Holy MOLY!

Opportunities for Prayer

Lynchburg College now offers two spaces for meditation, contemplation and prayerful reflection.

Spiritual Life has started the process of establishing a prayer space in the Drysdale student center. We have begun by placing our prayer wall. You can find it on the 2nd floor across from the entrance to the campus store.

Our prayer wall presents several options for expressing your prayer concerns. The background is black chalk paint and you may write on it directly with chalk. We will remember each intention in prayer and weekly wipe them clean as they are presented and released to the Creator.

In the upper left hand corner of the wall you will see a wire cage-like material with pieces of brown paper rolled and placed inside. These requests are more private, and we prayerfully remember them and will leave them until there is no more space. Below the wire cage you will find a map of the world. Please place a pin in the area you would like for us and the Lynchburg College campus community to remember in prayer.

The bottom of the center panel has a magnetic board with words you may creatively place to express a sentiment or concern.

The right panel has a wire tree with paper leaves of different colors. You may write a prayer intention on a leaf and attach it to the tree. We will remember these requests in prayer and remove them as the tree becomes full.

We also ask for your prayers. As you approach the prayer wall please remember in your prayers those who have expressed their concerns. Lynchburg College is a diverse community with many understandings of how and when to pray. It is the intention of the Center for Spiritual Life of LC to be respectful of all faith traditions and to provide a place of comfort and understanding to all. If you would like to personally meet with someone, please call us, and we will be honored to listen to your story or concerns in person.

The second second opportunity for prayer and reflection is the walking labyrinth in the woods behind McWane Hall. Walking a labyrinth is a meditative, prayerful experience. It is not a maze because there are no wrong turns but a path that is outlined to lead to the center and eventually back to the beginning. It is a journey that is very individual in its experience. To find the labyrinth, take the stairs to the right of the AC units behind McFrack parking lot. Follow the path to the labyrinth on the left. A perfect opportunity to experience the labyrinth will be on October 5th when a dedication ceremony will take place. The group will meet behind Turner gym at 4 p.m. and then walk through the woods to the labyrinth to begin the ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

Peace and Blessings to all!

Kay Higgins
Pastoral Associate

Posted in Kay

Anxiety and Depression: Ask for Help

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

About 14.3% of college students were diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems during the past year, and 12% were diagnosed with or treated for depression, according to a spring 2014 survey of 79,266 college students by the American College Health Association. That is up from 10.4% for anxiety and 10.2% for depression in the fall 2008 survey. Anxiety and depression are the most common disorders, according to the survey.

If you do the math and consider that LC has about 2,200 undergraduate students, depression and anxiety are a serious issue on this, and every other, college campus. You also have to count faculty and staff who struggle. Here at LC, where there is a lot of safe space, I think we try to remove the stigma of asking for help. But in reality most of us do not realize when someone near us is suffering. So what keeps people from asking for help? Some say seeking help is a sign of weakness. Some say counseling is a waste of time. Some don’t know where to go. Some say they don’t know what to say. Some feel that even a friend or therapist or pastor or RA or professor will judge them if they speak up. I know it isn’t enough to say just don’t feel that way but let me give you a few thing to consider. Self-Care is not weak; in fact it takes a life-time of practice. If you don’t know what to say just say I need help and trust another to lead you. If anyone even gives a hint of judgmentalism move on to someone else who is helpful.

There is a quote about depression that I have seen in various places:

Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. It’s the feat of failure but no urge to be productive. It’s wanting friends but hate socializing. It’s wanting to be alone but not wanting to be lonely. It’s caring about everything then caring about nothing. It’s feeling everything at once then feeling paralyzingly numb.

If this sounds like the way you feel, or if you worry about everything to the point that it affects your life, please ask for help. If this sounds like someone you know, please be gentle with them, be supportive and let someone know. On our campus, the Dean of Students’ Office handles mental health emergencies, so if it’s urgent call them or Security. Anyone can walk into the Counseling Center or take another in. If you go to the counseling center you don’t even have to ask out loud, but simply fill out the small form and you will be met by a smile. At Spiritual Life we aren’t trained counselors but are really good listeners and can help you take first steps.

And please say a prayer for our community and for the hundreds on this campus who are struggling with and living with mental illness.

Blessings, Stephanie

Posted in Stephanie

Live Life Intentionally

I have a friend who is a passionate, determined, fascinating, diligent patriot. He and I met years ago when our fathers worked together in Misawa, Japan. As a youth this friend was kind, gracious, hospitable, gentle and protective. He was my big brother in many ways and took the protection duties my dad charged him with very seriously. After high school graduation my friend served his country as a proud corpsman and member of an airborne unit. Today he is a part of a cath lab team and rides his motorcycle proudly in races which support military personnel and families. My friend is very passionate and vocal about his opinions with regard to our country, the military and politics. He posts blogs, essays and photos on Facebook which keep me on my toes.

