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Making space for rest and renewal

Tiffany Steinwert, dean for religious and spiritual life, invites the community to slow down and reflect, the better to foster grace, hope, and peace before moving on toward fall. The Office for Religious & Spiritual Life offers opportunities for reflection and resources to support the wide range of faith traditions and world views in the Stanford community.

Dear Stanford community,

As I look toward to the remaining summer before us, I am reminded of a poem by David Mauzy titled Refurbished Souls. The poem recalls the magic of the season to reveal “glimmers of grace,” those moments of hope and wonder we race past during the full tilt of the academic year. Indeed, there is something about these months that invite us to slow down, to pause, to reflect on what matters most. As our calendars clear and campus life shifts, we, too, have an opportunity to find renewal.

Tiffany L. Steinwert, dean for religious life at Stanford University. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

The toll of the past few years has left its mark on us all. We need to catch our breaths, to stop and savor for a moment the beauty that is all around us as we create space to refurbish our own souls. Summer is a time when we have a rare moment to foster grace, hope, peace … radical renewal before we move on toward fall.

In these few weeks, we are called to slow down, to linger longer, and to be present in the moment. Here at the Office for Religious & Spiritual Life, we have slowed down for the summer, choosing to limit which programs we offer to invite our campus community to linger longer in the ones we do provide. We invite you to join us for our University Public Worship Sacred Music Series on Sundays. Rather than sermons, services will center on the gifts of local choirs and musicians, offering a space for reflection amid the grandeur of Mem Chu.

Our diverse, global community at Stanford reflects many faith traditions and worldviews, and the summer months include religious observances for many of our classmates and colleagues. Those observed by the Stanford Associated Religions are listed on this Office for Religious & Spiritual Life calendar. This downloadable calendar includes an even broader list.

The journey is long and we cannot afford to exhaust ourselves attempting to reach our destination more quickly. If we don’t learn to slow down and enjoy the days we have, we might find in the end we are worse for the wear. As we look toward the fall, we must remind ourselves, that despite all the hype, we cannot do it all. Making choices is what will see us through. Slowing down allows us the opportunity to be truly present and fully experience the opportunities and possibilities of the moment before us.

This summer, how will you slow down? What choices will you make? How will you find rest and renewal?

The journey is long, but one we take together.

Tiffany Steinwert
Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life