Simpson College ‘16
Simpson College ‘16
It’s summer time. You know what that means: Going to the beach, reading books, late nights, the farmers market and the new and improved RLC blog! You can expect a new blog entry each Thursday, also known as #blogdayThursday. Each week you’ll get to hear from a different Fall 2014 RLC Intern, so get pumped!
To start us off, I figured I could talk to you a little bit about what I learned over May term and how I’m going to apply it to my summer in the chapel and my last semester as RLC President.
This May term I went to Senegal, on the West coast of Africa, for two weeks to work with the Peace Corps and learn about a different culture. It was my first time out of the United States and it was definitely an amazing and enlightening experience. I wish I could talk about each and every thing that happened over the course of those two weeks, but that would make for one really long entry. Instead I’ll stick with a one specific moment that has stood out since my return.
During our week in home-stays, my classmates and I took a morning off from doing service and took a trip to a nearby island called Shell Island. It was a beautiful place, every inch of which was covered in white shells that crunched beneath your feet. We took a canoe tour of the various sites in the area, with an English speaking guide explaining their significance. One of which was an island devoted solely to being a cemetery. I looked out at the island, observing large baobab trees, white crosses and wooden plaques. You see, this was a very special cemetery which held people of both Christian and Muslim faith traditions side by side with no discrimination or judgment. People from Shell Island are not allowed to reserve a burial plot to be buried with family. Rather, each person is buried as they come, no preferences or priority shown.
Reflecting back on my trip, this was an extremely poignant and beautiful moment that represents one way that Senegal, despite their status as a developing country, has advanced well beyond America. As a country that is over 90% Muslim, it would be easy for one popular faith tradition to overshadow and discriminate against another. Yet this is not the case in Senegal. Muslims and Catholics live and work together in perfect harmony. In fact, in my host family I had a Catholic grandmother and a Muslim mother. Their love for one another does not rely on corresponding religious beliefs or opinions, but on a mutual understanding that each person is worthy of respect and is unique in his or her own right.
The motto of the entire country of Senegal is “One people, one goal, one faith”. This motto came to life for me at the Shell Island cemetery and I hope to carry that image with me throughout the rest of my time at Simpson College and beyond. In recent years the Religious Life Community has been striving towards greater religious understanding, dialogue and tolerance and I hope that I can be a catalyst for change as we continue down that path. This summer I have the opportunity to travel to New York City with five other Simpson students to attend the Interfaith Youth Institute and learn more about interfaith dialogue. I am blessed to have this opportunity and I know that when we return from New York my fellow interns and I will be ready to help Simpson College become even more interfaith minded.
If you have any questions about RLC or want to sit down with me and a cup of coffee to discuss in even more detail my amazing trip to Senegal, I would love nothing more than if you’d email me at email@example.com. I hope that you’re having a fabulous summer and that you stay tuned for more blog posts by my marvelous fellow interns!
Tricia Kay Ingram
The Chapel, in conjunction with SGA, is revamping and revitalizing Dirlam Lounge to offer students an alternative space to study, hold club meetings, chat with professors, relax on campus, and curl up with a cup of Holy Grounds’ coffee. With the exciting arrival of the busy and bustling Kent Campus Center, RLC is looking to provide students with a quiet getaway to hull up with some hot cocoa and that paper due at 8:00 a.m. This facelift is hoping to include new flooring, lighting, paint, and furniture and will hopefully give the room a more intimate feel in contrast, and yet complimentary, to the open, exciting, and busy feel of the new Kent Campus Center.
The new campus center, and what it will offer the Simpson community, has generated excitement in students, faculty and staff, and potential students; however, one would be delusional or naïve to assume that the needs of every Simpson student could be fulfilled in one building. The Student Government Association and the Religious Life Community are by no means attempting to compete with the new student center. Rather, we want to provide a complimentary space that will serve students interested in a slow, quiet, and less chaotic atmosphere on the opposite side of campus.
Plans are being formulated and approved – changes are quite underway. Though the changes and additions are altered from the original plan, it is still our goal to make these changes over Christmas break. Dirlam Lounge is already a popular study hub offering coffee from Holy Grounds and a comfortable meeting venue. This facelift, however, will create more of a coffee shop essence with the new warm and relaxing atmosphere.
Dirlam Lounge is a regular stop during prospective students’ tour of campus. These changes will much improve the space and increase the “wow factor” of the room. The decrease in enrollment is a common knowledge; any positive change to campus will be of benefit.
These renovations will not, in any way, inhibit the happenings at Kent Campus Center once it is up and running. The improvements only seek to accommodate more students. With a need for retention and recruitment, shouldn’t students, staff, and faculty express concern and offer improvement to campus as a whole? The Simpson Community needs a well-rounded, diverse, and unique campus atmosphere – all of which will be affected by a new and improved Dirlam Lounge.
