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This week’s Sacred Space: Responding to the Las Vegas Shootings

By Sensei Morris Sekiyo Sullivan
Stetson University Chaplain

A meditation student felt overwhelmed by the thoughts and feelings that arose during meditation. He told his teacher how hopeless he felt, adding, “Master, I am so discouraged! What can I do?”

His teacher, a famous Zen master, thought for a moment, and then answered with a smile: “Encourage others!”

Most of us struggle with the difficult thoughts and feelings that arise in response to a tragedy like the shootings in Las Vegas. Like the meditation student, we can reach out for help from others. And as his teacher advised, we can also look for opportunities to encourage others who feel similarly overwhelmed.

Members of the Stetson University community have a number of resources available to them so they don’t need to grapple alone with difficulties. If you want to reach out for help or join together to respond to a tragedy like this one, you have access to counselors, residential assistants and chaplains.

We will be dedicating next Monday’s Sacred Space, our weekly interfaith service at Lee Chapel, to those suffering from this violence. Students are invited to join together to share this time of reflection and prayer.

Stetson's three chaplains stand in front of the CUB on deland campus.

Stetson’s three Chaplains are, left to right, Rev. Willie Barnes, Jr., an African Methodist Episcopal pastor; Rev. Christy Correll-Hughes, an ordained Baptist minister; and Sensei Morris Sekiyo Sullivan, spiritual head of Volusia Buddhist Fellowship.

We, in the Office of the Chaplain. are ready to lend an ear or a hand if you want to talk confidentially about what you’re going through or want spiritual guidance at a time like this. The three of us — Christy, Willie and me — are all here for every member of the Stetson community, regardless of religious affiliation.

Chaplain office hours vary, but feel free to email us at stetsonchaplain@stetson.edu and arrange to come by our office at CUB 230 to talk.

Counselors are available to all members of the Stetson community including evenings, weekends and holidays. If you are in crisis, you can call the Counseling Center at 386-822-8900 or come by the office at 601 N. Bert Fish Drive, behind the Hollis Center, during business hours.

If you have immediate mental health difficulties outside of business hours, you can call Public Safety at 386-822-7300 and ask to speak with the on-call counselor.

There is more information about the counseling center at https://www.stetson.edu/administration/counseling-center/.

If you live on campus, you can also talk things over with your Residential Assistant, who can direct you to other resources.

I hope we will see you next Monday, Oct. 9, during Sacred Space, at 7:15 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to one of us, to a counselor, to health services, fellow students or a trusted professor if you want support. Your environment here is designed with your well-being in mind, and I hope you’ll take advantage of the resources available.


– Stetson University’s three Chaplains share an interfaith message during Sacred Space, a weekly gathering on Mondays at 7:15 p.m. in Lee Chapel inside Elizabeth Hall. They also write this column for Stetson Today that ties into the theme of the upcoming gathering. For more information, contact the Office of the Chaplains at stetsonchaplain@stetson.edu or 386-822-7523.

Additional Resources

From the University of Central Florida, Counseling & Psychological Services: