Hosted by Susan

As part of a series exploring a caring and sacred worldview, this conversation with Sam Speers starts with stories of slow downs prompted by the weather, and ends with sharing about transforming connections we can experience when we intentionally slow down to accompany our loved ones and neighbors. In between, we explore  Simone Weil’s idea of prayer as attention, with “faculty of attention” being something we develop in the process of engaging with school studies. As attention, the meaning of prayer extends beyond something reserved for directing toward the divine to something we might express in mundane activities and in how we are there for one another. And perhaps there is nothing more important than attention to offer one another.   

Rev. Samuel Speers is an ordained Presbyterian minister; he holds a bachelor's in Religion from Columbia University, a Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago, and his Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has worked at Vassar College for more than twenty year, where he is the Associate Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices. In this role he has focused on collaborative initiatives at the intersections of religion, secular public life, and inter-religious engagement, including a ten-year multi-campus initiative prompted by student concerns about how to integrate their questions of meaning and purpose into their “secular” education. With his colleagues at Vassar, he helps students to bring their messy, joyful, and whole selves to build a culture of “belonging-in-difference.” This work has allowed him to discover and rediscover that students are the most creative and insightful interpreters of the changing religious, spiritual, and secular landscape he seeks to serve.