Exploring Urgent Human Questions at the University of Virginia
“My group was really diverse in all kinds of ways so I was nervous how it would work, but it was amazing! I wouldn’t have guessed how quickly people would be willing to share and how eager people were to ask and answer questions, even vulnerable and personal questions.”
UVA Community Participant
In the era of Covid, physical distancing radically changed the way we live. At the University of Virginia, the pandemic and the widespread racial unrest that coincided with it especially heightened levels of personal stress across the community, deepened conflicts around the University of Virginia’s contested historical legacy, and centered urgent questions of what it means to be human.
Theological Horizons is a ministry based at UVA that seeks to support Christians and seekers in academia by providing a welcoming community for engaging faith, thought, and life, and during this time it was interested to lean into deeper questions of the university experience such as: How do we stop social distancing from becoming social isolation? How do we maintain a sense of community and resilience while we are apart? How will we negotiate a fraught and uncertain future?
To pursue these questions, Theological Horizons, in partnership with Essential Partners, developed Deeper Dialogues, a series of carefully structured and facilitated small-group conversations around essential qualities of human flourishing for members of UVA and broader university community.
“I really appreciated people's openness and honesty” said one UVA Student. “I was surprised how quickly people can bond together.” A UVA Staff Member who participated remarked, “I immediately felt such a sense of welcome and belonging. It brought me a profound peace and purpose to be in a conversation with others who were listening with care.”