valariekaurRevolutionary Love: An IWU Interfaith Summit

March 23 - 24, 2018 at Illinois Wesleyan University

Featuring Valarie Kaur

Register here today!

Revolutionary love is a well-spring of care, an awakening to the inherent dignity and beauty of others and the earth, a quieting of the ego, a way of moving through the world in relationship, asking: ‘What is your story? What is at stake? What is my part in your flourishing?’ Loving others, even our opponents, in this way has the power to sustain political, social and moral transformation. This is how love changes the world.” --Valarie Kaur

This free event includes keynote speaker and workshop leader Valarie Kaur, a Friday night dessert reception for students, an alumni panel and lunch, workshops, food packaging through IWU Fighting Hunger, and a multifaith sending service.

We are excited to welcome college students and community members from different cities and backgrounds to our campus this Spring! Register here! Please email University Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger at if you have questions or concerns. Housing is not provided, but a list of hotels will be provided.



7:00pm - 8:30pm
Keynote Address by Valarie Kaur: Revolutionary Love
Hansen Student Center

8:30pm - 9:15pm
Dessert Reception with Valarie Kaur (for students only)
Hansen Student Center


9:00am - 9:30am
Continental Breakfast
Turfler Room, Memorial Center

9:30am - 11:00am
Workshop with Valarie Kaur: Building a Movement for Revolutionary Love across campus and community
Turfler Room, Memorial Center

11:00am - 11:15am

11:15am - 12:15pm
Alumni Panel and Networking Lunch
Hear from IWU Alumni who are working across the country and across many fields about their experiences of interfaith engagement in their new communities and the ways interfaith experiences in college prepared them for civic interfaith leadership.
Turfler Room, Memorial Center

12:20pm - 1:05pm
Workshops: Session One

The Legacy and Limits of Interfaith (Davidson Room)
In this workshop, we will discuss the contributions of Abraham Joshua Heschel to interfaith and social justice work. In particular, we will explore his writings regarding the justification for interfaith engagement as well as the theological impetus for his involvement in the civil rights movement. Finally, we will discuss how current multicultural and pluralist sensibilities present challenges for inheriting his work today.
Leader: Dr. Robert Erlewine, Associate Professor and Chair of Religion, Illinois Wesleyan

Storytelling (Henning Room)
Description: While information connects us, our stories unite us. As political and cultural tensions rise, the unity of storytelling becomes important as ever. Interfaith storytelling can introduce us to the vast diversity of worldviews through personal experiences. In this workshop, led by two Multifaith Ambassadors who participated in a storytelling workshop at Interfaith Youth Core’s Interfaith Leadership Institute in August 2017, we will learn different ways to craft and share our stories.
Leaders: Giana Biddle ‘18 and Taaba Ahmed ‘20

1:10pm - 1:55pm
Workshops: Session Two

Interfaith and Medicine (Henning Room)
Hospitals and health clinics are some of the most multifaith spaces in America. It is imperative for medical professionals to understand diverse worldviews and empathize with their patients. Join two recent IWU grads and nursing professionals for a discussion about the creative and healing possibilities that exist at the intersection of interfaith and medicine.
Leaders: Sana Shafiuddin ‘17 and Karen (Matkovich) Plumier ‘16

Interfaith Beyond Campus (Davidson Room)
Description: How do build bridges of cooperation between our campus, civic, and faith communities? How do students continue this work once they’ve graduated? How do civic and faith communities integrate fresh minds into this collaborative work? Leaders from Bloomington-Normal’s interfaith community and recent graduates will talk about how they are building these bridges, and how you can too!
Leaders: Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger, Bloomington-Normal leaders, and alumni

2:00pm - 2:55pm
IWU Fighting Hunger: An Interfaith Service Project
Evelyn Chapel Fellowship Area
In less than one hour, we will repackage 1500 pounds of bulk rice for distribution to local food pantries.

3:00pm - 3:30pm
A Multifaith Sending Service featuring music, song, and dance!
Evelyn Chapel


Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.

-- John Wesley, Founder of the Methodist Church, and the one for whom Illinois Wesleyan University is named

IWU is a multicultural and multi-religious community, and the Office of University Chaplain celebrates the religious and secular diversity of today’s students, faculty, and staff. Diverse beliefs, convictions, and spiritual practices are welcome here as are a diversity of questions. Questions—about who we are and what we are for—are perennial in and for the liberal arts tradition. At Evelyn Chapel, through weekly programming and special events, we seek to provide a venue for asking those questions, and we work at the crossroads of intellectual exploration, spiritual reflection, community service, and interfaith dialogue.

