Tag: spirituality

Center for Spiritual and Religious Life gets new name in rededication ceremony

Prayer flags are hung outside the Esch Hurvis Center for Spiritual and Religious Life during a May 25 rededication ceremony. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University’s Sabin House officially became the Esch Hurvis Center for Spiritual and Religious Life on Tuesday as campus leaders, students, faculty, and staff gathered to celebrate a welcoming space that has come to represent togetherness and connection for everyone on campus.

Named for the Esch Hurvis family, the center has become a home for people of all faiths and religious traditions, and those who have none, who are interested in learning, connecting, and exploring religious and spiritual practice and identity.

“We decided that the new Center for Spiritual and Religious Life would be a welcoming place for curious, intentional, respectful engagement with persons of similar, different or no religious tradition, and for quiet, personal reflection and spiritual practice,” the Rev. Linda Morgan-Clement, the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life and chaplain to the University, told the dozens of onlookers who gathered in the Center’s newly landscaped Goldgarden for a rededication ceremony.

The possibilities of this gathering space, first funded with a gift from Tom Hurvis ’60 and family in memory of his late wife, Julie Esch Hurvis ’61, shortly after her passing in July 2015, began to come to fruition with the hiring of Morgan-Clement in 2016. The creation of the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life included the establishment of the Center.

Visitors to the rededication ceremony walk the grounds of Lawrence University’s Esch Hurvis Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.

It has continued with the growing of the Center’s staff and its outreach over the past five years, supported by additional gifts from Hurvis. The renaming and rededication follow an additional investment from Hurvis in an endowed maintenance fund for the building.

A plaque in the front hall of the Center reads: “The Esch Hurvis Center for Spiritual and Religious Life embodies the welcoming spirit of the Esch Hurvis family. Authentic care and listening that encourage open sharing and trust were embodied in Julie Esch Hurvis’ life. Her art, which is found throughout the building, and her passion for young people was grounded in her Bahai’ faith.” 

One by one, visitors representing various departments, student groups, and collaborations across campus offered blessings for the Center and the people who care for it during Tuesday’s ceremony. They hung prayer flags on a line in the Goldgarden and invited others to do the same.

President Mark Burstein, speaking from the Center’s porch, said the Center has filled an important void at Lawrence, giving people who want to explore and embrace religion and spirituality a place to connect, and to do so in a way that is inviting for all. He said it was during his exploration of Lawrence while interviewing for the president’s job nine years ago that he first sensed a disconnect for those who lean into their faith.

“One of the aspects of Lawrence I sensed was how many members of our community whose faith or spirituality was important to them didn’t feel like the university was home,” he said. “That spoke to me. That’s something we really aspire to be, a place where everyone feels like they can count Lawrence as home.”

It was shortly after Julie died that Hurvis mentioned to Burstein that he’d like to present a gift to Lawrence in her memory. That eventually led to endowing the dean position that would be filled by Morgan-Clement.

Tom Hurvis ’60 talks about his late wife, Julie Esch Hurvis, during Tuesday’s ceremony. She was “wonderful with people in making them feel good because they trusted her,” he said.

Hurvis and his wife, Ann, were on hand Tuesday to take in the Center’s rededication and to applaud Morgan-Clement and her staff for bringing the dream to life.

“We wanted to dedicate the religious and spiritual center to Julie Esch Hurvis, who was just wonderful with people in making them feel good because they trusted her,” Tom Hurvis said. “Linda is so much like Julie it’s incredible, and it makes me want to cry every day. I think we are heavenly blessed. Julie isn’t here, but Linda has come to take this position that is so important. We’re developing an environment where more and more people are coming every day into the Center because they know that in the Center they will find trust; they can talk; they have a comfort level.”

Morgan-Clement said Hurvis told her early on in her time at Lawrence that the key to making the Center thrive was building and maintaining a feeling of trust.

Linda Morgan-Clement: “We’re here because Lawrence values everyone.”

“Trust and trustworthiness, connection with the land, with the people, with ourselves, with the sacred,” she said. “We’re here because Lawrence values everyone.”

Burstein said he has little doubt that Julie Esch Hurvis would be thrilled with what the Center has become and with those from all backgrounds and beliefs who shared their blessings at Tuesday’s ceremony.

“I feel that Julie is with us here,” Burstein said. “Julie was someone who cared deeply about interpersonal connection and about community. … This is about how we can come together across our differences and make community, make connection. I think Julie would be so proud of that.”

Burstein also took time during the rededication to thank Rick Moser ’83 and Lisa Miller Moser ’84, whose generosity funded the Goldgarden, a beautiful space on the east side of the Center that is now utilized for group meditation and other outdoor gatherings.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Lawrence enhances religious, spirit life program, names alumna Rev. Terra Winston associate dean

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Rev. Terra Winston.

