Dear friends of the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life:
This semester has been eventful and important in many ways. We successfully delivered our fall legacy program—the 39th annual Holocaust Lecture Series—under the interpretative theme of Rituals of Memory & Oblivion. Reflections upon the Holocaust, told by historians, artists, scholars, survivors and families of survivors, were shared throughout the season. Hundreds of students and community members engaged in these lectures and conversations.
A major highlight was partnering with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission to host the Rev. Patrick Desbois, a French Catholic priest who has dedicated the last 20 years of his life to locating mass graves where Jewish victims were killed by Nazi mobile units. His address, “Holocaust By Bullets,” served as an inspired challenge for the Holocaust and related genocides to forever remain an active concern of historians and citizens worldwide.
The OUCRL also creates timely conversations and spirited explorations of the big questions pertaining to faith, ethics, justice, public policy and how “the good life” is defined and experienced. A good example of this is Project Dialogue. A few weeks prior to Election Day, PD partnered with the Veritas Forum to feature Andra Gillespie, associate professor of political science at Emory University, and Lanheen Chen, lecturer in law at Stanford University—both confessing Christians—who agreed and disagreed with each other as David Lewis, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor and chair of the political science department, helped a large audience of students engage in a bipartisan conversation on faith and politics.
We’re thankful for our many peers and partners who help further religious life and interfaith understanding. I am especially appreciative of the Vanderbilt Interfaith . VIC collaborated with the OUCRL to develop a learning module on religious and spiritual pluralism that was presented to Visions groups of first-year students throughout this semester. Inspired leadership like this is what allows us to stay faithful to our mission and purpose on our vibrant campus!
Reverend Mark Forrester
University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life
All Women’s Swim at The Recreation and Wellness Center
A collaborative effort between the Muslim Students Association, the OUCRL and the Recreation and Wellness Center has opened up a timeframe for an all women’s swim. This activity, which increases religious inclusivity, will run from 5 to 7 p.m. every Sunday during the academic year, except during fall, spring and holiday breaks.
Applications being accepted for interfaith spring break trip
The OUCRL is partnering with the International Student and Scholar Services and the Vanderbilt Interfaith Council to plan an interfaith spring break trip to Washington, D.C. The trip will explore the meaning of faith between several religions through guided explorations of religious sites and personal reflection. It runs March 4-9 and applications are currently being accepted.
Project Dialogue encourages interfaith discussions around the table
Students from the Muslim Student Association and the Vanderbilt Wesley Fellowship joined together on Nov. 1 for prayers, songs, stories, food and discussion on community using texts from the Quran and the Bible. This event was a Project Dialogue event, a university-wide program that seeks to involve the Vanderbilt community in public discourse and reflection.
OUCRL instrumental in a new trans-institutional program
OUCRL was high involved in initiating Vocations in Racial Justice—one of the 13 2016 award recipients for the Trans-Institutional Program (TIPs) initiative. Personnel from the office serve on the advisory board for this two-year project that strives to develop a curriculum for training vocational activists and scholars across different disciplines, drawing upon Vanderbilt’s many intellectual resources.
Faith In Art presented by the Vanderbilt Interfaith Council
6 p.m. Nov. 30 | Student Life Center Ballrooms
4:30 p.m. Dec. 5 | Benton Chapel