The lens my friend sees life through is not the one I see life through, and often I find my opinions and beliefs juxtaposed to his. We do not always choose who we do life with and yet today, out of the blue, my friend sent me two photos and a blessing. The photos were spectacular photographs punctuating the breathtaking beauty which surrounds us as a creation. Coupled with the photographs was a blessing of hope and truth. I was blown away by his gift, and I felt honored that he not only remembered me, but he took the time to bless me.

Many people are not that fortunate. In our lives are people who desperately need words of hope and blessings. Seemingly small acts make or break someone’s day. Most of us have had at least 18 years of living this adventure called life and we know when people are hurting. We know when people are not themselves. We know when something is not right. We may not know what to do, but we know something needs to be done.

This month especially, I invite you to live life intentionally. See people, really see people. Smile. Offer compliments. Shower folks with blessings and hope. Be an advocate. Be a support. Be a friend. If you become aware of someone who is hurting, connect them with someone who can help. Walk with them to the Counseling Center, the Health Center or the Center for Spiritual Life. Help the individual talk to their RA. If it is an emergency such as a threat to self or others, call security.

We do not choose who we do life with but I am convinced that who we journey with in this life matters. May our life on this campus be lived intentionally and may our commitment to our fellow Hornets be more than words.

Blessings on us all,


Posted in Katrina

Pay It Forward

When I arrived in the summer of 1988 to begin work as the Catholic Campus Minister at Lynchburg College, John Eccles was one of the first people I met. John and AJ invited my husband, our two young sons, and I over to their home for a shared meal. It was the first of many such occasions and a hallmark of Eccles hospitality. Over the 30 years that John and AJ Eccles have been associated with Lynchburg College, hundreds if not thousands of members of the LC family have been warmly welcomed into their beautiful home to enjoy delicious home cooked food, great conversation, and an opportunity to see firsthand what community looks like – up close and personal.

As most of us know by now, John and AJ will be retiring in June of 2016. Many of us are still a bit stunned, shocked, and saddened to imagine this campus without seeing them on a daily basis. And yet we are also so very grateful to have had them involved in our lives for so long, and we feel it would be a bit selfish to deny them the opportunity to enjoy this next season of their marriage. John and AJ are project people: creative and skilled in crafting beauty inside their home as well out outside in gardens and landscapes. They have cultivated deep and abiding friendships near and far and will now have more opportunities to enjoy these relationships. And above all else, they will have more time and energy to savor special moments with their three married children, each of their spouses, and their three precious granddaughters.

In the months between now and June we will have many opportunities to thank John and AJ for all they have given to our campus. And in that same time frame we will have opportunities to prepare ourselves for the transition to new leadership. One of the greatest gifts we can offer to John and AJ is to “pay it forward” by offering to others what we have received so generously from them. Many of us have appreciated their humor, even in times of stress. Let us learn to take ourselves lightly in the days ahead, especially when the impending loss feels heavy and overwhelming. Others have come to appreciate the particular care and individualized attention that both John and AJ have offered to students who come to them for guidance and instruction. May we commit ourselves to being intentional in our own relationships with those in need, listening well and carefully to their stories, and responding with kindness and with compassion. And as John and AJ have shared their sense of family, literally and figuratively with our entire campus, may we prepare our hearts and minds to be warm, welcoming, and embracing of whoever is chosen to take their places among us.

May the gratitude for all that we have received far outweigh the grief for what we will be losing. May we honor their legacy by living out the very best of what they have taught us in word and in deed.

In the words of Dag Hammarskjöld: “For all that has been, Thank you. For all that is to come, Yes!”

Peace, Anne

Posted in Anne

Prays Well With Others

I am tired, but joyful today. Yesterday was the Spiritual Life Fair in the Dell, and if you missed it, you missed a great event. If you were there, I hope you will wear your T-Shirt often.

My vision for Spiritual Life at Lynchburg College is for every student to be able to grow in his or her spiritual life while at LC. I believe that the Spiritual Life Center should provide a broad variety of opportunities for students of all faiths and non-faiths to investigate the “big questions” of life, worship, study and prayer. I am committed to LC serving as a safe place to explore one’s own tradition and other traditions. I believe that through dialogue with others you become more able to articulate your own beliefs. Even though I have now been an ordained Disciples of Christ Pastor for more than 20 years, I hope that the campus provides opportunities for our Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, LDS, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, and Orthodox Students, alongside all flavors of Christianity.

Yesterday the Spiritual Life Center staff had the opportunity to gather informally with students in the Dell to make a beaded cross for your residence hall room or a mezuzah for the door. Others colored mandalas, and a few people actually walked the labyrinth. It might have been too intimidating to walk in reflection in the middle of the Dell. I admit I was too “busy” to be too reflective.

