Emory Round Table

In February, Professor Gregory Ellison— an Associate Professor of Pastoral Care at Emory University—and I, hosted our fourth Round Table event at the University. The Round Table is a space for unlikely partners to build community, share wisdom, and face hard questions over hearty family-style meals.

In a cultural milieu of constant contact and social media interaction, we sense the need to cultivate a space that allows for slowed down and embodied engagement. Instead of the echo chambers of Facebook, or the frenzy of a Twitter feed, we take the time to sit with challenging questions over a shared meal. We laugh and cry. We take some things very seriously, but we do not take ourselves too seriously.

The Round Table has struck a chord at Emory. We had seventy people with us in February, representing all of the schools at Emory except one, and we were honored to host Morehouse undergraduates. The theme was “Love,” and we asked our dinner guests to recall a time when an experience with a loved one changed the way you see the world. We wondered, what does it mean to love the skin you are in? In March our theme will be a one-word question, “March?” What is our role in social activism? What is a social activist? Is there time for rest? Am I an activist?

We are excited about the response to the Round Table, and the Diocesan commitment (our commitment!) to be present on the campus of Emory University is allowing for the creation of a space that suggests a few things: that fellowship across difference is possible, that challenging questions are welcome, and that God wants us to see each other, listen to each other, and grow up in love.

Written by The Reverend Zachary R. Thompson, Rector of The Church of Our Saviour and Episcopal Campus Missioner at Emory