2016-17 Scott Center Events

Reunion Weekend Events

June 9-11, 2017

Friday, June 9
5:30 pm
Hillel Shabbat Service
Jewish Center at Freeman International Center

Saturday, June 10
2:00-3:00 pm
Chaplain’s Panel: Snapshot of Spiritual and Religious Life on Campus
Axinn Center room 220
Join staff from the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life in a panel discussion about the diversity of religious attitudes and practices on campus in the 21st century.  Hear about the Scott Center’s alternative spring break trip to Washington, DC.

Sunday, June 11
10:00 am
Reunion Chapel Service
Mead Memorial Chapel
Ecumenical Christian service led by Chaplain Laurie Jordan ‘79. Music by the Alumni Reunion Choir.

10:30 am
Islam in America and On Campus: Conversation with the Muslim Chaplains
Franklin Environmental Center, The Orchard (Hillcrest 103)

10:30 am
Hillel Coffee and Danish
Jewish Center at Freeman International Center

Holi Festival of Colors

Sunday, May 13, 2017
11:00 am
Battell Beach

Join members of Middlebury’s South Asian Student Association for a joyous “color run” to celebrate Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors.  This is a super-messy, super-fun event (think water guns and clouds of powdered color), so be ready to be drenched in color from head to toe!


Interfaith Dinner

Saturday, May 13, 5:00 pm
RSVP required

A celebratory end of the year dinner at American Flatbread in the Marbleworks.  Hosted by the Muslim Students Association, the Newman Catholic Club, and Hillel.

Space is limited.  Sign up here. 

Funded by the Religious Life Cluster Board Flex Fund.


Workshop on Kingian Nonviolence Training with Pam Smith

Monday, May 1, 2017
7:30 pm
Anderson Freeman Center

Join us for an introduction to the principles of Kingian nonviolence led by Pam Smith, public historian and the director of the Addie Wyatt Center for Nonviolence Training in Chicago.

She is co-editor of The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism in the North.

Ms. Smith served as a senior press aide to Jesse Jackson in his 1988 presidential campaign, and to Barack Obama in his primary campaign for the US Senate.

Presented by The Academic Enrichment Fund and The Center for Teaching, Learning & Research’s Pedagogy Enrichment Fund, with generous support by The Anderson Freeman Center and the Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life.


Welcoming the Stranger, with Paula Huston

Thursday, April 27, 2017
4:30 pm
Robert A. Jones Conference Room

Paula Huston  is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and the author of two novels and seven works of spiritual nonfiction. Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines. A former writing and literature teacher in the California State University system, she currently mentors graduate students in creative nonfiction for the Seattle Pacific University MFA program. A wife, mother, and grandmother, she is an oblate, or vowed lay member, of a Camaldolese Benedictine monastic community in Big Sur, California.

The talk is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Co-sponsored by Cook Commons and The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.


Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony

Sunday, April 23, 2017
4:30 pm
Mead Chapel

Join us for a service of commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.


  • The Middlebury College Choir, directed by Jeff Buettner
  • Local physician and author Jack Mayer, speaking on his new book Before the Court of Heaven, on the history of Weimar and the rise of the Third Reich.
  • Two Middlebury College students who are grandchildren of Holocaust survivors sharing a bit of their family histories.

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


Film Screening — Peaceful Opposites: African Religion and Catholicism in Cuba

Monday, April 17, 2017
4:30 pm
Axinn 232

Join us for a screening of a short documentary film by Pele ‘19 and Sena ‘17 Voncujovi. Created during a trip to Cuba in the spring of 2016, this 16-minute film tells the story of the survival of African religion on the island and how it coexists peacefully alongside Western religious practices. Q&A with the filmmakers to follow.


Easter Sunrise Service

Sunday, April 16
6:00 am
Alumni Stadium (Kirk Alumni Center in case of bad weather)

All are welcome at the service, and at the post-service breakfast at the Weybridge Congregational Church (at which donations will be gratefully accepted).

Sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, and the Middlebury Area Clergy Association.


2017 Veritas Forum

Thursday, April 13, 2017
4:30 pm
Hillcrest 103

“Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?” with Prof. Lindsay Whaley, Professor of Linguistics and Classics, Dartmouth College.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Religion, Ross Commons, The Scott Center, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and Newman Club.


