Work It: Spiritual and Religious Life

Junior Taizé Intern Katie Mueller.

Photo by Anton Zemba.

Sabin House is dedicated to making Lawrence a more faith-friendly school and providing a safe space for the community to have conversations about multiple religions and faiths. Its doors are open daily for students from 8 a.m. to midnight and is open to the public from 5-8 p.m. There are multiple unique positions for students interested in pursuing religious service experience. Juniors Katie Mueller and Michaela McElroy and Senior Emily Midyette shared their fun work experience at Sabin House. 

Mueller is a Taizé Intern. Taizé is a form of service that involves meditation, chanting, singing and prayer rooted in Christian tradition. Mueller writes and leads services which have evolved over the past two years. Her services are based on a theme and incorporate liturgy and poetry. Mueller likes conversation and dialogue that comes out of spirituality. 

When she applied, she had to write about her spirituality and religious background and what drew her to Taizé. At the time, she did not know much about Taizé, but she knew she was open to having conversations about multiple faiths. Mueller believes becoming a pastor is her calling because she loves community and wants to create a space where she can help individuals find their community. 

She plays piano for the local church, is an intern off campus and sings for the choir and opera. The most challenging part of her job is explaining what Taizé is and sometimes forgetting to prepare for services. She typically works six hours every two weeks. For Mueller, meeting the people in the community has been meaningful and learning how ministry works has been the best part of the job. Mueller recommends the job to anyone who is flexible, delightful, open minded and seeking to make connections.

Midyette is an Interfaith Activator. Her main responsibilities involve event planning for open houses, making posters, dealing with finances and helping student organizations organize events. Her first job in Sabin house entailed house maintenance, planning a library and creating a cookbook. She has been working in Sabin house for two years. 

She loves that her job involves creative freedom and gives her the ability to be a part of the culture. She attended two interfaith group meetings and at the end of her sophomore year, she applied on what used to be LU Works and had an interview with coordinator of the house. For Middyette, being an Interfaith Activator means bringing people of different religious faiths together to have conversations and find a common goal. In the office, she can be found sending emails and coordinating meetings. 

Midyette’s favorite part of the job is planning because she enjoys being organized and juggling various tasks and seeing the end result. The most difficult parts of her job are challenges that arise in an office setting, like miscommunication and failing to coordinate schedules. Middyette was a CORE Leader, an overnight host and worked at the YMCA. She is currently on the Baccalaureate Committee, Mortor Board senior honor society and the LU Geological Society (LUGS). Midyette believes the best qualities someone in her position can have are patience, strong time management skills and openness to learning other religious practice.

McElroy is an Interfaith Activator. Her role is to bring awareness to, and sometimes create opportunities for, Lawrence students to gain a greater understanding of the world’s religions and belief systems. She has been an Interfaith Activator for her entire sophomore year and Fall Term her junior year. 

She’s been studying abroad for Winter and Spring Term her junior year but will return senior year. She has become more aware of her Christian faith and discovered ways of how she can use her faith to connect with people of different religions. She works five hours a week. She is involved in Food Recovery Network, She’s the First, KidsGive, Globemed and the Lawrence Christian Fellowship. 

McElroy volunteers at Even Start Family Literacy Council and the Mission Church. She was a Food Recovery Network co-president, which was a paid position, and recently became a content tutor for the Center for Academic Success. Getting to know her co-workers is the most challenging part because everyone works at different times. The most valuable thing she has learned is how to work independently. It is okay to constantly be learning, especially with something like religion. 

No one will ever know everything about one religion, let alone all world religions, so mistakes will happen, and that’s okay as long as you are willing to keep learning. The opportunity to continuously engage with other religions and beliefs makes people look at the world differently, and that’s a benefit to this job McElroy believes everyone should have.