By Taeeon Moon ’25
Casper ter Kuile, author, entrepreneur, and podcaster, gave the Schaff Lecture on Ethics and Morals at Mercersburg Academy on Monday, December 4, in the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theater. The lecture continued the school’s 2023-2024 Monday Evening Lecture Series. Following his remarks, ter Kuile met with students for a Q&A session on Tuesday morning.
Ter Kuile is the author of The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practice, co-founder of The Nearness and the Sacred Design Lab, and host of the podcast “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.” His book argues that we can nourish our souls by transforming everyday practices―eating together, working out, reading, taking a walk―into sacred rituals that can heal our crisis of social isolation and longing for connection. His program The Nearness is an eight-week journey for nurturing spirituality, and the Sacred Design Lab is a soul-centered research lab for 21st-century spiritual well being. More of his voice can be heard on his award-winning podcast, which has more than 30 million downloads.
Ter Kuile holds masters degrees in Divinity and Public Policy from Harvard University, where he served as a Ministry Innovation Fellow from 2016-2021, and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, VICE, and on NPR. He’s spoken widely on community trends, ritual, and emerging spirituality at The Aspen Ideas Festival, Cannes Lions Festival, Stanford University, and numerous religious institutions.
The Schaff Family Endowment, which supports the lecture, was funded by and is in honor of the Schaff brothers Phillip ’38, Charles ’41, and David ’42. The endowment supports annual speakers “on topics related to fundamental human values—those principles which direct a person’s decisions and actions because they clarify what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong.’”
For more information about the first speaker in this year's lecture series, visit this page.