Cedar Miller ~ Guest Writer
The University of Lynchburg’s Spiritual Life Center hired their first Interfaith Chaplain in the fall semester of 2019. The new chaplain, Jer Bryant, has also been the Wilmer Writing Center director for the past six years.
Bryant has one main goal for this campus and that is interfaith dialogue. He explained, “I love those kinds of collaborations where you take people from different religions … and then put them together for a common goal of helping humanity.”.
He has already helped a graduate student apply for a grant they received from the Interfaith Youth Core. This grant involves Humanists and Jewish people working together on a project regarding food and security.
As a part of this continuing dialogue, Bryant has helped organize student and faculty Interfaith Panels. These groups’ purposes are to encourage conversations and co-operation between people of different faiths.
Future groups Bryant hopes to start include an earth-based spirituality group and a Buddhist chanting group. Bryant previously started Sangha on campus, which is now run by Dr. Dawson.
Bryant has started many other spiritual groups on campus, such as Spiritual But Not Religious, Q and Spiritual, and The Humanist Community. Bryant explained that Spiritual But Not Religious, “Is a group for people to explore different types of spirituality without being a part of a particular religious tradition.”
A member of Q and Spiritual, Zalia Griffiths, said, “The community that Jer has brought together here is very special.” Griffiths continued to say “having a safe place to discuss religion is freeing.”
Bryant is also an alum; he studied at the University of Lynchburg initially in 1999 and graduated in 2003. Later, he came back in 2008 to get his master’s degree in English. Bryant started teaching at the University of Lynchburg in 2010.
Spiritual Organizations on Campus. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://www.lynchburg.edu/student-life/spiritual-life/spiritual-organizations-on-campus/#sangha.
Jer Bryant: Bryant_Jp@Lynchburg.edu
Zalia Griffiths: Griffiths_Zz@Lynchburg.edu