2020-2021 Events and Programs
Scott Center Events
Youssef Kromah will speak about his recent book, Majnoon, a collection of poetry and prose on the phenomenon of love and all of its beautiful and monstrous possibilities. He teaches love as a permanent state of being, an embodiment of a profound reality, as opposed to a short-lived experience or temporary insanity. In this talk, Youssef Kromah will connect these deep themes with the holy month of Ramadan and how they pertain to the student experience.
Youssef Kormah is an award-winning poet, best-selling author, dynamic speaker, community activist, and international television host. He is currently pursuing a degree in Islamic Studies at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, with hopes of following a career track in Islamic scholarship, while continuing his art.
Sponsored by the Muslim Student Association, the Scott Center, and the University of Vermont’s Muslim Student Association.
Please email Saifa Hussain (email@example.com) for the Zoom link and password.
Ramadan is projected to begin in the evening of April 12th and end in the evening of May 12th, making Eid al Fitr on the 13th. These dates are subject to change based on moon sightings. We’ll post details about meals and gatherings here, so stay tuned.
Axinn Winter Garden
All of us have struggled with grief and loss this past year, and all of us have grown and changed in ways we could not have imagined. Sharing loss and changes can help you and others feel less alone. We invite you to share your thoughts, poetry, photographs or art in this collaborative art installation by pinning them onto the lines located in the Winter Garden in Axinn. Please respond to these three prompts with separate pieces of paper:
What or who have you lost?
What have you learned?
What hopes are you nurturing in yourself right now?
The installation will be up for several weeks for people to contribute to and to view. There will be basic writing and art materials available at the project, but feel free to bring whatever creative components you’d like to share.
Mead Memorial Chapel
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. All Covid protocols will be observed for these in-person gatherings.
See Zoom link below
Final gathering for this semester — Wednesday, May 26. 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 Zoom. All are welcome. Please use password “wisdom.”
If taking some time to contemplate your spiritual life is something you’ve thought about, why not consider joining a group of other students engaged in similar contemplation? We will form a group informed by the practice of spiritual direction, the practice of making space to discern larger movements of meaning and connection in your life. The process of our group will include alternating times of silence and of sharing. Together, our group will create opportunities for exploration and deep listening, listening to our own spiritual questions and longings and to those of others in the group. We intend this to be a space for students of any and all backgrounds and identities, whether non-religious, “spiritual but not religious” or religious.
We are actively seeking a wide range of perspectives and identities in this group, so if you are wondering “but will I belong?” our answer is “Yes.”
We are meeting every other Wednesday, beginning March 24, for 75 minutes at a time. Meetings are virtual, with some in-person possible depending on COVID conditions on campus and who joins— fully remote students are welcome.
If you are interested, please contact leaders Rabbi Danielle Stillman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Professor Rebecca Gould (email@example.com).
via Zoom; please register below
On this evening of Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day, we will gather to honor the memory of those who were killed in the Holocaust, and those who survived. Please join us for this time of reflection, prayer, and sharing space. Students, faculty and staff, parents, alumni and local community members are welcome to attend.
Please register using this form to receive the Zoom link prior to the program.
If anyone would like to contribute reflections on what the Holocaust has meant in their family or to themselves, please be in touch with Rabbi Danielle this week. firstname.lastname@example.org
Yom Hashoah with Hungarian Holocaust Survivor Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
Thursday, April 8th 7pm EST
In this Hilel@home program, we’ll have the chance to hear Dr. Ozsvath share her story. Read more about the event and register here: https://form.jotform.com/210754475322150
virtual services via Zoom or Facebook
The Scott Center is providing this partial list of local congregations who celebrating Easter this year virtually. Please be in touch with specific churches if you have questions.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF CORNWALL. Easter Sunday worship on Zoom at 10 a.m. or in person following COVID guidelines. 802-462-3111 or email@example.com
CHAMPLAIN VALLEY UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST SOCIETY. Online Easter worship Sunday, April 4, 10 am. (802) 388-8080
CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF MIDDLEBURY. Easter Service 10 a.m. at facebook.com/MiddUCC. 388-7634.
MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH (American Baptist): 97 South Pleasant St., Middlebury. The Rev. Dr. Stephanie Allen, Pastor. Services live-stream on YouTube. Palm and Easter Sunday at 10 a.m. and Maundy Thursday Service at 7 p.m. For YouTube link and other info: memorialbaptistvt.org. Zoom 7 a.m. devotionals Monday – Friday. Easter Sunrise Service at 6:40 a.m. at 1126 Halpin Road. (Masks (KN95 masks provided) and distancing required.) Membaptistvt@gmail.com. 388-7472
ST. STEPHEN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH. All services conducted online via Zoom. *NOTE: Correct times for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday services are 10 a.m., not 10:30 a.m. as listed in the printed Worship Guide.* Palm Sunday, March 28, Godly Play, 9:30 a.m., Liturgy of the Palms, Ante-Communion and Dramatic Reading of Mark’s Passion 10 a.m.; Wednesday, March 31, Noonday Prayer, noon; Maundy Thursday, April 1, Ante-Communion with Stripping of the Altar, 7 p.m.; Good Friday, April 2, Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday with John’s Passion and Veneration of the Cross 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 3, Said Morning Prayer, 9 a.m., Compline, 7:30 p.m. Easter Sunday, April 4, Godly Play 9:30 a.m., Holy Communion from the Pre-Consecrated Sacrament, 10 a.m. More info at www.ststephensmidd.org.
SAINT MARY’S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION). In-person with protocols, no reservations required. Palm Sunday: (Vigil) Saturday, March 27, 5:15 p.m.; Sunday, March 28, 8 and 10 a.m. Holy Thursday, April 1, 7 p.m. Good Friday: April 2, 3 p.m. Liturgy, 7 p.m. Stations, otherwise church is open for private prayer. Easter Vigil: April 3, 7 p.m. Easter Sunday: April 4, 7:30 a.m. & 9:30 a.m. For smaller numbers consider: Holy Thursday Adoration, 8:15 p.m.–9:15 p.m.; Good Friday private prayer; Easter Octave Mass, April 6, 5:15 p.m. and April 7-9, 8 a.m. stmary.vermontcatholic.org, 388-2943.
Come say hi at our Springle (that’s a Springtime Mingle, obvi!). Scott Center staff are looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. There might be goody bags …
Celebrate Passover with a communal Seder. We will celebrate this annual ritual together over Zoom with symbolic foods, a special meal, and some excellent story telling of the Exodus from slavery to freedom. Students will be able to pick up individual meals and seder plate ingredients to take back to their rooms for the seder.
You must register to receive a seder plate, meal and zoom link. Registration will close on Tuesday March 23, so just sign up right now.
For more information about events and programs surrounding Passover, please contact Rabbi Danielle Stillman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
McCullough Student Center patio
Come say hello to the Scott Center staff outside the McCullough Student Center Tuesdays, March 16, from 4:30-5:30 pm. We’ll be giving out cups of homemade hot chocolate and chai and look forward to reconnecting with returning students and meeting new first-years!
Join Dean of Spiritual & Religious Life Mark R. Orten, along with local Christian clergy, for an intra-Christian gathering to envision Christian community at Middlebury. Members of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Newman Catholic student group, and Gather: Progressive Christians and Friends will reflect, worship and discuss Christian life, along with invited faculty and staff.
30 minutes of guided reflection on Christian commitment and community
30 minutes Vespers-style worship
30 minutes imagining together the upbuilding of Christian faith and fellowship
Join via Zoom here. Password 625208
We hope you can join us! Please RSVP here.
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.
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 email@example.com for more information.
4 consecutive Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 20, 2021
How to Hold Politically Charged Conversations across Difference
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.
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.
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.
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
pre-recorded service online
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
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
online or Axinn 219
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.
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.
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.
via Zoom; see link below
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!
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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