Exploring faith during Lent
During the forty days of Lent, nearly 80 students, faculty and staff members at Bluffton University have come together to focus on their faith.
“It’s great to do something intentional during Lent,” said Tig Intagliata, campus pastor. “We get to reflect on faith during the season of Lent with other people of other faith backgrounds—to learn and share and see Jesus in a new light.”
For the second year in a row, Bluffton has offered weekly small group sessions with a focus on Lent. This year, nine groups have formed and are led by a wide variety of faculty and staff members, from professors to admissions officials. The program is growing in popularity. Participation has increased by 50 percent.
“This is an opportunity to connect with my faith while connecting with others at the same time,” said Courtney Duer ’17, a social work major from Delphos, Ohio. “I get something different out of the group every time we meet. It’s interesting to hear the different perspectives people get after reading the same thing.”
Duer is part of the small group led by Shari Ayers, director of the Center for Career and Vocation. The group meets every Thursday over lunch in the library. Ayers starts the sessions with an icebreaker and makes homemade soup for the students to try before delving into deep conversation. Two student volunteers lead the discussion each week.
“It’s great for faculty and staff and students to connect on a slightly different level, where we explore higher questions around faith,” said Ayers.
The groups are using the book “Rediscover Jesus” by Matthew Kelly to facilitate conversation. Chapter themes include “New Beginnings” and “The Heart of the Gospel” and each chapter ends with a point to ponder, a verse to live by, questions to consider and a closing prayer.
The faculty/staff facilitators serve as mentors “but the learning is mutual,” said Intagliata. “We learn from each other.”
It’s great for faculty and staff and students to connect on a slightly different level, where we explore higher questions around faith."