Passover Seder

Monday, April 10, 2017
6:00 p.m.
Atwater Dining Hall

RSVP’s are required; please contact Ellen McKay at emckay@middlebury.edu

Our Passover Seder is generously supported by an endowment from Catherine and Henri Talerman P’16 in honor of Rabbi Ira Schiffer.

Sponsored by Middlebury College Hillel and The Chaplain’s Office. 


Creating and Implementing Social Policy in a New Political Environment

Wednesday, April 5, 2016
4:30-6:00 PM
Wilson Hall (McCullough)

Seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.
Please come early!

How is social policy shaped and implemented at the national level?  How do we address the divide across progressive and conservative views on the issues of our time?  

Learn from students who have just spent a week in Washington, DC engaging these questions.

The 2017 Pasteur Pierre and Helene Gagnier “Acting Righteously in Times of Danger” event.

This trip and program were made possible by generous gifts from:
Cookie Tager ‘66  (LS), Les Blau ‘69, Charlie & Marie Kireker, The Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life, and Middlebury College.


2017 Scott Center Alternative Spring Break Trip:

Creating and Implementing Social Policy in a New Political Environment

Following The Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life’s very successful alternative spring break trips to Montgomery, Alabama (marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March), and a service/learning trip to Chicago (exploring themes of racial and social justice), this year’s trip will be to Washington, DC, to focus on how social policy is shaped and implemented at the national level.

We’ll leave campus on Saturday, March 25 and return on Saturday, April 1.  

Read blog entries from the trip here.

On Wednesday, April 5, students who travel to DC will participate in a public program focusing on the trip in Wilson Hall at 4:30 pm, the 2017 Pasteur Pierre and Helene Gagnier “Acting Righteously in Times of Danger” event. (See calendar listing above.)

This trip and program were made possible by generous gifts from:
Cookie Tager ‘66  (LS), Les Blau ‘69, Charlie & Marie Kireker, The Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life and Middlebury College.


Lightly Guided Meditation with Prof. Rebecca Kneale Gould

Thursday, March 9, 10:10-10:50 am, McCullough Reflection Room
Monday, March 13, 4:30-5:20 pm, Scott Center Living Room

This contemplative time will be a “lightly guided” opportunity for silence, as well as some sharing from the heart.  This time is not so much for “discussion” as it is a space and time for quiet and stillness, a time to get more fully grounded and to experience the compassionate support of others who are choosing to do the same.  While contemplative silence will be our foundation,  there certainly will room to speak from the heart and to be heard.   Our approach will model “Quaker” style, where someone who feels called to share is listened to, honored and held in community. 

If you are not sure whether this is “for you,” but feel drawn to this kind of quiet community time, simply show up and we will craft something that feels right for those who have gathered.

Use this google form to sign up for a session.


Satya Circles at the Scott Center

March 9-13, 2017
various times; sign up here

What are your truths that you need to tell?

We come to a place of better knowing ourselves and this community when we tell our truths, deeply hear the truths of others, sit still and contemplate what is real for us beneath all the noise.

Satya is Sanskrit for “truthfulness.”  It is an ethical principle for a well-lived and joyful life, and is the second of five Yamas in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

In light of recent events on campus, the dean and chaplains of the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life invite all members of the Middlebury College community to come tell their truths in the company of others, and to hear the truths of others.

Gatherings will be hosted by pairs of skilled facilitators and will take place in the Scott Center Living Room, 135 So. Main St. (next door to Admissions).  All participation is voluntary.

We look forward to seeing you!

Mark Orten
Laurie Jordan
Ira Schiffer
Naila Baloch
Beau Scurich

Use this google form to sign up for any of the scheduled sessions.


Can We Talk?

Thursday, March 9, 2017
7:00-8:00 pm
Munroe 4th Floor Lounge

Co-sponsored by the Middlebury Congregational Church, the Scott Center, and the Religion Department, this is an opportunity to chat about some of the feelings and meanings of the Charles Murray visit.  There will be doughnuts, which make everything nicer.  Led by Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson and Lizzie Apple ‘18.  Please contact Lizzie with questions, eapple@middlebury.edu.


