Like many, Westminster College’s Office for Global Peace and Spirituality has had to shift its operations to mostly virtual platforms this year. The Forum spoke with Jan Saeed, the director of spiritual life, to discuss the role the office is playing in students’ wellbeing amid a pandemic.
“[COVID-19] has changed everyone’s life in a way of really having that time for reflection that is personal and one-on-one and that connection with the creator and why are we here?” Saeed said. “Everyone is kind of going through these levels of spiritual awakening and questioning.”
The GPS Office is offering individual Zoom meetings for students who want to discuss shifting spiritual views or connect with local spiritual communities.
The office has also been hosting virtual “Heart Talks” about race unity since June, with the final meeting on Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. The recurring Coexist Café events have been moved online as well.
As part of the “Courageous Pluralism Project,” the students and staff of the GPS Office have created a list of guidelines to promote understanding and connection between polarized parties. The guidelines are available on the office’s website and are particularly “recommended for Thanksgiving.”
For many, the pandemic has brought up difficult, existential questions about safety for loved ones and others. Saeed offered her perspective of integrating science and spirituality pertaining to COVID-19 stress.
“Right now, science is saying wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands,” Saeed said. “And from a spiritual standpoint, meditate, be patient, be considerate, be loving and compassionate to others that are struggling and pray.”
Listen to the full interview
Forum reporter Kate McMaster sat down with Jan Saeed to discuss how to foster understanding in divided times, COVID-19’s spiritual effects and how her personal spiritual view informs her outlook on the pandemic. You can listen to the latest episode of Office Hours on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and Spotify.