Three students prepare dessert for Middlebury Community Supper.
Three students prepare dessert for Middlebury Community Supper hosted by the College’s Religious Life Council.

The Scott Center sponsors and hosts numerous ongoing events throughout the year.  Join us for any and all that appeal to you, and be sure to check back often to see what’s new and coming up!

New Febs -- Come see us at the Student Activities Fair!

Learn how to get connected to spiritual life at Middlebury!  We’re looking forward to welcoming new Febs at our virtual table, Friday, March 5, at 4:00 pm.  We’ll post a Zoom link here; stay tuned.

Scott Center Events

Monday, March 1

Intentional Interfaith Community Meeting  

via Zoom

photo of summer river and hills

First-year students will join current Intentional Interfaith Community members for a virtual Zoom dialogue discussing transitions and new beginnings. The conversation will be facilitated by Interfaith Fellow, Omar Kawam, and Scott Center Chaplains, Mark Orten and Saifa Hussain.


 

Every Wednesday, when school is in session

Wisdom Wednesday for These Days  

See Zoom link below

single orange candle against dark backgroud

  Join Spiritual and Religious Life Dean Mark R. Orten for a half-hour of quiet contemplation with reading and music for our times. Intentional silence and guided meditation will be interspersed with music and readings from secular worldviews and sacred traditions to open our awareness and to find strength and perspective for living during pandemical, political, racial, ecological and other upheavals. Until gatherings can be held live, connect each Wednesday by ZoomAll are welcome.  Please use password “wisdom.”

Thursday evenings, starting March 18

College Vespers -- Christian Evening Prayer  

Mead Memorial Chapel

event poster showing sunset over hills

College Vespers is a Christian worship service held each Thursday evening in Mead Chapel.  All are welcome at this peaceful, candle-lit gathering of prayer, music, readings, and meditative silence.  Led by Affiliate Chaplain Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson and sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life.

Wednesday, February 10

Intentional Interfaith Community Interest Meeting  

via Zoom

multicolored circular symbols from various world religions

Come get a taste of our weekly Intentional Interfaith Community with chats about personal meaning-making and life’s big questions, coordinated by Interfaith Fellow Omar Kawam and college chaplains Mark Orten and Saifa Hussain.  Weekly times TBD.  All are welcome, regardless of any faith or non-faith background.  Interested?!  Drop into the interest meeting on Wednesday, February 10, at 4pm (Zoom Link Here) to ask questions of current members.  Or email omar.kawam@middlebury.edu for more information. 

4 consecutive Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 20

How to Hold Politically Charged Conversations across Difference  

virtual meetings

cartoon people with empty text bubbles

Everyone knows that the U.S., and much of the world, is more politically divided than ever before. With the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden in January, we will likely see these tensions rise and be renewed this winter.

This workshop will give us an opportunity to learn skills of listening and learning about different points of view and beliefs. By learning and practicing with tools that help you discover more about your own political autobiography, and about that of others, you will build skills that can apply not only to political conversations, but also to any conversation where there is difference. This is an approach that puts debating and convincing aside—it is about conversations that do not seek to change your conversation partner, but rather to hear them and perhaps begin to understand them. These steps may seem small, but we believe they are some of the hardest and most necessary skills to have and practice!

We encourage people of all political beliefs and degrees of political engagement to attend this workshop. If you shy away from politics, this is also the workshop for you!

Co-taught by Interfaith Fellow Omar Kawam and Rabbi Danielle Stillman.  Register here.
 

4 consecutive Tuesdays, starting January 19

Jewish Prayer: What, Why and How?  

virtual meetings

multicolored stained glass image

In this cohort we will explore both basic and esoteric concepts relating to Jewish prayer. What do we think we are doing when we pray? What are the theological underpinnings of prayer? Can you participate in prayer if you don’t believe in God? Does prayer “work,” and if so, how? We will utilize sources from traditional and contemporary text, prayer books of different Jewish movements, and our own life experiences to explore and discuss these questions.

Led by Rabbi Danielle Stillman.  No particular background, Jewish or otherwise, is necessary.  Register here by January 15.
 
 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Spirituality and Social Justice: A Multifaith Panel Discussion Honoring The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

via Zoom

colored pencil drawing of MLK with other faith leaders
(Credit: Drawing by Thien Bui, Arlington, Texas )

Please join us for a discussion with a multi-faith group of panelists to reflect on the question “what do wisdom traditions offer us in navigating the challenges of oppression and injustice in these challenging times”? We’ll discuss the religious, secular, and spiritual foundations of civic actions for social justice.