If you missed the opportunity to sign up for Bible Study or a ride to church, please email us about opportunities. If you missed the chance to meet one of our group advisors, check out the website: http://www.lynchburg.edu/student-life/spiritual-life/, to find out the contact information for the group or groups you are interested in. If you want to worship on campus, you can find out about all three worship opportunities on Sundays on the webpage as well.

My favorite memory of the fair yesterday (although the shrimp were a close second) was watching the Spiritual Life staff and associates handing out T-shirts. The staff and our ministry partners have fairly diverse beliefs and certainly do not agree with one another on everything, but we have mutual respect for one another and understand that it takes us all to serve the diversity of our LC students. I talk about our bottom line being that we agree to “Pray Well With Others.” It’s not my own phrase – I borrowed it off the coaster at the Spiritual Life Center, but I hope that you will join us this year, in a way that you find meaningful, and that allows you to both share your faith and learn from the faith of another.

Blessings, Stephanie

Posted in Stephanie

Exhausted and Exhilarated – Pooped Out and Pumped Up!

We’ve not even completed a full week of class and many of us are already looking forward to fall break. Last week many teams and organizations returned early to campus for a time of training, orientation, and practice in order to ready for the new year, and it was a time of intense planning and preparation.

I have been fortunate to participate in two such programs. The first was the 6th Annual John G. Eccles Leadership Summit, named for our beloved Dean of Students. Student leaders from groups as diverse as Residence Life, Enrollment Student Ambassadors, Student Judicial Board, and the Bonner Leader Program came together and crossed their usual organizational boundaries in order to work collectively on a variety of engaging and interactive activities. As mosaics were created, we learned the value of partnerships. As Jenga blocks were carefully dismantled, we had frank conversations about the need to dismantle prejudice, bias, and discrimination. As teams competed with one another to create structures that would safely launch eggs from the balcony of Hall Campus Center to the plaza below, we learned the importance of teamwork, communication, and problem solving. A final activity was to have various teams brainstorm and strategize ways to increase school spirit on campus, and thus was born the current campaign: “On Friday we wear RED!”

Following the Summit, the current Bonner Leader students had their own time of orientation. Three senior interns carefully planned exercises and activities that would be both challenging and fun. Students explored their own downtown community by competing in a creative scavenger hunt. The beauty of our own Claytor Nature Study Center was enjoyed as we held our annual Bonner Olympics, shared special stories around a campfire, ate s’mores, slept outside on the porch (quick disclaimer, I slept on a real bed in the eco-village lodge), cooked-out, and returned to campus to help move in our newest Hornets. We also traveled to visit the New Community Project in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a sustainable living homestead that combines organic gardening and programs to undo global warming, with outreach to those at the margins of the community. We left with a promise to return over fall break to assist them in their efforts.

Many faculty and staff, coaches and advisors have had similar experiences the last couple weeks, and we know that odd but very real combination of being completely exhausted at day’s end but exhilarated once again by the energy and Hornet buzz that accompanies every new year at Lynchburg College. So if you find yourself pooped out right now, I hope you can balance that with a sense of being pumped up also at the promise and potential, the opportunities and the options, the privilege and the blessing of being a member of the Lynchburg College family. Welcome to the New Year!

Peace, Anne

Posted in Anne

Prayers for a New Semester

My five-year-old starts Kindergarten today. She had a very hard time going to sleep last night because she was so excited, so worried, so conflicted about all the possibilities. Should you ride the bus for an hour to go 1.6 miles? Should you pack your lunch or eat at school. Will you get to sit beside the one other little girl you met so far? Will your sister ever be quiet so you can sleep? What if you can’t get to sleep and you are tired . . . . I watched her turn into a queen worrier before my eyes. Just three days ago I was confident in her ability to go to school and not get derailed by the newness. I am not so sure right now.

Working Check-in yesterday it was very easy to pick out our newest students. The level of apprehension was different in the folks heading down the hallway towards IT and Financial Aid for the first time and those walking confidently down the hall mumbling about having done this before. Everyone new or returning got a new Hornet Handbook.

I started thinking about my own attitude as we get ready for another year. I am excited about some new opportunities that are shaping up. I am thrilled that the chapel organ renovation is on the horizon. I am excited to work with 14 new advisees. I try not to dread the on call rotations that started Wednesday, because no matter how much I feel called to be with hurting students as they find the way through our local medical facilities, no one wants to leave a perfectly comfortable sleep at 2 in the morning. I have a few fears about what might be this fall—will everyone be safe—will all of our students stay healthy— will I handle every situation the way I am expected to. Where are you, as you return for the new semester?

