An Interfaith Journey

Spiritual Life exists at Warren Wilson College to support students on their journeys of spiritual formation, faith development, religious exploration, vocational discernment, and social justice engagement. We seek interfaith dialogue, creating opportunities for cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs.

In addition to religious groups that meet on a regular basis, Spiritual Life sponsors seasonal rituals, holidays and celebrations. We also provide programming for students who find their spiritual path outside organized religions, by offering opportunities to connect more deeply with oneself, or pursue the bigger questions of meaning and purpose. This is done in many ways:

  • art and music
  • yoga and dance
  • nature
  • silence
  • labyrinth walks

Interfaith Leadership

Our Interfaith Leadership course provides an overview of the components of interfaith leadership. Learn about the basic principles of interfaith work, dive deeply into the theological claims that guide individual engagement with the religious other, and obtain first-hand experience working and serving across lines of religious difference.

Spiritual Life Groups on Campus

The Office of Spiritual Life is home to several student-run groups supporting spiritual and religious practice.  While the offerings vary from year to year depending on interest, the campus Christian, Jewish, and Pagan groups are active mainstays.  In addition, we offer various meditation practice groups, often in collaboration with the Wellness Program.  Warren Wilson has an active interfaith community who gathers monthly for a shared meal, and organizes visits to other faith communities in town.

Interfaith Accolades

North Carolina-native and former Executive Director of Asheville Poverty Initiative.  Rev. Dr. Shannon Spencer joins Warren Wilson as the Director of Spiritual Life and Chaplain of the College.

Before her time at Warren Wilson, she coached Division I basketball and was the Founder and Executive Director of Asheville Poverty Initiative and the 12 Baskets Cafe.  She has a TedTalk and a documentary!

Additionally, she has served as an interfaith chaplain at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women and served churches in Illinois, California, and North Carolina. Shannon holds a BS in Special Education from Appalachian State University, an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School, and a D. Min. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

Reflecting on her time in ministry, she writes: “I have had many teachers along the way – some living in gated communities while others behind the gates of prisons and jails.  It’s been a beautifully broken journey framed by abundant grace and radical love.”

WWC’s Presbyterian Church and Chapel

Located on campus, the Warren Wilson College Presbyterian Church and College Chapel reflects the Presbyterian history of the college while providing weekly Sunday worship conveniently located on campus. Though Warren Wilson remains a member of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, it is now an inclusive community for students of all formal and informal faith traditions.

Mollie Donihe

Pursuing Faith

Mollie Donihe, ’16, is a southwest Virginia native, a singer-songwriter in her spare time, and an aspiring clergywoman. She graduated from Warren Wilson with a Bachelor of Social Work and received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, which recognizes commitment to integrity, service, and community. Following graduation, Mollie served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member. Following her AmeriCorps experience, Mollie began her Master’s of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

I am often asked, “What is a Chaplain?” It is a good question and one in which the answer tends to be informed by the setting. At Wilson, chaplaincy means showing up. It’s about working with students, faculty, and staff to provide sacred spaces for story telling – both our own and those that inform who we are and who we want to be. These spaces explore questions and doubt, are open to grief and fear, prayer and silence, celebration and praise. It’s about finding what is holy in a simple walk around the farm or in a religious specific ritual and all that cannot be contained by either. Ultimately, I get to accompany folks as they develop and strengthen a lens through which they see the world and a framework on which helps them make meaning of it.

Shannon Spencer, Director of Spiritual Life and Chaplain