Panelists:
Rev. Barnaby Feder (Unitarian Universalist)
Fr. Luke Austin (Christian)
Sensei Joshin Byrnes (Buddhist)
Rabbi Danielle Stillman (Jewish)
Chaplain Saifa Hussain(Muslim) 
Vijaya Wunnava (Hindu)
Rajnii Eddins (spiritual artist/activist) 
Moderated by the Rev. Mark R. Orten, Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life

Join via Zoom:  https://middlebury.zoom.us/j/97399624075?pwd=WGRQUGphRWMwblI4bEo4MTFmekMzZz09
    Password: 392632
 

YouTube Premier Sunday, Dec. 20

Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas  

pre-recorded service online

poster with Janet McKenzie's original painting, The Divine Journey
Artwork: The Divine Journey — Companions of Love and Hope. Copyright 2017, Janet McKenzie.  Collection of Memorial Church, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

The Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life and the Music Department present our annual Christmas service with traditional hymns and anthems sung by the Middlebury College Choir, and Biblical readings of the season by faculty, staff and students.

YouTube premier on Sunday, Dec. 20, at 4:00 pm.  Tune in at go/lessonsandcarols, or go.middlebury.edu/lessonsandcarols.  The program will be available to view online anytime throughout Eastern Orthodox Christmas on January 7.

Donations will be accepted for H.O.P.E, Elderly Services, and Addison County Home Health & Hospice.  For more information and direct links to make donations to any of these agencies, please  go to http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/music/lessonsandcarols
 

Tuesday, Dec. 1

Make Some Art!  

via Zoom

the word "ART" spelled out with brushes and spattered paint

Reconnect with friends in a fun and creative process of making art and writing to tap into our most creative responses to all that we are experiencing in the world today, and to tap into the spiritual energy that Hanukah will bring with it, as a time when we actively strive to increase light in our world.

“If there has ever been a time to make art… now is that time… When we tap into our creative capacity, we can access the deep wellspring of our radical imagination to bring about a more just, loving, and peaceful future for us all.” -Rabbi Adina Allen, founder, Jewish Studio Project

Our tradition calls us to see the world and ourselves anew.  Especially in our times, this call requires all of the imagination and creativity that we can cultivate. In conversation with Jewish texts,  we will draw on mindfulness meditation and the Jewish Studio Process methodology as we engage in learning and creative arts (visual and writing) to see the truth of our lives more clearly and awaken our imagination and creativity. Please bring materials that you have in your home- colored pencils, markers, paints, magazines, tape/glue; unlined blank paper or journal; pen. No specific materials needed.

Please note that no background, experience or skill in meditation or art is necessary, nor is any Jewish background necessary. This process is about accessing our inner wisdom through the art and writing process, not about creating beautiful images!

Rabbi Margie Jacobs, who will be leading this workshop, is a rabbi in the Bay Area, and has recently trained as a facilitator for the Jewish Studio Project, as well as being a trained mindfulness teacher.  She is generously offering us this workshop as part of an exchange arranged by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Rabbi Danielle’s professional rabbinical association.

Please see this document for some important workshop guidelines/agreements!: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_nlh98dqqGS47q_QPfDCe3G2pCK1hUofYfnbkO5dNA4/edit?usp=sharing

Zoom info:
https://middlebury.zoom.us/j/96535174362?pwd=UGx1Tm9FbFcvSjQxcm1xZnhRc2VWQT09
        Password: ART
  

Thursday Nov.5, and Friday Nov. 6

Writing For Resilience  

online or Axinn 219

handwritten paper journal with spiral binding; pen lying on top with coffee cup nearby

Writing for oneself can help a person clarify, vent, grieve, and celebrate.  We will present two sessions, one virtual via Zoom on Nov. 5, and one in-person on Nov. 6 in Axinn 219.  Bring a pen and some paper and take this time to write down thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears as this election week comes to its end.  There will be guided writing prompts and warm-ups to get us going as we use writing to explore how this election has shaped our inner landscape.  Guided by Danielle Stillman, Rabbi and Associate Chaplain at the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.

Monday, Nov. 2

Make Some Noise on Election Eve!  

McCullough Lawn

quilt showing multicolored hands on drum head

Join us in a collective expression of release and healing the night before the election. Bring your own noise-making/percussive objects (no wind instruments, please).  Led by Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life staff.    Space is limited to a maximum of 75 people, following all Covid guidelines.  Be sure to wear your face covering.  This event is for the Campus community only.

beginning Wed., Oct. 21

Grounding Social Action in Spiritual Practice  

via Zoom

dirt road going uphill through orange, red, and yellow fall foliage

Taught by Environmental Studies Professor Rebecca Gould and Rabbi/Associate Chaplain Danielle Stillman

A 6-week workshop, meeting weekly on Wednesdays, Oct. 21- Dec. 2
5:00-6:15 pm Eastern

The meetings will be held on Zoom, with opportunities for in-person connection if desired/possible in between the meetings.


In this time of a growing awareness of racial injustice, climate crisis, an unprecedented level of contention in the upcoming presidential election, and the feelings of disconnection that have accompanied the global pandemic of COVID-19, many of us are taking action or asking what we can do to build the world that we all deserve to live in. 

