The Vine explores intersection of identities with spirituality


The Vine will host an interfaith walk on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

The Vine, a progressive campus ministry affiliated with Collegiate Presbyterian Church, is working to create a healthy and safe community for students to explore their spirituality.

“The goals are creating a safe space for all people to explore their spirituality, so we don’t insist people believe a certain thing or way to be part of our community,” said director of The Vine Rev. Jen Hibben. “We want to be able to create space for everyone to share their doubts and begin to navigate figuring out their spirituality.”

The Vine explores how students’ various identities can intersect with spirituality. This emphasis comes from Hibben’s desire to create a community that students want to be a part of, feel supported and where they can be truly authentic.

“A lot of what we are doing for Welcome Week is to make sure students know we exist,” Hibben said. “A lot of students are surprised that there is a campus ministry that’s progressive and completely open and affirming, especially for the queer community.”

The Vine will be hosting events every day this week to allow new students to become aware of the campus ministry, meet existing students and join the larger community while allowing returning students to mingle.

Events taking place this week include Drag Queen Bingo hosted by Vanessa Taylor in partnership with The Center, Welcome Fest, Smoreientation and attending a baseball game with existing members of The Vine.

“We know that for college students, it’s really important to kind of find your people, and find a place where you feel like you belong,” Hibben said.

Tying into The Vine’s focus on building community, this campus ministry utilizes weekly small group meetings featuring student leaders. These groups allow students to experience spirituality as it relates to other parts of their identity.

This year there will be four small groups: First-year Small Group, Queerly Christian, Eco Justice and Jesus and Enneagram Small Group.

First-year small group seeks to create an environment where students can learn about who they are and what they hope to do in the next four years.

“It’s so helpful to be a part of a safe group where you can talk and now other people are experiencing something similar and have a connection,” Hibben said.

Queerly Christian, led by two students, is a group interested in exploring the intersection of spirituality with other parts of their identity.

“We know students who have come from religious backgrounds where part of their identity wasn’t respected or honored,” Hibben said.

Hibben wants students to feel celebrated for who they are and be able to freely explore their spirituality.

Eco Justice and Jesus is a group that tries to understand “how our motivation for climate justice connects to our deeper understanding of creation and our connection to the divine,” Hibben said.

Hibben explained that spirituality is just one part of our identity which can be used to be part of the solution.

Enneagram small group is focused on connecting to The Vine’s desire to create a healthy community. According to The Enneagram Institute, an Enneagram is a model that serves as a tool for understanding ourselves and others at a deeper and objective level.

Hibben explained that one of the main goals of the group is to make students feel like they can understand themselves and feel understood by others through incorporation of this tool and spiritual practices.

While The Vine bases its practices on the use of small groups to start building a healthy community, they also host larger events where the entire group can get together.

More information about The Vine Student Ministry can be found on their website and Instagram.