Ash Wednesday Service

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
5:15-6:00 pm
Mead Chapel

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


Emerging Leaders Retreat

Saturday and Sunday, February 25-26, 2017

Emerging leaders of student spiritual and religious life organizations will travel to beautiful Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George for an overnight retreat. Scott Center staff will facilitate conversations centered around leadership development, multi-faith programming, and best practices.  We’ll get to know one another over shared meals, shoreline exploration, and conversations about our traditions.
Lodging is dorm style; all meals and transportation will be provided.
Please RSVP by January 23 to Ellen McKay, emckay@middlebury.edu.  Please let us know if you prefer vegetarian meals.


Bookgroup: The Happiness Hypothesis

Wednesdays, Jan. 18-Feb. 22, 2017 (no meeting Feb. 8)
4:30-5:30 pm
Scott Center living room, 135 So. Main St.

Jonathan Haidt’s book The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom is the meat into which we will sink our teeth over the course of J-term.  Laurie Jordan will facilitate discussion.  Please let her know (ljordan@middlebury.edu) if you’d like a copy of the book at a reduced rate of $5 per copy. Presented with funding from the Wellness Committee.


Religious Life Council Hosts the Middlebury Community Supper

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lend a hand serving Martin Luther King’s “beloved community.”  The Religious Life Council (RLC) is a group of students active in our various campus religious organizations.  Every year we commit to cooking and serving a full, from-scratch dinner for as many as 250 of our Addison County neighbors at the Middlebury Transitional Care Coalition’s Community Suppers program at the Middlebury Congregational Church.  This year, we re-commit ourselves to service during the Trump administration.

Please click here to sign up for shifts any time between 2:00 and 7:00 on Friday, Jan. 20.  We need cooks, servers, and dishwashers.  Questions?  Contact lead organizer Ellen McKay, emckay@middlebury.edu.


Faith, Justice and Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community: A Multifaith Service of Prayers, Readings and Song

Sunday, January 15, 2017
7:00 pm
Mead Memorial Chapel

A multi-faith service of prayer, readings, and song honoring the vision and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. All are welcome.


First Fire Party

Monday, December 12, 2016
4:00-5:30 pm
Scott Center living room (next door to Admissions)

You are invited to a First Fire party in honor of the upcoming solstice and to rejuvenate before finals with warmth and snacks!

Homemade hot chocolate and chai, s’mores, and a blazing fire in our fireplace.

Take a break from studying and join us!  Come when you can, and leave whenever you need to.


Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas

Sunday, December 11, 2016
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. 11, 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; and the Middlebury College Choir 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.


Sufi Healing Circle

Tuesdays, December 6 and 13, 2016
5:00-5:45 pm
Anderson Freeman Resource Center Sanctuary Room, Carr Hall

Join Naila Baloch, Associate Chaplain and Muslim Advisor, for traditional chants for healing of self, relationships, community, and the world.  All are welcome, no experience is necessary. 


Poet Billy Collins Returns to Middlebury

Thursday, December 8, 2016
4:30 pm, Mead Chapel

Former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins is the author of 13 volumes of poetry, including his new collection, “The Rain in Portugal,” due out in October. Included among the many honors he has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Collins is admired for poems that are by turns humorous, poignant, provocative, and uplifting, and his reading to a packed Mead Chapel in 2006 remains immensely memorable for those who were present that day. After his reading, Mr. Collins will take questions from the audience and will sign copies of his books.

Free. All are welcome. *Please note: No late seating for this performance.

Sponsored by: Offices of the President, Provost, and Vice President for Student Affairs; The Academic Enrichment Fund; Atwater, Brainerd, Cook, Ross, and Wonnacott Commons; Department of English and American Literatures; the Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life; and the Creative Writing Program.


Slow Tea Tasting with Stone Leaf Teahouse

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Crossroads Cafe, McCullough Student Center

Join local tea experts to taste teas from around the world.  Stay for 5 minutes and grab some ready-to-go chai, or pull up a chair and stay awhile for slow preparation, appreciation, and conversation.  Free samples to take home.  
Co-sponsored by Health and Wellness Education and the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.


