday, Sept. 26
9:30 a.m.    Shacharit – Morning services and babysitting space at Havurah House, 56 N. Pleasant St., across from the Swift House Inn

Friday, Oct. 3
6:30 p.m.    Kol Nidre at Mead Chapel.  Babysitting space in Forest East Lounge*
Saturday, Oct. 4
9:30 a.m.    Shacharit – Morning Services at Mead Chapel. Babysitting space in Forest East Lounge*
11:15 a.m.  Yizkor – Memorial Service at Mead Chapel
5:00 p.m.    Minchah – Afternoon Services and Ne’ilah – Concluding Services at Mead Chapel
7:00 p.m.    Shofar Blowing and Havdalah at Mead Chapel

Break-the-Fast to follow at Atwater Dining Hall; reservations required. Contact Ellen McKay at emckay@middlebury.edu.

For more information, please contact Rabbi Ira Schiffer, ischiffe@middlebury.edu

*Babysitting space is provided, but Havurah does not provide babysitters.

Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life
46 South Street
Middlebury, VT 05753