From Oct. 5-Nov. 9, Eastern Mennonite University engages in a series of events highlighting sexuality and themes of abuse and healing, spirituality and wholeness. A range of campus experts and visitors will provide lectures and guide discussions. The final event will be a service of lament with Professor Jerry Holsopple, who spent his 2015 sabbatical engaged in the creation of artwork around these themes. "Shattered Trinity: The Broken Table" was the centerpiece of an exhibit titled "7 x 7 Laments: For An Age of Sexualized Power."

EMU’s fall Sexuality Series addresses spirituality, healing and wholeness

The fall Sexuality Series at Eastern Mennonite University brings together campus experts with authors and advocates from a variety of settings to address sexuality, spirituality, healing and wholeness.

“With this series, Campus Ministries is contributing to campus conversations with resources to reflect on these themes,” says Brian Martin Burkholder, campus pastor. “Hopefully this approach opens discussion and engagement. We’re eager to see if there is interest in continuing the series into spring semester.”

Adds Ken L. Nafziger, vice president for student life and dean of students, who is one of the speakers: “In the midst of appropriately heightened concern about sexual assaults on college campuses, this sexuality series adds an important perspective and holistic emphasis that moves beyond safe sex towards an exploration of the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of truly knowing your partner.”

Author Debra Hirsch has been in ministry in Australia and the United States for more than 20 years.

The series opens Oct. 5 with Professor Carolyn Stauffer presenting a chapel talk on “Sex & Millennials: #NewScripts,” a spiritual and relational framing for sexuality. Stauffer, who teaches in the Applied Social Science Department and in the MA in Biomedicine program, has spent much of her career listening to women on three continents tell of violence in their lives. Her three-year “Silent Violence” project researched the resilience of domestic abuse survivors from within communities of homeless women, undocumented Latinas and Mennonite women from Old Order or conservative church communities.

Author Debra Hirsch comes to campus on Oct. 7 for a chapel and two discussions with students. Hirsch has been in ministry in Australia and the United States for more than 20 years. A resident of an intentional community in Los Angeles, she is the author of Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations about Sexuality and Spirituality and coauthor of Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship. She also serves on the leadership team of the Forge Missions Training Network and on the board for Missio Alliance.

EMU SafeSpace storytellers share during an Oct. 19 chapel. SafeSpace is an on-campus organization that affirms “people of all sexual orientations,” and creates “a space to engage respectfully with students, faculty and administrators as a presence in the EMU community for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning community, creating safe dialogue on the issue of homosexuality,” according to their webpage.

Nafziger, a psychologist who both practiced and worked with doctoral students on research projects, will address “Faithful Sexuality in an Age of Porn.” His Oct. 28 talk will provide examples from real clients and address such questions as: Is porn a form of safe sex, how does porn affect the brain and real sex, and is porn the norm for more exciting sex?

Professor Jerry Holsopple, shown here during a reception for his 2015 art exhibit about sexual abuse and the church, will lead a service of lament during the Nov. 9 chapel to end the Sexuality Series.

Father Tom Doyle, a Catholic priest who has worked with survivors of priest sex abuse for more than three decades, gives a 40-minute presentation Nov. 7 in Martin Chapel on “The Spiritual Impact of Sexual Abuse in Religious Contexts.”

Professor Jerry Holsopple, who explored sexual abuse and the culpability of the church during a 2015 sabbatical, closes the fall series Nov. 9 with a service of lament for sexual abuse in religious contexts.


Oct. 5 Chapel: Dr. Carolyn Stauffer presents “Sex & Millennials: #NewScripts,” a spiritual and relational framing for sexuality.

Oct. 7: Join pastor and author Debra Hirsch for chapel reflections on “Sexuality and Spirituality: a longing to be known” at 10 a.m.; for “Naked Conversations about Sexuality and Spirituality” from 4-5 p.m. in Science Center 106; and for Questions After Dark [a space for students to anonymously ask questions] at 8 p.m. in Cedarwood’s second floor lounge.

Oct. 19 Chapel: EMU Safe Space storytellers reflect on “Queer and Christian?” personal experiences of wrestling with God, faith and the church.

Oct. 28 Chapel: Dr. Ken L. Nafziger addresses “Faithful Sexuality in an Age of Porn.”

Nov. 2 Chapel: Take Back the Night committee.

Nov. 4 Chapel: Take Back the Night and Coalition on Sexual Violence Prevention.

Nov. 7: Father Tom Doyle speaks on “The Spiritual Impact of Sexual Abuse in Religious Contexts” from 7:30-9 p.m. at Martin Chapel in the seminary.

Nov. 9 Chapel: Professor Jerry Holsopple leads a “Service of Lament for Sexual Abuse in Religious Contexts.”

Discussion on “EMU’s fall Sexuality Series addresses spirituality, healing and wholeness

  1. Praying for you all as you present on this often difficult, but needed, topic. May our Lord and His Word give you the words to say and may The Holy Spirit guide the discussions that follow.

Comments are closed.