Spiritual Life, Service & Heritage
Spiritual, Service & Heritage: Why It Matters
The University's slogan may be "Bring a Spark, Light a fire," but John Wesley, the founder of Methodism (and namesake of our school), emphasized that that fire represents not the end, but a beginning. Wesley wrote, "Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come from miles to watch your burn."
Enthusiasm refers to ultimate meaning in our lives. What is the broader meaning of our life? That is the most significant question each of us faces. Spiritual life on campus addresses that question in many ways.
Special all-campus worship each semester brings together musicians, poets, speakers, and readers of all faiths into a common time of meaningful worship. Weekly Bible studies, traditional worship, and student-led worship all are helpful opportunities to join together in fellowship, to meet with others, and to get perspective on one's studies. There are a number of churches immediately around campus, and many churches in the community that are very open to, and appreciative of, students joining in their life and worship.
Students can be a part of a "living and learning" community, in which they live in the same residence hall, take 1-2 religion courses together, and have the opportunity to discuss faith differences and spiritual growth in a safe zone.
The University's Department of Religious Studies is nationally known and offers engaging courses from a variety of different approaches. VWU's Center for Sacred Music is ranked in the top five programs in the United States, and students have the opportunity to study church music, to meet key figures from across the United States, and to help in a variety of musical venues. Through the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom, students can attend lectures or debates on campus where speakers from across the country and from throughout Hampton Roads come together to discuss intense issues.
In addition, students have the opportunity to enact their faith--or their concern for others--in very concrete ways. The Office of Community Service offers students both the opportunity to serve and to lead in programs that help children, the elderly, the poor, the hungry, and the homeless. The University's Portfolio Program also brings together education in the classroom and concrete experiences in the community, in ways which grow out of Wesleyan concern for bringing together the academic and the pragmatic, the theoretical and the applied.
Virginia Wesleyan aspires to be a supportive community that is "committed to social responsibility, ethical conduct, higher learning and religious freedom." In short, our Wesleyan values remind us both that the world does not revolve around us and that our lives are best understood in service to others.