Community Gathering of Love and Hope

Saturday, December 3, 2016
12:30 pm, gather at Mead Chapel to walk together to the Town Green

In response to recent local and national events, the Middlebury Area Clergy Association will facilitate a gathering to express love and hope for our community.

  • 12:30 pm gather at houses of worship (including Mead Chapel) in the Middlebury area and prepare to walk to the Middlebury Green
  • Processions converge on the Middlebury Green by 1pm
  • Bring non perishable food, winter clothing items or cash donations to be collected on the Green (These donations will be presented to local organization HOPE)
  • Post It Wall—write messages of hope and love that will then create a rotating display around Middlebury
  • Brief remarks and music
  • Join hands in concentric circles and dance to celebrate our strong, united community

Let us come together and engage in positive actions of love and hope to uplift our community and stand together in solidarity.

This event is open to the public.  We encourage participation regardless of religious affiliation.  Feel free to arrive at the Green without coming from a house of worship.


Inaugural Address by Mark R. Orten

Thursday, November 17, 2016
4:30 pm
Robert A. Jones Conference Room, Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs

The Dean of the College cordially invites you to an inaugural address and reception for Mark R. Orten, new Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life and Director of the Scott Center at Middlebury College.
Please RSVP to Ellen McKay by Monday, Nov. 7, emckay@middlebury.edu


Sexuality, Gender, and the Muslim Body

Lecture by Katherine Ewing
Thursday, November 3, 2016
12:15 pm, Axinn 229

Katherine Pratt Ewing, Professor in the Department of Religion and the South Asia Institute, is also Coordinator of the Master of Arts Program at SAI and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Sexuality. Until 2010, she was Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Religion at Duke University, where she served as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Consortium for South Asian Studies. In 2010-2011 she was Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison before moving to Columbia’s Religion Department in 2011. Her research ranges from debates among Muslims about the proper practice of Islam in the modern world to sexualities, gender, and the body in South Asia. She has done ethnographic fieldwork in Pakistan, Turkey, and India, and among Muslims in Germany, The Netherlands, and the United States.

Sponsored by the Academic Enrichment Fund; Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies Program; Middle East Studies Program; Religion Department; Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs; Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, Sociology and Anthropology Department.


Green Hip-Hop: Prophetic Voices of Survival and Resistance

Lecture by Sarah McFarland Taylor
Friday, October 21, 2016
3:00 pm, Robert A. Jones Conference Room

In this multimedia digital sound/video presentation, Northwestern University Professor Sarah McFarland Taylor explores the spiritual and prophetic “road maps” being created by contemporary “green hip hop” artist/activists. These artists challenge many of the standard images associated with the environmental movement.  Rather than images of redwoods, endangered species, rainforests, national parks, and majestic retreats for wilderness lovers, sportsmen, and hikers, green hip hop artists use the tools of “eco-rap” to reframe the aesthetics and moral focus of American environmentalism to center on asthma, cancer, toxics, and “food deserts” in minority neighborhoods. 

Professor Sarah McFarland Taylor teaches in the Religious Studies Department, the Environmental Policy and Culture Program, and in the American Studies Program at Northwestern University.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology (Harvard University Press, 2008) and is the former Director of the Environmental Task Force for the American Academy of Religion.  This talk is drawn from her forthcoming book, Restorying the Earth: Media, Environment, and Moral Engagement (forthcoming from New York University Press).

Sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, the Religion Department, The Newman Club, Gather – A Community for Progressive Christians and Friends, The Franklin Environmental Center, and the Anderson Freeman Resource Center. 


Fall Family Weekend Events Sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office

Islamic Jummah Prayer Service
Friday, October 7, 2016
1:00 p.m.
Islamic Prayer Space, Forest Hall, Lower Level

Hillel Shabbat Services
Friday, October 7, 2016
5:30 p.m.
Jewish Center at Freeman International Center

Fall Family Weekend Chapel Service
Sunday, October 9, 2016
10:00 a.m.
Mead Memorial Chapel
Ecumenical Christian worship service led by Chaplain Laurel Macaulay Jordan ‘79.