The 2000 Lawrence University graduate returns to her alma mater Aug. 1 as the school’s first associate dean of spiritual and religious life. The newly created position is grant funded for a five-year term with the possibility of continuation beyond the term.

Rev. Terra Winston
Rev. Terra Winston ’00

Since 2012, Winston has held various positions with the interfaith organization Christian Peacemaker Teams in Chicago. As delegations coordinator, she executed international, justice-focused travels, helping people navigate the nexus where their spirit meets the world’s realities. She also worked on organization-wide strategic directions and coordinated outreach efforts at conferences and congregations, among other duties.

Winston, an ordained Presbyterian minister who earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Lawrence, said it was “fulfilling a dream” to return to campus to work with Lawrence’s diverse student body.

“I’m excited because I feel I have a unique skill set and a spiritual understanding that will enhance the work that has already begun,” said Winston, a native of
Shaker Heights, Ohio.

She said she will bring “a ministry of presence” to her new position.

“My experience has taught me how important it is to show up with sincerity, grounding and openness to meet people where they are along their spiritual journey.”

Rev. Linda Morgan-Clement, who joined the Lawrence administration in 2016 as the university’s first dean of spiritual and religious life, said Winston’s connection to Lawrence is a “huge advantage.”

“Terra comes in loving Lawrence,” said Morgan-Clement. “She will bring her personal experience of wishing that Lawrence had a position like this when she was a student. Having been out since 2000, she will bring her history with Lawrence and combine it with her experiences and education during the past 18 years that will enrich our campus community.”

“Terra brings deep experience in working in difficult dialogues, which is one of the challenges our office is seeking to address with our training program for facilitating challenging conversations.
— Rev. Linda Morgan-Clement

According to Morgan-Clement, Winston’s addition will continue to develop the new department and undergird Lawrence’s commitment to educating a whole person and serving the spiritual and religious needs of its students, faculty and staff.

“Terra brings deep experience in working in difficult dialogues, which is one of the challenges our office is seeking to address with our training program for facilitating challenging conversations. She will help us continue to shift the culture so that our commitment to inclusivity means we’re able to share a diverse range of ideas and not only speak but listen to one another.”

Morgan-Clement called Winston’s alignment of social justice and faith one of her strongest assets.

“She is very grounded in her understanding of the ethical commitments of what it means to be a person of faith. She will underline our capacity to bring together the faith and the ‘so what’ of faith, like how should I live. I’m hoping Terra will strengthen the questions we ask and strengthen the conversations that we can have around the questions.”

Among Winston’s duties will be to facilitate student conversations about spirituality, faith development, religious diversity, community building and social justice commitments. She also will direct Lawrence’s campus-wide dialogue initiative and provide pastoral care and assist with memorial gatherings.

After earning her bachelor’s degree from Lawrence, Winston earned a master of religious studies degree from the University of Chicago, a master of divinity degree from the McCormick Theological Seminary and a master of theology degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Broadcaster, author Krista Tippett presents “The Mystery and Art of Living”

Award-winning broadcaster and best-selling author Krista Tippett explores the essence of what it means to be human in a Lawrence University convocation.

Krista-Tippett_newsblog
Krista Tippett

Tippett presents “The Mystery and Art of Living,” Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. She will conduct a question-and-answer session immediately following her remarks. The event is free and open to the public.

As host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated radio program “On Being,” Tippett explores religious and spiritual issues, especially as they relate to how people want to live their lives.

Raised as a Southern Baptist in Oklahoma, Tippett was politically active in her youth, working as a freelance journalist in divided Berlin in the 1980s and later serving as a special assistant to the U.S. ambassador to West Germany.

After returning to the states, she earned a master’s of divinity degree from Yale University and launched her radio program in 2003, a project she considered a reconciliation between her intellectual and spiritual selves.

Originally called “Speaking of Faith” and airing on just two stations, “On Being” has become phenomenally successful. It is now heard on more than 400 stations nationally while Tippett’s podcasts are downloaded more than 1.5 million times a month.

The New York Times once described Tippett’s interview style as “a fusion of all her parts – the child of small-town church comfortable in the pews; the product of Yale Divinity School able to parse text in Greek and theology in German; and, perhaps most of all, the diplomat seeking to resolve social divisions.”

Tippett’s broadcasting work was honored in 2008 with a George Foster Peabody Award for “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi,” an interview she conducted with Fatemeh Keshavarz, a professor at Washington University, on the life of the 13th-century Muslim mystic and poet.

In 2014, President Obama presented Tippett with the National Humanities Medal for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of all faiths, no faith and every background to join the conversation.”