I pray that we are all healthy and happy. I pray that our community excels academically, has new levels of curiosity and asks the difficult questions. I pray that we treat each other with gentleness, giving grace for bad days yet holding one another accountable for clarity and honesty and the “values that guideth.” May we know the joys of victory and celebrate accomplishments of all shapes and sizes. May we count each other as family and live up to all the ways we brag about the LC environment. May it be a year of blessings, teamwork and vision. AMEN.

Blessings, Stephanie

Posted in Stephanie

Savor the Moments

Already this has been a summer of much travel for me. In May and June, we enjoyed a family weekend in Asheville, NC followed by work-related conferences at Marymount and Davidson Colleges. This month my husband and I put almost 6,000 miles on our car going cross country to visit family and friends in Tennessee, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas. I just returned from a long weekend celebrating a wedding in upstate New York, and I leave later this week for Haiti to reconnect with dear friends as part of our ongoing partnership there. And I am so excited to introduce that wonderful place to my oldest son and his fiancé.

I am a little embarrassed to admit to all this travel, especially since I know it is a true luxury to be able to get away. I try to remember what a real privilege it is to leave home and explore the world.

I have also enjoyed trips vicariously through pictures, Facebook posts and blogs shared by others. Students, faculty and staff on Study Abroad trips that have visited countries in Africa, South America, Asia, and Europe, have inspired me. I can’t wait to hear all their stories up close and personal upon their return to campus.

For those who either are unable to travel or who prefer being closer to home, “staycations” are becoming more popular. One such person is an LC grad who directs a non-profit and also has young children. Each day of their staycation found them enjoying a local activity such as Amazement Square (children’s museum), bowling, or Miller Park pool and then practicing a random act of kindness. Sweet gestures including making goodies and cards for firefighters, paying it forward by buying dessert for strangers in a restaurant and taking pet treats to the local humane society. I love how this woman’s children are learning at a young age to balance enjoyment for themselves and service to others.

If you are reading this column and have had your own adventures this summer either close to home or far away, I hope your time away was enriching, rewarding, and renewing. If you have yet to leave but have plans to go out and explore, I hope you travel safely and enjoyably. Finally, if we know of people who for a variety of reasons aren’t able to enjoy staycations at home or vacations away, perhaps we can find creative ways to bring a little adventure to them. Invite them to go for a weekend drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enjoy a movie together in AC on a hot summer evening. Share an ice-cream cone at Mr. Goodies or Maylynn’s. Walk together on the Blackwater Creek bike trail. Cheer on the Hillcats at City Stadium. Even simple activities have the potential to bring joy and appreciation to others, especially when they are shared in a spirit of friendship and camaraderie.

August will be here before we know it and another academic year will soon be upon us. In the meantime let’s savor whatever moments we have to rejuvenate our own spirits and to help renew the spirits of those around us.

Peace, Anne

Posted in Anne

Welcome to the Real World

Summer for me is always a time of transition and recharging. My teaching and campus ministry duties are given a small break, and I am able to plan for the upcoming academic year. It also brings changes and growth for our graduating students and our own children as they venture onto new challenges with careers, new schools, and life.

This month my own three children have experienced transitions in their lives. As a mom, I guess that means I have too! My 22-year-old daughter, Nan, having embarked on a new post grad career, has moved into a new house in the Fan district in Richmond, VA. Just finding an affordable place, renting an U-Haul truck four times, coordinating with her two roommates and landlord on a move-in date, and having their home pass required needed inspections for occupancy posed ridiculous challenges. Her new consulting job is piece of cake by comparison! Forget the business degree she acquired; her life skills and negotiating talents were definitely put to good use. College certainly helped her to navigate the everyday grind of life’s happenings. Welcome to the real world! Read more ›

Posted in Kaky

Well Done

Every year at this time I have such bittersweet feelings, as a hectic year comes to a close and graduates begin their transition away from Lynchburg College. I am both exhausted and excited, grieving and yet grateful. I turn to this short reflection every Commencement week because it resonates so much to my own experience. I’m not sure who wrote it but I’m guessing they worked at a place much like our own Hornet Hive and I hope their words speak to you as well:

For many of you, these weeks are filled with exciting exits for your grads and others,
leaving you sitting in your office or some quiet place
wondering how the year went by so fast and how you feel kind of lonely, a bit left out and likely real tired.

Well done, good and faithful and creative and talented and accountable and underpaid
and very much appreciated changers of lives
(even if some of those changed lives don’t stop by to tell you so).

Get some rest, grieve as needed, rejoice as able,
keep the faith, do the job, and ask for help.

Thank you to all LC students and staff, faculty and administration for your faithfulness to our community. Have a blessed and renewing summer!

Peace, Anne

Posted in Anne