Fall Family Weekend Hillel Bagel Brunch
Sunday, October 9, 2016
11:00 a.m.
Jewish Center at Freeman International Center

Muslim Fall Family Weekend Light Brunch
Sunday, October 9, 2016 11:00 a.m.
Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life Living Room, 135 So. Main St.
Please RSVP to Muslim Advisor Beau Scurich, bscurich@middlebury.edu, if you plan on attending.


High Holidays 5777 Schedule

October 2016

Sunday, October 2
7:00 p.m.    Evening Service at Mead Chapel
      Babysitting space in Hepburn Lounge*
Following services:  “Apples and Honey” Reception Forest East Lounge

Monday, October 3
9:30 a.m.    Shacharit – Morning services at Mead Chapel
       Babysitting space in Hepburn Lounge*
5:00 p.m.   Tashlich Service at Otter Creek Footbridge, Marble Works side

Tuesday, October 4
9:30 a.m.    Shacharit – Morning Services and babysitting space at Havurah House*

Tuesday, October 11
6:30 p.m.    Kol Nidre at Mead Chapel
      Babysitting space in Hepburn Lounge*

Wednesday, October 12
9:30 a.m.    Shacharit – Morning Service at Mead Chapel
                    Babysitting space in Hepburn Lounge*
11:15 a.m.  Yizkor – Memorial Service at Mead Chapel
5:00 p.m.    Minchah – Afternoon Service and Ne’ilah – Concluding Services at Mead Chapel
7:00 p.m.    Shofar Blowing and Havdalah at Mead Chapel
       Break-the-Fast to follow. Reservations required.  Please contact Ellen McKay, emckay@middlebury.edu

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


39th Annual Addison County CROP Hunger Walk

Sunday, October 2, 2016
Registration begins at noon; walk begins at 1:00 p.m.
Middlebury Town Green

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 388-1561 for a walker packet, or click here to go straight to our page online to start raising money by emailing your friends and family, or sharing via social media.

Last year, our little Addison County walk raised almost $23,000 and was the highest-grossing CROP Hunger Walk in all of Vermont.  And in the top 10 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 The Charter House Coalition (Middlebury Community Suppers).

As of Nov. 7, our total raised so far is $25,688!


Breakbeat Poets of Chicago

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

  • 4:30 pm Workshop in the Abernethy Room, Axinn Center
  • 7:30 pm Performance in the Abernethy Room

Editors from The BreakBeat Poets of Chicago facilitate a 4:30 workshop and a short 7:30 open mic, featuring participants from the afternoon workshop and members of the local poetry and hip hop community. The editors then perform an interactive reading from The BreakBeat Poets, discussing the anthology’s genesis, impact, and the role of BreakBeat poetics in contemporary literature.

Sponsored by the Theater Department, Black Student Union, Oratory Now, Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, and Department of English.


2016 Clifford Symposium

Fully Present: The Art and Science of Mindful Engagement

September 22-24, 2016

The Scott Center co-sponsors this three-day exploration of the many ways mindfulness practices can — and do — touch our community.

See the complete schedule of events here.


Sandy Tolan: Children of the Stone — The Power of Music in a Hard Land

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reading by Sandy Tolan: 12:15 pm, Robison Concert Hall
Concert by Dal’Ouna Ensemble at 7:30 pm, Robison Concert Hall

Award-winning author and journalist Sandy Tolan will be reading from his book Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land. Children of the Stone tells the dramatic story of Ramzi Aburedwan’s life growing up in an occupied Palestinian refugee camp and his transformation to a talented musician. Tolan is touring with Ramzi Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal’Ouna Ensemble (see concert at 7:30 PM.) A light lunch is available after the event. Sponsored by Arabic Program, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Writing Program, Middle East Studies, Department of Music, Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, and the Department of French. Free.


Eid Al Adha Celebrations

Please join the Muslim Student Association for Eid-Al Adha Celebrations.

Monday, Sept. 12, 2016:  Eid Prayers and Eid Sweets Night at the MSA Room, Lower Level Forest Hall

    Gather at 7:15 am for Takbiraat, prayers at 7:30 am
    Eid Sweets Night 7:30-9:30 pm

Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, 6:00-7:30 pm:  Eid Atwater Dinner.
    RSVP’s required.  Contact Naila Baloch for more information, nbaloch@middlebury.edu

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