She also is the author of two books. “Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit” is a collection of 13 interviews with distinguished scientists and writers on science that made the New York Times bestseller list in 2010. “Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters—and How to Talk About It,” published in 2008, is a conversational journey that explores the role of faith in the world.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence establishing leadership position for spiritual and religious life

Tom and Julie Hurvis met in the late 1950s as undergraduates at Lawrence University. She devoted her life to people, especially those in need, and enthusiastic advocacy of the Bahá’í faith’s vision of a unified and peaceful world.

Tom-and-Julie-Hurvis_dean-position
Julie Esch Hurvis ’61 and Tom Hurvis ’60

In her memory, Tom Hurvis has made a generous gift to Lawrence for the establishment of the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life, which will continue her legacy with countless generations of students, faculty and staff.

Julie, who passed away last July, was a 1961 Lawrence graduate while Tom graduated in 1960.

As devoted members of the Bahá’í faith, the Hurvises strongly believed in the power of spirituality. They embraced the wisdom of `Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the religion’s founder and its one-time leader, who once said, “Man is, in reality, a spiritual being and only when he lives in the spirit is he truly happy.”

Designed to further enhance the transformative experience a Lawrence education provides, the new leadership position will be dedicated to reinforcing a welcoming and supportive community environment for spiritual and religious exploration and expression.

The gift will endow the position and its related programming in perpetuity. A national candidate search to fill the new position will begin immediately.

“Julie Hurvis’ impact on Lawrence can be felt on this campus every day,” said President Mark Burstein. “She cared deeply about every student and worked to ensure they succeeded at the university. Our inaugural dean of spiritual and religious life will not only help ensure that success but also will be a reminder of Julie’s life, values and care for the individual. I am grateful to Tom and Julie for creating this legacy and caring so deeply about our students.”

The focus of the dean’s position will include education, student support and mentoring, campus programs, enhancing connections to the religious communities of the Fox Cities, and campus spiritual leadership.

“Lawrence strives to meet the intellectual and developmental needs of students, however, for many students, their needs include spiritual support,” said Nancy Truesdell, vice president for student affairs. “The Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life will be an important resource for those students. We’ll also be able to provide a location where they can have conversations about faith and their personal values as well as a space for reflection or prayer.”

A leadership position dedicated to the spiritual and religious needs of the campus community has been discussed for several years, sparked by research Truesdell conducted while on sabbatical leave in 2010 as well as campus climate surveys completed by students. More recent conversations she had with a wide range of campus constituents underscored a need to strengthen the college’s support of students of faith.

“Julie Hurvis’ impact on Lawrence can be felt on this campus every day. Our inaugural dean of spiritual and religious life will not only help ensure that success but also will be a reminder of Julie’s life, values and care for the individual.”
    — President Mark Burstein

The dean will serve as a senior campus leader, collaborating with individual students and groups, faculty, staff, local clergy and community organizations to offer support in the exploration of spirituality, religion and morality. The new position will provide a resource and counselor during moments of tragedy and crisis, working with the campus community to provide opportunities for meaningful ceremonies and celebrations for a range of religions and interfaith services.

Student Kathryn Bellile feels the new dean “will be an important voice on campus to advocate for students of faith.”

“A dean could be a great support for faith-based organizations on campus, helping them to engage with the life of the university and helping to get students involved in faith communities if they haven’t found their way to one,” said Bellile, a senior from Appleton and a member of the college’s Lawrence Christian Fellowship organization. “Investing in this position shows a thoughtful concern for the needs of students of faith and an interest in broadening our definition of diversity to include people who hold different convictions and beliefs.

Main Hall_Spiritual Dean_newsblog“For students of faith, their religion may be the most important aspect of their life and identity,” added Bellile. “This will send a message to current and future students that their faith is recognized by the Lawrence community and that the campus is willing to accept and support that part of who they are. They don’t have to check their convictions at the door to participate fully in the community we have here.”

Long-time faculty member Steven Jordheim called the new dean’s position “a transformative moment in the life of our university.”

“The creation of the position of dean of spiritual and religious life demonstrates Lawrence’s commitment to the spiritual wholeness and wellness of all students, faculty and staff,” said Jordheim, professor of music, who joined the Lawrence conservatory in 1981. “The presence of the dean on our campus and the support, mentoring and programming available through this new office will facilitate important dialogue and understanding regarding various religious and spiritual beliefs, practices and experiences within a context of mutual support and respect.”

The Hurvis gift also will support a new campus spiritual and religious center, providing students, faculty and staff space to explore, learn, worship and connect on issues of spirituality and religion. The center will be created through a renovation of an existing campus building, with capacity for updates to meet future needs.

A native of Sheboygan, Julie Hurvis was a life-long enthusiast of Wisconsin’s scenic beauty. Gifted with a strong visual sense, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence in studio art and later earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago.

She took great pride in the countless lives she touched throughout the Chicago area, especially those she had an impact on through 40 years of continuous service as a member of the Glenview (Ill.) Spiritual Assembly, the annually elected body stewarding Bahá’í’s activities in the village.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.