Students come to the Office of Religious Life for support in differing ways: some come seeking a deeper connection with their faith traditions, others seek to explore alternative spiritual paths; and still others need assistance discerning the inner foundations of their outward commitments. Earlham College seeks to provide assistance, support, and encouragement to these students in a variety of ways. Specifically, Religious Life assists students by providing guidance in contemplative inquiry, opportunities for dialogue, sponsoring celebratory communal events, and supporting a host of opportunities which enable students to put their most cherished beliefs into daily practice.
Contemplation. The Religious Society of Friends has long believed that an essential part of life is played out in the stillness and silence of solitude. Therefore, Earlham provides the time and space for periods of silence, self-reflection and prayer and also offers some opportunities for individual pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. The Office of Religious Life cannot provide spiritual direction for each and every student but does attempt to find the appropriate resources (either on campus or within the wider community) which best serve an individual student’s needs. By emphasizing the importance of prayerful discernment and guided self-reflection, Earlham hopes that students will be more fully prepared for the personal, academic and vocational decisions they will encounter on the road to a life of simplicity, integrity and truth-seeking.
Exploration. The Statement on Religious Life at Earlham College emphasizes the importance of establishing a community in which its members “become good students of one another’s cultures and practices.” Religious Life can, and should, play a vital role in ensuring that this objective is reached by facilitating ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, bringing speakers from diverse traditions to campus, and providing opportunities for faculty and students to work collaboratively or share their most meaningful experiences with one another. Such dialogues have the potential to foster respect and deepen understanding across differences, as well as to clarify or transform one’s own beliefs, values, and practices. In addition, such dialogues assist students in developing a working understanding of the natural alliance between faith and reason. As one way of fostering dialogue between students on matters of ultimate concern, the Office of Religious Life actively encourages, supports, and promotes Earlham’s student religious organizations. These organizations provide an essential mediating link between the College and the individual student. Developing the strength and vitality of student religious organizations is of primary importance in ensuring that a diverse community of dialogue is achieved.
Celebration. For many students, the spiritual life is neither a solitary one, nor a purely intellectual exercise, but is naturally made manifest in shared public worship, celebration, and/or ritual. Earlham’s Office of Religious Life is devoted to, whenever possible, providing the space, opportunities and resources for times to celebrate or commemorate the joys and sorrows of a life of faith. Observation of religious holidays and participation in communal gatherings, celebrations and other outward expressions of one’s deepest commitments are encouraged, supported and actively promoted by the Office of Religious Life.
Practice. A life of faith finds its natural fruition in activity and practice. Earlham is a place where students encounter many opportunities to interweave the life of the spirit and action. It is hoped that students will discover that their engagement of the world constitutes a mutually transformative encounter in which actions serve to develop and deepen one’s own integrity and character as well as further the cause for social justice. Activities such as service learning projects, volunteer programs, faith-based internships and off-campus study all allow students to test and forge their beliefs and commitments in real world settings while working toward the common good. The Office of Religious Life ensures that interested students are aware of the many opportunities available, assists students in finding those activities for which they are most well-suited and provides opportunities for theological reflection on these experiences.
Nurturing Earlham as a Quaker Place
The Newlin Quaker Center aims to identify young Quaker leaders, nurture Quaker scholarship and dialogue
on campus, and provide members of the Earlham and wider communities with information about the Religious
Society of Friends and Earlham’s living Quaker character. More broadly, the Center aims to promote conversation
and cooperation among Friends, and to provide a gathering place for Friends across theological and cultural
At the Newlin Quaker Center, we focus on Quaker-related events and programs on campus. The Quaker Fellows
Scholarship Program is also facilitated by the Center, providing support to students participating in the program
as they focus on spiritual formation, community formation, and leadership formation. The Newlin Quaker Center
is housed within Virginia Cottage, which is also the home of the Office of Religious Life, our corner of campus
is a beautiful and tranquil place that provides hospitality and encourages reflection and spiritual renewal. The
Cottage has a kitchen and two comfortable gathering rooms, which are available for your use — reservations are
needed — we encourage campus-wide use of the facility.
The Newlin Quaker Center is located in Virginia Cottage, just north of the Public Safety Office. Virginia Cottage
was the residence of Virginia and Elton Trueblood.
To reserve the living room or garden room, contact Virginia Cottage at 765-983-1413.
The Office of Religious Life offers a variety of programs spanning the gamut of religious and spiritual opportunity. Multi-faith services, dinners and programs are offered frequently. Students also are encouraged to get involved in the religious life in the greater Richmond Community. Religious Life has a listing of all the churches, meetings and religious opportunities available in the area.
Student Organizations Related to Faith
- Baha'i Club
- Buddhism Club
- College Meeting for Worship Cabinet
- Earlham Christian Fellowship (ECF)
- Earlham Young Friends
- Jewish Student Union
- Muslim Student Association
- Questing Catholics
- Unitarian Universalists
The Center for Integrated Learning (CIL) helps students discover the gifts and passions that will allow them to make a unique contribution to the world and to provide them the opportunities to gain concrete skills, knowledge and experience that will lead to the achievement of their vocational and service aspirations. The CIL Office includes the Career Education, Civic Engagement and Sustainability offices.
Goals of the Center for Integrated Learning include:
- Furnish students with broad opportunities to explore service and vocation interests.
- Assist students in the identification and recognition of their gifts, interests and aptitudes, aiding in the exploration of value and meaning as it relates to vocation and service.
- Assist students develop a life direction in order to make informed choices about activities, courses, majors, post-graduate work and study.
- Help students become effective members of the community while at Earlham College and beyond as they enter the workforce as alumni.
College is a time for learning, maturing, and developing or deepening a worldview. It is a time to clarify commitments and focus energies, to discover new worlds and possibilities. For many it is a time of discerning a life trajectory, getting a sense of direction and beginning to gather experiences and skills that will assist in moving forward. The staff of the CIL understands this process of life discernment happens throughout and beyond college, and wants very much to offer our expertise and assistance to current students and alumni of the College. There are a large number of programs and resources that can be helpful in this process of self-discovery:
- Vocational discernment
- Service opportunities
- Job search assistance
- Alumni resources
- 1-1 Consultations
The Office of Civic Engagement Service Opportunities
Earlham has had a longstanding commitment to volunteer service. Students are involved locally, nationally and internationally with direct service, humanitarian assistance and campaigns for social justice. Equipping and encouraging students to engage in such activities is one of the ways the college strives to achieve its mission “to educate morally sensitive leaders for future generations.”
The Office of Civic Engagement assists students to find and learn from opportunities to serve in the community. In addition to helping students locate service sites, the office also offers opportunities to develop useful skills, reflect on their service experiences, participate in leadership development activities and consider how service experiences might inform choices of majors and career paths.
The Office of Civic Engagement also provides a free shuttle every weekday afternoon to transport students to local nonprofits, schools and internship sites in Richmond and Eastern Wayne County.
Bonner Scholars Program
The Bonner Scholars Program is a four-year developmental leadership program rooted in community service. Supported by the Bonner Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, the Bonner Scholarship provides tuition and summer support for 15 Earlham students from each class year who demonstrate a commitment to community service. These students, in turn, provide leadership to local nonprofits.
Internships are a wonderful way for current students and recent graduates to gain real-life work experience in conjunction and alongside their classroom education.
To find out more about serving in Richmond & Wayne County, stop by the Office of Civic Engagement, 1st floor of the Landrum Bolling Center, next to the elevator.