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Communio 2011: A Retreat for New Faculty

On May 16, 2011, twenty-nine Baylor faculty members, administrators, graduate students and retreat leaders boarded a bus to Laity Lodge in the Texas Hill Country. This marked the beginning of Communio: A Retreat for New Faculty, the annual IFL event designed for faculty completing their first year at Baylor. Held May 16-20, 2011, the retreat provided an opportunity for participants to step out of the daily routine of life for a week of discussion, reflection, prayer, and fellowship.

Communio centers on conversations related to vocation and scholarship, inviting participants to consider the relation of their Christian faith to their work in the university. Through lectures by leading figures in Christian scholarship, group discussions, and assigned readings, participants join the important conversation that animates Baylor's mission to exemplify excellence in scholarship with a deep commitment to Christian faith in the Baptist tradition.

Yet it is not only during the sessions devoted to vocation and scholarly identity that significant moments happen. Those on the retreat enjoy time to experience the beauty of the Laity Lodge with hiking, canoeing, an art studio, and simply rest. Most importantly, however, as the title of the retreat suggests, time at Laity Lodge offers the chance to develop relationships with colleagues from across the university. Over meals, during free time, and in worship, faculty and staff members share life together reflecting on their common calling to the life of the mind and the life of faith.


SHIRLEY J. ROELS (B.A., Calvin College; M.B.A, University of Michigan; Ph.D., Michigan State University) is director of the Van Lunen Center for Executive Management in Christian Schools at Calvin College. She is also the Council of Independent Colleges senior advisor for the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE). She began her teaching career in the department of economics and finance at Calvin before serving as dean of academic administration and directing the Calvin College Lilly Vocation Project. She has written widely on management, business ethics, and vocation, producing numerous articles and book chapters. Additionally, she has authored five books, including Christians and Economic Life (1990) and Organization Man, Organization Woman: Calling, Leadership, and Culture (1997).

PAUL J. WADELL (B.A., Bellarmine College; M.Div., M.A., Catholic Theological Union; Ph.D., University of Notre Dame) is professor of religious studies at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. A specialist on the ethics of St. Thomas Aquinas, his work additionally focuses on friendship, the role of the virtues in the moral life, theology and literature, and the mission of the church in contemporary society. He serves on the advisory council of the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) administered by the Council for Independent Colleges. He is the author of eight books, including: Friendship and the Moral Life (1989); The Primacy of Love: An Introduction to the Ethics of Thomas Aquinas (1992); Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship (2002); and Happiness and the Christian Moral Life: An Introduction to Christian Ethics (2007).

NICHOLAS WOLTERSTORFF (B.A., Calvin College; Ph.D., Harvard University) is Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology Emeritus at Yale University. After concentrating on metaphysics at the beginning of his career, he spent many years working primarily on aesthetics and philosophy of art. In more recent years, he has been concentrating on questions in epistemology, philosophy of religion, and political philosophy. He gave the Wilde Lectures at Oxford University and the Gifford Lectures at St Andrews University. He is a former president of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division) and of the Society of Christian Philosophers. He lectures around the world on Christian scholarship and higher education. Among his books are: Reason within the Bounds of Religion (1976); Educating for Life: Reflections on Christian Teaching and Learning (2002); and Educating for Shalom: Essays on Christian Higher Education (2004).

KURT KAISER studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and earned two degrees from Northwestern University. He joined Word, Inc. in 1959 as director of artists and repertoire, later becoming vice president and director of music. In addition to his work at Word, he is renowned as a composer and solo artist, as well as appearing in concerts with George Beverly Shea for over thirty years. In 1992, Kaiser was awarded a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for his contributions to the Christian music industry. He received an Honorary Doctor of Sacred Music from Trinity College in Illinois and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Baylor University. He is also a Dove Award recipient. In 2001 Kaiser was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.