Communio: A Retreat for Baylor Educators

Communio Retreat Logo

If Christian universities are to pursue excellence in teaching and research while deepening their religious commitment, they must provide opportunities for their faculty to reflect upon the relationship between faith and learning and the promise and challenges found in Christian higher education.

Since 2001, Communio has met this need for more than 700 Baylor educators.

Hosted each May at historic Laity Lodge in the Hill Country, Communio features guest lectures and guided discussions, common meals and worship, and other activities that encourage faculty to explore together their common aims as educators at Baylor.

The Purposes of Communio Include:

  • Acquainting faculty with a theological understanding of vocation/calling
  • Exploring the implications of Christian calling for academic life in both its teaching and scholarly dimensions
  • Enhancing faculty readiness to help mentor students in discerning and responding to their own Christian vocation
  • Building collegiality and common purpose and and fostering the development of genuine friendship
  • Providing a place and opportunity for prayer, leisure, rest, and renewal

The Rhythm of Retreat at Laity Lodge

Each day begins and ends with common prayer. Through scripture, sacred music, and prayer we seek to orient (and often re-orient) the pattern of our daily living towards becoming more attuned to God’s calling on our lives.

Each morning and evening, we meet for a time of presentation and discussion led by one of our retreat speakers. Here we are able to learn and reflect together about matters of vocation, the relationship between faith and the academy, and the university's engagement with the church and culture.

The rest of the day is left for hiking, swimming, fishing, reading, painting, sculpting, or simply resting. Meals are unhurried to allow plenty of time for conversation with colleagues.

What our Colleagues Have Said:

Communio is a microcosm of what Baylor aspires to be. It is thoughtfully and prayerfully Christian and focused on questions of vocation, including the ways in which Baylor can serve students and the world.

Communio was a gift and holds a special place for me in my experiences as a BU faculty member. It allowed me space outside the pressured pace of a tenure-track faculty member to reflect on my calling.

The demand to teach well is felt by faculty regardless of where they teach, but the responsibility to teach well as Christians is even greater. IFL’s annual Communio retreat allows faculty ample time and space to step back to reimagine and even renew their faith commitments, motivations, and aspirations, all in a context with fellow sojourners. 

Past Communio Speakers Include:

  • James Davison Hunter, University of Virginia
  • Elizabeth Newman, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
  • John O'Callaghan, University of Notre Dame
  • Shirley J. Roels, International Network for Christian Higher Education
  • David Smith, Calvin University
  • Susan VanZanten, Valparaiso University
  • Candace Vogler, University of Chicago
  • Paul Wadell, St. Norbert College
  • Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale University