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Stories

2015 Spring Reception

The Religious Studies Department gathered in Adobe Lodge for the annual spring reception on Wednesday, May 20. As always, it was a relaxing and enjoyable pause in the rush towards the end of the school year.


Jonathan Homrighausen ('15) receives an award during the annual reception.

  We celebrated the near-completion of another year, honored our graduating majors and minors, welcomed the new members of Theta Alpha Kappa, presented awards, and enjoyed an Italian-themed dinner and conversation with one another. Beyond the general celebration, two highlights characterized the evening. The first was Sally Vance-Trembath's musings on her vocation as a theologian.

  In a beautifully evocative reflection, Vance-Trembath spoke of growing up on the prairie--the simple but lush grasslands that cradled the Mississippi River in Iowa and framed the important places she knew as a child: parks, the cemetery where her father was buried, and the outdoor theater where she came to know and love Shakespeare. The strong prairie grass, Vance-Trembath shared, is a metaphor for her vocation: "a sturdy creature that took a long time to bloom and that survived many attempts to crowd it out and even kill it." she related the power of liturgy, of community, and of mystery that guided and sustained her vocation, nurtured in her family and its own story of loss and hope. A similar power was in the theater, which nurtured her desire to learn and her path to college and the professorate. In each place, a strong sense of community carried her along.


Amia Nash, Professor Teresia Hinga and RS guest attend the spring reception.

  The other highlight was the reflections of graduating majors and minors, who spoke movingly about their experiences in the department. Many spoke of their unexpected turn to the department, swayed by a transformative classroom experience with an inspiring teacher who taught them to think in new ways and sustained by mentors who shepherded their growth and curiosity as majors and minors. In a time when it is easy to be cynical about higher education, especially in the Humanities, this year's graduates reminded faculty why they teach and provided evidence that the future is in good hands!

religious studies