As individuals who live and work in Williamstown, and especially as students and teachers of faith traditions that uphold the dignity of each person, we are appalled by the recent allegations of racial and sexual misconduct by the leadership of the Williamstown Police Department.
As I share into this space, I do so with trepidation. My hesitancy is not from the fear of saying the wrong thing, but from the feeling that I am unsure of my right to say much of anything at all right now. The pain people are experiencing in light of the ceaseless miasma of hatred and violence against black lives in this nation must be named – loudly and vigorously – but perhaps best by those living the reality of dehumanization firsthand.
This year marks my eighteenth consecutive Ramadan fast and, still, the dryness in my throat, hunger pangs and fatigue can feel intense at times. I still glance at my watch on occasion to see that there’s another nine or more hours until breaking the fast at sunset.
In the very first days of my training as a chaplain, we learned that the foundations of effective chaplaincy and spiritual care lay in the ability first to notice, and gradually undo, one’s tendency to operate from assumptions. Such a teaching may appear obvious, but remains central in helping a developing chaplain — or anyone — to sit with genuine concern and compassion for another.
Welcome to the Chaplains’ Office column! We will be writing twice a month, offering reflections on spiritual themes that are inspired through our respective faith journeys and our engagement with thoughts and ideas encounter as people of faith and chaplains at Williams College.