-- 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.
Evelyn Chapel is a welcoming place to just come and be. During the school year, the Chapel is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. There are always spaces available to study, gather for conversation, or make a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. The University Chaplain is also here to offer spiritual support and care for students, faculty, and staff. Students may call (309-556-3179) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make an appointment, or just stop by during office hours, which are posted on the website (www.iwu.edu/chaplain). The Office of University Chaplain is a Safe Zone for LGBQA TGNC students.
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 2018-2019 include:
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 2018-2019 include “Harvesting Help,” an interfaith day of service; volunteering at Midwest Food Bank; and Trick or Treat for Change.
Chaplain Elyse facilitates 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 St. Tammany West in Mandeville, Louisiana
March 9 - 16, 2019
This year, IWU's Alternative Spring Break program again partnered with Habitat for Humanity and its national Collegiate Challenge Program. Thousands of students from colleges and universities from across the United States spent a week in March 2019 building and repairing homes in urban and rural locations alike. This March, 22 students and staff traveled to Louisiana! For highlights from the trip, visit Teagan Potter's IWU news article here!