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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Exploring spirituality and vocation

By Kristin Riegel

Leaving jobs in
teaching and at Microsoft and Adobe, Ned Hayes decided to pursue a
new career path. This new path carried Hayes from Seattle, Wash. to
St. Paul where he is currently serving as the seminary intern at the
Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL). With the support of
his wife, Jill, and his two children, Kate, 6, and Nick, 4, Hayes is
spending his time at Macalester as both mentor and apprentice.

Excited by the enthusiasm of the students, Hayes said he hopes to
become an integral part of Macalester, bringing to the college his
belief that being a religious leader is a dialogue, not a monologue.

Q: What brought you to
I spent 15 years
working in different areas and have really found a great sense of
vocation and call to work in the college environment and to think
about what spirituality means in a place like Mac where there is a
spectrum of spiritual enrichment and faith practices. What brought me
to this college was the mix of possibilities and that openness to
learning about other cultures.

Q: What is your
educational background?

I was a English major.

Chinese was my first language. I have a Master’s Degree in English
with a special focus on sacred narratives. And I have done some
graduate work in creative writing. I am now working on my Master’s
of Divinity for seminary which will lead towards ordination.

Q: What are your
primary duties as the seminary intern?
My primary duty is to
connect with different religious groups and spiritual communities
here and to be a resource. Because I am also an intern, my other
primary responsibility is to learnƒ?”to learn where people are at or
where they are coming from. My job is a little different from a
normal chaplain. A normal chaplain would be more of a resource
whereas my job is to find resources. I also attend meetings and help
plan programs.

Q: What types of
programs and meetings do you assist with?

I am responsible for
co-planning religious worship services. Most recently, I helped a
little bit with the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life
“kick-off” event for 2007. Currently, I’m working with staff
and students to help plan a Holy Week and an Easter Vigil event in
April. I am also a resource for a variety of religious groups, from
Mac Pagans to Mac Christian Fellowship to Mac Protestants and Mac
Muslims. Students are typically in charge of their own programs,
events and meetingsƒ?”however, when I am asked, I help facilitate and
plan events which include student and staff.

Q: What are your goals
for your time at Macalester?
One of my goals is to
discern if college chaplaincy is what I am called to and to also
understand the role of a chaplain in today’s university. I think,
increasingly, we live in a post-Christian world. What does it mean to
proclaim a Christian story in a realm where a story itself can be
questioned? How do you deal with this reality at the same time when
you are trying to give people hope and peace?

Q: What is the best
part of Macalester?
What I am struck by the
most at the CRSL is the way the majority of things here are
student-driven. If students want an organization to happen it
happens. I think a good metaphor for the things that happen is we
buy the flour and the sugar to bake but the students are the ones
making the cookies. We are resources and I think we will keep doing
what we are doing, maybe more so.

Q: What changes would
you like to see in regards to Macalester’s CRSL?
I would love to see
more engagement between the academics on campus and the spiritual
things that happen here. One thing that we see constantly around the
world is conflict and conflict resolution originating out of
spiritual and religious motivations and yet that is rarely addressed
with people who actually care about those religious and spiritual

We also need an
expanded facility, we need a better building. We need a building that
will really provide space for all of the student organizations. When
we counted up the student organization members there were about 400
people, which is about a quarter of the student body. There are a lot
of student organizations here that could really use space to have
more activities.

Q: How would you define
your philosophy for life?
For years I have lived
by the dictum that every person’s story matters and therefore you
have to take the time to listen to the stories. When I worked as a
hospital Chaplin last spring I met with many people who were dying.

It is powerful to hear in the space of a day what one person feels is
so important that they need to share it with you. That’s their
story and in today’s busy world I think that we rarely slow down
enough to hear those stories.

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