Chaplain Kathleen Buckley: A Ministry of Hospitality
was a "baptism by fire" of sorts for new St. Lawrence Chaplain
Kathleen BuckleyÑshe arrived late last summer, and less than
three weeks into the fall term the World Trade Center and Pentagon were
"I didn't even know where the candles were kept," she says.
"But I was impressed, and continue to be impressed, by the care
and cooperation I found from every part of the St. Lawrence community.
When it became known we wanted to do a service the night of the attacks,
students, faculty and staff filed in or called to offer help."
Thus it was that on the evening of September 11, not 12 hours after
the attacks began, Rev. Buckley was able to lead a Service of Compassion,
complete with a printed program, music and speakers from the Christian,
Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist traditions.
"Hospitality is at the core of my ministry," says Buckley,
who came to St. Lawrence from the chaplaincy at Skidmore College. "I
want people to talk and learn from each other and practice spiritual
principles that enable us to deepen our connections with one another
and with the Earth, and with all life." She defines spirituality
as "that which moves us toward wholeness, which invites us to explore
what nurtures our spirit in the broadest way possible. That's an area
that has not been systematically explored on many campuses in recent
history," she adds.
Buckley has also been Protestant chaplain at Union College. A graduate
of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she earned her Master
of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield,
Ill., and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church.
To activate her philosophy, Buckley has introduced weekly meditation
sessions, labyrinth walks (a form of meditation), and such special events
as a United Nations interfaith service for peace and a "blessing
of the animals," to which people were invited to bring their pets.
To the traditional Christmas Candlelight Service liturgy she added songs
in Swahili and Croatian so worshippers could "experience rich Christian
traditions from around the world."
She also instituted observances of the Hindu celebration Divali and
of the winter solstice last fall. "My goal is to have an interfaith
ministry," she says, "so we can learn to respect a variety
of religious and spiritual traditions." - NSB
Adapted from the Spring 2002 ParentScope.