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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