This 6-week workshop will draw on the Jewish spiritual practices of ethical action (mussar) and contemplative practice (hasidut) to help students discover and use spiritual practices to support their on-going or desired social justice work.  While the framing (and some of the language) of the workshop is grounded in Jewish traditions, practices such as contemplation and the cultivation of virtues are universal. 

As with our Winter/Spring 2020 workshop which included participants of all spiritual and cultural stripes, we are intentionally welcoming —indeed, hoping for —participants of any (or no) faith tradition to join together in common cause.
 
This workshop is right for you if you are already active in social change movements and are seeking support around burnout, inspiration, or a new way of thinking about strategy, and/or if you are not currently active in social change work but feel drawn to it and would like to explore that desire further.
 
The workshop will require some commitment beyond the hour and fifteen-minute weekly meeting: reading, personal practice of some of the techniques we will learn, and a weekly check-in with a “mussar” partner. These are the “practices” that, in fact, take some practice! The intention, of course, is that the practices will serve you and enrich your experience of the workshop.

 

Friday, October 30

Mawlid un Nabi Celebration  

via Zoom; see link below

photos of performers

Update: We will be joined by two exciting guest performers: world-renowned singer Jennifer Grout, and spoken word artist, Ahlaam Abduljalil!

Mawlid un Nabi is a traditional gathering during the month of Rabi’ul Awwal commemorating the birth of the The Noble Prophet (peace be upon him). Traditionally, this holiday is marked with communal gathering, singing, and food. Due to COVID restrictions, this gathering will be virtual and take place on Friday, October 30th at 6 pm. Chaplain Saifa Hussain will give a short bayan (talk) about the history, the importance of Mawlid, and the significance of Divine Love in Islam. This will be followed by student-led spoken word, creative expression, and discussion. We hope you can join!
 

October 9

Fall Family Weekend -- Hillel Meet and Greet  

via Zoom

Large blue M for Middlebury fills the center of a blue Star of David

Join Rabbi Danielle Stillman and the Hillel student board for a chance to meet other families and hear about Jewish Life at Middlebury. We will have a short reflection on the end of Sukkot, and get ready to welcome Shabbat. 

October 9

Fall Family Weekend -- Conversation with Scott Center Staff and Students  

via Zoom

multicolored symbols of world religions

Join the staff of the Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life for a conversation on religious life at the College today.  Learn more about virtual and in-person programming taking place this semester.

throughout September, ending on Oct. 4

Addison County CROP Hunger Walk  

various locations

Middlebury Congregational Church CROP Hunger Walk team, 2018
Members of the Middlebury Congregational Church pose for their team photo in 2019.

Update: our grand total raised this year, in this first-ever (and hopefully last!) all-virtual event, is over $19,400.  This far surpassed our expectations for community support during this pandemic year, and will result in very significant gifts to our local hunger action agencies.  We are grateful to everyone who participated.

While the pandemic prohibits our usual format of a large community walk on a single day, we have re-imagined this year’s CROP Hunger Walk to maximize  efforts to raise money to end hunger while also assuring the safety and well-being of walkers. 

During the month of September, through October 4, individual walkers and family pods are creating their own walks of any length, a few blocks around town, walks on the TAM, in the mountains, and elsewhere.  Walkers might imagine they’re walking in an exotic location, such as the streets of Paris or along a beach in Bali.  Walkers are encouraged to take selfie photos as they walk, and to add a caption about why the CROP Hunger Walk is meaningful to them.  These should be sent to John McCright at the Addison Independent by 5:00 pm Monday, October 5.  The Addy Indy will then publish photos and captions of this year’s re-imagined CROP Hunger Walk.  Send pictures and captions to:  news@addisonindependent.com  

Visit our CROP Hunger Walk page where you can learn more, register to start raising money either individually or as a team, and make an online donation.  https://www.crophungerwalk.org/middleburyvt .  Please contact Ellen McKay if you have questions at emckay@middlebury.edu

starting Sept. 18

High Holidays  

brightly colored wreath with apples, honey and pomegranates.  "Shana tova" spelled out inside wreath.

For a complete schedule of High Holidays programming and events, please click here.

Drop-In Orientation Sessions

We are looking forward to meeting new first-year students!  Please join us for any of the following live Zoom drop-in sessions.  Zoom links are in first-year students’ inboxes, in an email from Orientation, or contact Ellen McKay (emckay@middlebury.edu) for a Zoom link.

Monday, August 24, 1:00–2:00 pm

Live Zoom drop-in for Christian families

 

Monday, August 24, 4:00–5:00 pm

Live Zoom drop-in for all families

 

Monday, August 31, 5:00–6:00 pm

Live Zoom drop-in for Jewish families

 

Tuesday, September 1, 5:00–6:00 pm

Live Zoom drop-in for Muslim families

 

Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life
Hathaway House
135 South Main Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

scfsrl@middlebury.edu
(802) 443-5626