Spiritual Life on Campus in Trying Times

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“Developing spiritual strength, understanding our values while having the courage to live consistently with them, being called to fulfill what we consider to be our purpose, and operating with compassion and empathy is always a challenge. This challenge comes more to the forefront during unprecedented times like the ones we are in,” says Rev. Dr. Gail Cantor, Chaplain at Endicott College and Interfaith Minister. Cantor is also the director of the Department of Spiritual Life at Endicott College, which intends to provide pathways for our students to meet these challenges. 

“One thing we each can do is build our faith. Some of us have a specific faith tradition or religion that is essential to us or that we participate in,” Cantor continues. With Spiritual Life at Endicott, students can find out about the variety of services being offered in the area. Cantor is a member of the Beverly Multifaith Coalition and knows the clergy members in Beverly and around the North Shore so that Endicott students can find a place of worship that they can feel comfortable with.  

Within the department, there are vibrant organizations students can take part in. The Christian Community of Endicott College is a robust group supported by Mollie Clark, a campus minister from Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Weekly this community, led by strong student leaders, offers a fellowship meeting, a prayer meeting, and a Bible study. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, they have moved to a virtual format but have plans to offer even more this fall with the addition of virtual retreats and other events.

The Jewish Community of Endicott College is small, but mighty. Every Friday evening at 5 p.m., they offer a virtual Shabbat ritual to create a pause between the practical activities of the week and the spiritual concerns of the Sabbath. Their focus this year is the idea of “Tikkun Olam,” which translates from the Hebrew to “healing the world.” Hillel International recently granted Endicott a student intern who will work with Jewish students to understand their needs.

Beyond the specific organizations, Spiritual Life will always make accommodations for students of any faith to have what they need to worship on campus in a way that suits them. 

“This year, I will be leading a weekly Interfaith Inspiration Service every Sunday at 7:30 p.m.,” says Cantor. “This service will be an opportunity for everyone to come together virtually and share through poetry, prayer, story, and music inspiration and encouragement to create in the week ahead.”

Spiritual Life at Endicott also offers meditation to students, staff, faculty, and alumni. “Gulls Pause is an initiative that we started a few years ago to encourage everyone on campus to take a pause, to look inward, to take a break,” says Cantor. This year, Endicott is offering even more opportunities for meditation by training 12 student leaders in Freedom Meditation. “This meditation supports people in visualizing who they intend to become and then supports them to create the focus and intention and inspiration to keep unfolding that direction,” she continues. “They learn about letting go of what does not support the direction they intend. It is also designed to build community and engagement with others, and supports the development of confidence.”  These student leaders will be available to lead this fall and will also be setting up group meetings. 

This is only a small sample of what is being offered at Spiritual Life. Cantor is also available to any student who feels that they need support on their spiritual path or simply needs a person to talk to during challenging times.    
Endicott Chapel