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). Please see the Office of the University Chaplain Website for more information about these and other weekly programs, as well as Alternative Breaks and spiritual retreats led by Chaplain Nelson Winger.
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. IWU students are welcome to contact Elyse at: email@example.com or 309-556- 3179. The Office of University Chaplain is a Safe Zone.
Explore Faith and Spirituality
Engage in Multifaith Conversation and Friendship
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.
Highlights of 2016-2017 include:
- Attendance at Interfaith Youth Core's Interfaith Leadership Conference in Chicago in August 2016
- "Harvesting Help: An Interfaith Service Day" in November 2016
- “Light the Night: A Multicultural Celebration of the Season of Light” with significant student participation as service leaders and attendees in December 2016
- "Welcome Home" Syrian Refugee Project
- a new edition of the IWU Interfaith Journal entitled Encounters
- leadership of ReligiosiTEA and IWU Interfaith
For more information about this student leadership and stipended program, please email University Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Major events for 2016-2017 include “Harvesting Help,” an interfaith day of service in November; dinner prep nights at Safe Harbor; and food packaging events through Illini Fighting Hunger.
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 Fall Break: Chicago Interfaith Engagement and Service
October 14-16, 2016
This trip, for up to 24 participants, is designed to promote religious literacy, encourage interfaith dialogue and appreciation, make connections between spirituality and social justice, and explore the role of women as leaders in these communities. We will stay at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Lincoln Park, visit five different faith communities across the city, attend a screening of an interfaith-related film at the Chicago International Film Festival, and volunteer with non-profit organizations. The cost to each student for this trip is $125. Scholarships are available. Student may apply online beginning in September 2016. Registration for this retreat is now closed.
Alternative Spring Break: Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge
March 11-18, 2017
For many years, the Chapel has partnered with the Habitat for Humanity Registered Student Organization to coordinate a Collegiate Challenge trip. The purpose of these trips is to provide students the opportunity to volunteer with peers, to explore social justice issues in a unique community, and to reflect on their own spiritual and/or ethical commitments to service. A student leadership team works with Chaplain and other University faculty and/or staff to select the site and to lead team meetings on and before the trip. The cost to each student for this trip is $250. Scholarships are available. Registration is now closed. This year’s location is Fort Smith, Arkansas.
You are welcome to contact me at email@example.com or 309-556-3179.
Welcome to Illinois Wesleyan University!
Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger, University Chaplain