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“Refugia are places of shelter where life endures in times of crisis. From out of these small sanctuaries, life re-emerges, and the world is renewed.”

Refugia is a podcast hosted by Deb Rienstra, professor of English at Calvin University, where Rienstra hosts guests to explore “what it means for people of faith to be people of refugia.” Rienstra asks the question, “How can we create safe places of flourishing? Micro-countercultures where we gain strength in spiritual capacity to face the challenges ahead.” Rienstra invites academics to discuss how refugia and renewal can be interwoven in different areas of life.

The first episode with Dave Koetje, professor of biology at Calvin University, is an opportunity to dive into a detailed definition of refugia through drawing connections to biology and faith. Koetje speaks to the honest challenges of being a biologist and how his faith underpins his hope beyond the immediate future.

Jo-Ann Van Reeuwyk, studio artists and art educator, reflects on how creating vessels using organic materials allows her to draw a connection between renewal and art. Van Reeuwyk describes memories of creating forms and vessels in her backyard as a child, and how she realized that all of her materials “are … glimmers that are telling me something.” Van Reeuwyk elaborated on how creating art became a way for her to still her mind for prayer while keeping her hands busy, inviting in an opportunity for renewal.

Rienstra’s podcast is intriguing for people who are students and teachers, as well as anyone who is searching for places of renewal where they can flourish. A large appeal to the podcast is that the guests Rienstra hosts have a willingness to be transparent while discussing hopes and challenges and how faith takes a role in all of this.

Refugia with Debra Rienstra is released weekly and can be found on most podcast services.

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