The Office of University Chaplain at Evelyn Chapel offers spiritual growth opportunities to students, faculty, and staff; promotes awareness and appreciation of religious diversity; assists in the exploration of ethical questions, issues and values; and provides spiritual care to members of the campus community. The University Chaplain also participates in the ceremonial life of the University; oversees the use and operations of Evelyn Chapel; and coordinates Alternative Break programs in cooperation with IWU’s Action Research Center.
All students—of all religious and non-religious traditions—are welcome at Evelyn Chapel.
Explore Faith and Spirituality
Facilitated by the University Chaplain and student leaders, ReligiosiTEA is a weekly gathering co-sponsored by IWU Interfaith (complete with caffeine and cookies) that encourages lively, honest conversation about a variety of topics…in a multireligious context. On any given afternoon, 20-25 students representing a variety of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and non-religious perspectives share their faith (or non-faith) convictions and questions. Themes—determined by students themselves for fall semester 2015—include: a new mini-series on meditation practices, the refugee crisis in Europe, the interfaith impact of Pope Francis' visit to the United States, Jewish high holy days and practices of forgiveness and reconciliation, and more.
Join the IWU Interfaith Facebook group and/or check out the Evelyn Chapel Events Calendar for weekly themes and updates. All campus community members are welcome to join us on any given Thursday in the basement of Evelyn!
Text Talks meets every Monday (through November 18th) in the Evelyn Chapel basement It is a weekly conversation led by the University Chaplain for any students interested in reflection on and dialogue with interesting, inspiring, difficult, and/or demanding biblical texts and stories. Themes are chosen by both the Chaplain and all participants of the study and have included: women’s leadership in the early church; insiders and outsiders in the Bible; and myth and sacred story in the Book of Jonah. Come as you can and bring your lunch! While there are themes that continue week to week, each Monday stands on its own.
After a beautiful Dedication ceremony on August 27th, the Meditation Room went under construction again for finishing touches and is now available to visit and to reserve. A new rug has been delivered, and pillows and chairs will be arrive soon. Sacred texts from a variety of traditions are already in the library housed in the space. All are welcome to visit this stunning space on the second floor of the Memorial Center. If you would like to reserve the Room or have question any questions, please email email@example.com.
Here are initial hopes and expectations for the use of this space:
- The room is open whenever the Memorial Center is open and closed whenever it is closed.
- The room may be reserved by individuals and groups throughout the week. We recommend a maximum of 30 minutes for individuals and 90 minutes for groups. To reserve the room, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. An online Google calendar is in development.
- When the room is not reserved, you are welcome to close the door for up to 15 minutes for private meditation time. If you welcome others to join you in the space, please leave the door open.
- Please remove your shoes upon entering the Room and place in the hanging shoe rack. No shoes may be worn beyond the entryway.
- All items in the room and in the storage closets are for public use. Please handle items with care, and place them back where you found them.
- Be mindful of the needs of others and respect others’ religious needs.
- Candles may be used in the room, but may not be left lit unattended. No incense is allowed due to allergies and ventilation constraints.
- Please leave room in the condition it was prior to use and bring in what you take out.
- Always turn your cellphones to silent when in the space.
- No food or drink is allowed, except for spiritual use. Water bottles are permitted.
- Always leave the door open upon exiting.
- Please share any concerns about the Room by emailing email@example.com or by calling the Evelyn Chapel main office at 556-3005.
In partnership with the Council on Religious Life, Evelyn Chapel supports all student religious Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and the broad diversity of religious life on campus. Please visit the Spiritual RSO page for more information about each group.
Engage in Multifaith Conversation and Friendship
Multifaith Ambassadors Program
Facilitated by the University Chaplain, the Multifaith Ambassador Program is a student leadership program for students interested in: deepening their appreciation for and friendship with people from different religious and non-religious traditions; creating bonds of compassion and cooperation on this campus; and, exploring what it means to be a person of faith in a pluralistic society.
Each Wednesday, the Multifaith Ambassador Team meets to discuss current texts on interfaith cooperation and religious diversity and to plan interfaith discussions (like ReligiosiTEA) and interfaith events (like service days and cultural events like "Light the Night") for campus. Certain Wednesdays throughout the semester also include campus-wide events at Evelyn. Check out our Events Page for more information!
Highlights of the 2014-2015 school year included:
- "Storytelling for Social Change: Seeking Justice in a Multifaith America:" an address by interfaith leader Valarie Kaur, co-sponsored by Student Senate
- “Light the Night: A Multicultural Celebration of the Season of Light” with significant student participation as service leaders and attendees
- Harvesting Help: An Interfaith Service Day including thirty IWU students from a range of religious and secular traditions
- Participation in the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice’s Fall 2014 Human Rights Workshop and Spring 2015 Student Undergraduate Research Workshop on free speech and human rights
- The development of a new Interfaith Prayer Space for IWU, to be dedicated in August 2015
- The release of an inaugural IWU Interfaith Journal
- 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 include “Harvesting Help,” an interfaith day of service in November; dinner prep nights at Home Sweet Home Mission; volunteering with the Clare House Food Drive; Titans for Teeth; Promise Packs; and Alternative Fall and Spring Breaks.
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. In Fall 2013 and Spring 2014, a total of four trips were offered, giving students the opportunity to engage with local communities in West Bloomington (A Local Service Break), Chicago (Interfaith Engagement and Service Trip), Mission, South Dakota (Tree of Life Relief Agency at Rosebud Reservation), and Albany, Georgia (Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge). Two trips were offered in 2014-2015: an Interfaith Engagement and Service trip to Chicago in October 2014 and an Alternative Spring Break experience in Chavies, Kentucky with the Appalachia Service Project in March 2015.
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. And I am available to students, faculty, and staff for conversation, support, and spiritual care. Students may call or email me to make an appointment, or just stop by. The Office of University Chaplain is a Safe Zone.
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