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, students representing a variety of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and non-religious perspectives share their faith (or non-faith) convictions and questions.
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!
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
In 2016-2017, an Interfaith Engagement and Service trip to Chicago will take place in October, and we will again partner with Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge program in March. Look for more information about these trips in August 2016!
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