This Week at Evelyn Chapel

All members of the IWU campus community are welcome to attend any of these programs which take place in the lower level of the Chapel. Email Chaplain Elyse at for more information.

Wednesday, October 19th

11:00am - 12:15pm

Evelyn Chapel Basement



We're often told: find your passion, and then go do it! Or: do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life! Well, what if you aren't sure about your passions? Join alumni Barb Nathan '80 and Jason Clark '00, as well as Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe from Moses Montefiore Temple, for an interactive discussion about how their values, questions, and beliefs have shaped their careers and community involvement and how they understand the notions of calling, purpose, and meaningful work. This event kicks off a three-week series that will provide ways for students to discover these commitments and to consider the ways different religious and secular perspectives approach the idea of vocation, or calling. It will also provide students with resources to explore their own beliefs about a meaningful life, identify their strengths and talents, and to consider professions that encourage the integration of their skills and passions. This series is co-sponsored by Evelyn Chapel and the Hart Career Center, led by University Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger and Assistant Director for Career Development Abby Reel. Lunch will be provided.



Wednesday, October 19th

8:00pm - 8:50pm

Bible Study

Evelyn Chapel basement


This week, we will begin our study of the Book of Ruth, a four chapter novella in the Hebrew Bible.  All are welcome for conversation about a variety of biblical texts that challenge, inspire, confuse, and/or enlighten!  We begin with a look at stories related to women’s power and justice in the Bible as a way to engage IWU’s Annual Theme, Women’s Power, Women’s Justice.  



Wednesday, October 19th

9:00pm - 9:30pm

Compline by Candlelight: A Worship Service

Evelyn Chapel


What does it mean to practice loving-kindness?  Join us for a simple service to listen, reflect, and give thanks for the day.  Compline is an ancient tradition of the Christian Church, and is observed here with a diverse variety of music, readings and reflections.



Thursday, October 20th

4:00pm - 5:00pm


Evelyn Chapel basement


Dr. Simeone of the Political Science department will be joining us today to discuss why there is such a sharp contrast between how Muslim and Hindu communities interact with each other in India. This conversation is inspired by one of the books Dr. Simeone uses in his Multiculturalism class, Ethnic Conflict and Civil Life by Ashutosh Varshney.


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.


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



Spiritual and religious life at Illinois Wesleyan University is rooted in the heritage of the United Methodist Church, and Evelyn Chapel celebrates the religious and secular diversity of today’s students, faculty, and staff.  Diverse beliefs, convictions, and spiritual practices are welcome here and so 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. 



All students—of all religious and non-religious traditions—are welcome at Evelyn Chapel.



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 Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger is available to students, faculty, and staff for conversation, support, and spiritual care. Students may call or email her to make an appointment, or just stop by during published office hours. Contact Chaplain Elyse at or 309-556-3179. The Office of University Chaplain is a Safe Zone.  Website:




Explore Faith and Spirituality

ReligiosiTEA is the Chapel’s weekly interfaith dialogue group, facilitated by the University Chaplain, Multifaith Ambassadors, and student leaders from IWU Interfaith. Each Thursday from 4:00pm – 5:00pm in the Chapel basement, a different question or theme is engaged that pertains to religion and spirituality, and participants are encouraged to share their faith (or non-faith) responses, convictions and questions in this multireligious context.  ReligiosiTEA is place where all perspectives are welcome and where we work to create safe, brave spaces for honest, respectful, and enlightening conversation across worldviews and beliefs.  Good afternoon tea, coffee, and sweets are also served! 

Begins September 8th

In 2015-2016, the following themes were engaged:

  • Finding Common Ground across religious difference (connected to Kevin Roose’s Convocation Address and his book The Unlikely Disciple)
  • The Jewish high holidays and the roles of forgiveness and reconciliation in our traditions
  • An Introduction to Tai Chi with Timur Chen ‘18
  • The Pope’s visit to the United States and its interfaith significance
  • Going “beyond the headlines” with the Refugee Crisis in Hungary, with special guest Professor of Political Science Kathleen Montgomery
  • International Peacekeeper and women’s rights activist Rev. Berthe Nzeba from the Presbyterian Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Environmental activism and interfaith: a conversation with Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey director and documentarian Wendy J.N. Lee (leading into the Chapel co-sponsored screening of the film on campus)
  • Halloween, Samhain, and religious traditions around death and dying
  • Navajo spirituality with University of Illinois professor Beverly Smith and a conversation about the “Doctrine of Discovery”
  • Practices of hospitality across traditions
  • Encountering Shinto with Professor of Anthopology Chuck Springwood
  • Star Wars, theology, and interfaith, led by Jean Muza ‘19
  • Christianity in Morocco with Kacie Graves ‘16
  • A follow-up conversation about the film Words with Gods
  • Religion and Presidential Politics with Professor Greg Shaw
  • Cults and Religion with Professor Carole Myscofski
  • Storytelling and interfaith engagement
  • Queerness and Religion, a joint Pride and IWU Interfaith conversation
  • Engaging cultural difference, human rights and interfaith ethics: a conversation about genital cutting in Tanzania with Professor Rebecca Gearhart and Nicki Chlebek ‘16

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!


Bible Study with Chaplain Elyse from 8:00pm – 8:50pm in the lower level of the Chapel.  All are welcome for conversation about a variety of biblical texts that challenge, inspire, confuse, and/or enlighten!  All perspectives and faith traditions are welcome.  For Fall 2016, we begin with a look at stories related to women’s power and justice in the Bible as a way to engage IWU’s Annual Theme, Women’s Power, Women’s Justice

Compline by Candlelight from 9:00pm – 9:30pm in the Chapel.  A simple, inclusive service to listen, reflect, and give thanks for the day.  Compline is an ancient tradition of the Christian Church, and is observed with diverse music, readings, and reflections.   

All are welcome to visit this stunning space on the second floor of the Memorial Center.  Dedicated in August 2015, this space is available to all members of the campus community as a place for prayer, meditation, or reflection.   

  • 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  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 on shoe rack directly outside the room.  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 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.   

Join us for the Turning Titan Spiritual Life Fair on Sunday, August 28th from 4:00pm - 5:30pm in the Young Main Lounge.  Student leaders from the many religious and spiritual-related RSOs will be present, and tours of the Multifaith Meditation Room will also be offered.

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 the 2015-2016 school year included:



  • "Interfaith Leadership: Engaging Faith and Philosophical Diversity in the 21st Century:" an address by interfaith leader Eboo Patel for Founders' Day Convocation, followed by workshops for students, faculty, and staff
  • “Light the Night: A Multicultural Celebration of the Season of Light” with significant student participation as service leaders and attendees
  • the Dedication of the new Multifaith Meditation Room in August 2015 and the release of a compilation of prayers entitled Voices: A Multifaith Collection
  • attendance at the Global Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City in October 2015
  • the forthcoming new edition of the 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 


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 will 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. 


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.  This year’s location will be announced, and online applications will be available, in October 2016.  




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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