Our response to the attack on Christchurch mosques: UPDATED

Dear students, colleagues and friends:

As you did, we awoke this morning to the tragic news of the attacks directed as mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Like you, we feel a deep sadness and sense of loss about this.

We feel an attack on Muslims is an attack on all people of faith—and ultimately on all humanity.

Stetson’s Muslim Student Association and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life will hold a Memorial Service to honor the lives lost during last week’s New Zealand shooting.

The service will be held Wednesday, March 20, at 8:00 p.m. in front of the CUB steps.

To our Muslim students, we want you to know that Stetson University’s chaplains stand with you. We are available to talk with you, to pray with you, to support you. Please reach out if you need anything. You can email us at stetsonchaplain@stetson.edu or call the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at 386-822-7403.

Student Counseling Services is also available to all Stetson students. After hours services are available. For details, visit the website.

To our brothers and sisters in the Volusia County Muslim community, you are in our prayers. We are present with you and we gladly stand alongside you as we work together for peace and justice.

Also, please see below a statement from the university’s Multicultural Student Council.

In unity,

Rev. Christy Correll-Hughes

Sensei Morris Doshin Sullivan

Stetson University Chaplains

From the MSC:

With the recent tragedy that occurred in New Zealand at the Christchurch Mosque, the Multicultural Student Council wanted to remind everyone that we are another campus resource for students, faculty, and staff to reach out to for support. Many people are at a loss of words and are hurting or confused by this calamity, which is normal in times like this. We encourage everyone to take a moment of silence this afternoon and have intentional thought about the recent events that have transpired around the world. During this time, remember the lives that were unnecessarily lost because of hatred and reflect on the opportunities that you have to make a positive difference in the world. You can contact us at msc@stetson.edu if you want help finding resources on campus to help you through this time.

You can also find resources and support at these locations on campus- Stetson University’s Cross Cultural CenterStetson University Religious & Spiritual Life, and Stetson Center for Community Engagement

Big Words: DEATH

Looking at the spiritual importance of the words we’ve considered so far since beginning our Big Words series last year, it’s hard to imagine a “bigger” word than this one: death.

Every human being will eventually die. To one extent or another, every religion deals with the question raised by that reality. Religions grapple with questions about the afterlife, about what happens during death itself and about how to prepare for our own death and the deaths of others. Some of these questions are spiritual—how to find meaning in mortality, for instance. Others deal with the practicalities of dying.

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life decided to add “death” to the this semester’s Big Words series after university president Dr. Wendy Libby mentioned to one of us that she felt our society shies away from the topic. And she is correct: Despite death’s inevitability, many of us avoid discussing it with our loved ones or our spiritual advisors until it is too late.

We won’t be able to handle all the big questions about death in one evening, of course. However, we can prepare our minds to explore the issue. We will begin our look at living and dying with help from two guest speakers, Christopher Bell, Ph.D. and Cheryl Lankford.

Dr. Bell is assistant professor of religious studies here at Stetson. He teaches courses in Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions and Asian culture. He has extensively studied the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and will talk about death from that perspective.

Ms. Lankford’s parents founded what is now Lankford Funeral Home in DeLand in 1950. She earned a degree in Mortuary Science in 1978, has more than 40 years in funeral home management and ownership.

Big Words: DEATH is this Thursday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. in Lee’s Garage. Cultural Credit is available for the event, and dinner (Southwestern Food!) will be served.