As Ecclesiastes 3 says, “To everything there is a season.” It’s a season of changes for Simpson’s campus, and RLC is doing our part to keep advancing as well. One way that RLC is changing is through a different approach to our Alternative Spring Break trips. Historically, our Chapel Intern of Mission has prepared and planned five spring break trips that are offered to the student body. Each trip is focused on some type of service varying from Habitat for Humanity projects to learning about inner city poverty.
This year, however, new things are happening. Striving to make our organization even more student led, we’re handing over the alternative spring break trip planning to the students themselves. Any student who wishes to propose a service trip may do just that by filling out a proposal application. This application consists of trip location, types of service, as well as a few other details. A committee will review the proposals and the RLC spring break trips will be announced the following week. Proposals are due this month on October 19 (right before fall break), and the trips will be announced on October 26 at Quench.
Forming the spring break trips this way is a huge change for RLC, but something that will make a huge impact, not only in our programming but on campus as well. Allowing students to plan their own trips is making room for much more personal investment in each individual’s spring break experience. Every student participating in the trips will not only have a voice in the coordination of the service but they will also partake in fundraising for their trip. They will have more time to form a community with the other students going on the same trip which will allow time for more growth during the actual week of spring break.
Though spring break is still in the somewhat distant future, it is time to begin thinking about how we’re spending our breaks. Coming up very soon is Fall Break (Octover 20 – October 23). RLC is currently sponsoring three (yep, that’s right, three!) alternative fall break trips. On the evening of Wednesday, October 19, we’ll be sending vans of students to Kansas City for an Urban Plunge experience, Sioux City for flood relief, and Des Moines to learn about justice in the city. If you’re interested in signing up for one of the trips, contact RLC, or Jorie Landers directly ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
We’re excited about these changes that are happening within RLC and hopefully you are too! So it’s time to start brainstorming: Where do you want to spend your Spring Break?? Let me know if you have any further questions about this new approach to the Alternative Spring Break trips.
Peace and Love,
RLC Intern of Justice and Mission
It plays a large role in our lives whether we want to admit it or not.
We’re all about that age now, when we feel pressured to start thinking about our futures. Aside from decisions regarding majors/minors, grad school, and life after Simpson, society consistently reminds us that our personal lives need attended to as well. Many of our classmates are getting engaged and married, which only adds to the societal pressures.
I’ve done my fair share of thinking about marriage recently, for a variety of reasons. The reason that consumes most of my time is that of marriage equality, or same-sex marriage. It’s a touchy subject, I know.
The whole issue boils down to one single question: “What is marriage?” I grew up in a small Christian community that taught marriage to be the merging of two lives into one in the presence of God. No one specified, however, that marriage was only to be shared between one man and one woman. In recent years it occurred to me that this definition of marriage isn’t the one used by the government.
This forces us to consider what marriage is to the government and what purpose it serves in society. For starters, religious marriage should be completely separate from civil marriage. If the state upheld religious views of marriage, we would see non-Christians and people of other faiths being denied marriage licenses left and right because not all Americans believe in the Christian God.
Others have pointed to reproduction and a stable child-raising environment as the purpose of marriage. Once again, this excludes many people: those who don’t want children, or those who can’t have children. When it comes to marriage providing a stable enrironment to raise children in, who’s to say that two people of the same sex are incapable of raising a child just as well as any other couple?
Let’s not forget that marriage is an institution that was created to serve the needs of society. This becomes especially important when discussing the purpose of marriage today. What needs should be met by marriage? What do you see as marriage’s purpose? These are all questions to consider in the debate over the purpose of marriage; if we ignore these issues and aren’t careful, marriage could end up being denied to a lot more people than it already is.
Intern of Welcome & Celebration
Smith Chapel – Simpson College
A new school year means a new beginning for many of us. For
incoming first years, this is the start of a new chapter in life; one soon to
be filled with memories – memories you will cherish and memories you may regret,
but nevertheless learn from. For returning students, a new year means a clean
slate. It’s a chance to start fresh; to build on existing memories and create
Simpson’s Religious Life Community (RLC) is eager to be a piece of
your new beginning. RLC offers opportunity for fellowship, service, worship,
community, justice and mission, and interfaith relations. As a team, we have
prepared for the upcoming year. Our theme kicked off last Wednesday evening at
Quench, our campus worship service open to the Simpson community every
Wednesday from 9:00-9:45PM.
This year’s theme originates from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 :
To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
This passage is applicable in our everyday lives. “To everything
there is a season…” There is a time, place, and reason for every action,
decision, and thought. Your new chapter, or clean slate, will benefit from
pondering the meaning behind this passage. This is your time to grow. This is
your time to make decisions of your own. This is your time to determine who you
want to be and where you want to go.
Start fresh. It’s your new beginning.
Join us for Quench on Wednesday nights from 9:00-9:45PM, with Afterhours directly following worship.
Keep an eye and ear out for service opportunities and Bible studies soon to come.