Illinois Wesleyan University is home to a wide range of religious and spiritual programs. A number of Registered Student Organizations represent different faith traditions. The Office of University Chaplain supports the work of these Registered Student Organizations and offers programming exploring and practicing faith and spirituality, interfaith community, and social justice. The Chapel is also home to the Multifaith Ambassador Program, a unique leadership program for students who represent a variety of religious and non-religious perspectives and beliefs, and who are passionate about understanding and engaging religious diversity on campus, in their own communities, and in the world.

Signature programs include ReligiosiTEA, the Chapel’s weekly interfaith dialogue group (Thursdays at 4:00pm); Light the Night: A Multicultural Celebration of the Season of Light (Dec. 7 at 7:00pm), where students who celebrate Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, and Lunar New Year share stories and songs, dramas and dances that point to the amazing religious and cultural diversity on our campus; and Harvesting Help: An Interfaith Service Day (November 4th at 9:00am).  

Evelyn Chapel is also a place to just come and be. During the school year, the Chapel is open seven days a week from 8:00am to 11:00pm. There are always spaces available to study, gather for conversation, or make a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Chaplain Nelson Winger is available to students, faculty, and staff for conversation, support, and spiritual care. Students may call or email to make an appointment, or just stop by during published office hours (Tuesdays from Noon to 2:00pm and Thursdays from 2:00pm to 4:00pm). IWU students are welcome to contact Elyse at or 309-556- 3179. The Office of University Chaplain is a Safe Zone.


Engage in Multifaith Conversation and Friendship


map 2016

Multifaith Ambassadors Program


Launched in Fall 2013, The Multifaith Ambassador Program is a unique leadership program for students who represent a variety of religious and non-religious perspectives and beliefs, and who are passionate about understanding and engaging religious diversity on campus, in their own communities, and in the world.  Working collaboratively with one another and University Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger, Ambassadors build and create interfaith community through weekly programming like Multifaith Hour and ReligiosiTEA, as well as special events throughout the year.  Participation in this leadership program includes the willingness to respectfully engage multiple worldviews and traditions, and seek places of both common and contested ground for the sake of learning, cooperation and action. Ambassadors have the opportunity to learn more about their own beliefs and to explore what interfaith means within their traditions, and to deepen their understandings of global citizenship, justice, and peace in a pluralistic world. Ambassadors also have the opportunity to participate in leadership development across campus and at conferences throughout the year. 

Programs and initiatives for 2017-2018 include:

  • Attendance at Interfaith Youth Core's Interfaith Leadership Conference in Chicago in August 2017
  • Harvesting Help: An Interfaith Service Day in November 2017
  • Light the Night: A Multicultural Celebration of the Season of Light in December 2017
  • Compassion Collection for the Advocate Bromenn Compassion Closet in November and December 2017
  • IWU's first annual Interfaith Summit featuring renowned interfaith leader Valarie Kaur in March 2018
  • the publication of the third edition of the IWU Interfaith Journal entitled Encounters in May 2018
  • weekly leadership of ReligiosiTEA and IWU Interfaith

For more information about this student leadership and stipended program, please email University Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger at 


Discover Ways to Serve


There are opportunities throughout to year to join with students across religious and non-religious traditions out of our shared values of service and social justice.  Events for 2017-2018 include “Harvesting Help,” an interfaith day of service in November; a volunteer night at Midwest Food Bank; and a collection of clothing for Advocate Bromenn's Compassion Closet.

As University Chaplain, I also facilitate opportunities for students to serve locally and nationally and explore issues of diversity and social justice through our Alternative Break program. Since 2012, students have worked with: Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge in Alabama, Texas, Georgia and West Virginia; Tree of Life Relief Agency at Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota; and Appalachia Service Project in Kentucky.  Interfaith Engagement and Service trips to Chicago have also been offered for Fall Breaks in October.   

Alternative Spring Break: Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham, Alabama

March 11-18, 2018

This year, IWU's Alternative Spring Break program is again partnering with Habitat for Humanity and its national Collegiate Challenge Program.   Thousands of students from colleges and universities from across the United States will spend a week in March 2018 building and repairing homes in urban and rural locations alike.   IWU is traveling to Alabama to work with the Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity affiliate.  Our trip will take place from March 10 - 17, 2018 and is led by staff leaders Elyse Nelson Winger and Liz Vales, along with four fantastic student leaders.  In addition to our volunteer work, we will also hike at one of Alabama's national forests, visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and get to know the local residents of the city.   In addition to the full participation on the trip, accepted participants are also expected to attend one info meeting in early December and a half-day Saturday retreat in Spring Semester.  Participants are also expected to volunteer at least once with IWU's Habitat for Humanity RSO in order to get experience on a construction site and to build camaraderie leading up to the trip.  If you have any questions, please email Elyse at The cost of this trip is $250.  Applications are due no later than 11:59pm on Monday, November 20th, 2017.  

You are welcome to contact me at or 309-556-3179.

Welcome to Illinois Wesleyan University!

Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger, University Chaplain



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