Cornell students, faculty, and staff represent numerous religious traditions, diverse traditions within Christianity, non-traditional spirituality, and secular perspectives. As a United Methodist affiliated college, Cornell values this diversity as part of the educational experience and strives to build an authentic caring community, mutual appreciation, and respect as we live together amid our religious, cultural, political and other differences. This is one of the many ways we prepare lives for global citizenship, servant leadership, and reconciling virtue in an interdependent, diverse world.
The chaplain provides caring presence, spiritual guide work, and pastoral care (the 'care of souls') to students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds--including the non-religious. This care is offered amid life's unfolding, joys, questioning, and storms; amid fear and wonder; amid the search for purpose, courage, love, healing, connectedness to others and the world, and signs that this universe and our lives (no matter how messy or confusing) are crammed full of meaning and significant worth.
The chaplain offers voluntary opportunities for spiritual exploration, growth, and practice, as well as safe space for raising searching questions concerning meaning, various theologies/ideas of God, scriptures, identity, and ethics. This office also holds special events such as the Annual Holocaust Lecture and social justice related programs; spiritual road trips to places like the Cedar Rapids Islamic Center; the Spiritual Biography Series featuring the diverse spiritual memoirs of faculty from childhood on; occasional celebrations in the chaplain's home such as for shabbat (frequent collaboration with Hillel); interfaith and cross-cultural encounter and dialogue; and spirituality retreats. She provides mentoring, teaches in the religion department, does advising for students thinking about seminary/divinity school,and creates leadership development opportunities through student chaplain assistant positions, Soul Friends, and Spirituality & Interfatih Understanding/Exploration (the student groups affiliated with this office. Hillel also has a close working relationship with the chaplain).
Ecumenical chapel services are also offered which are often described as comfortable even for those having had a negative experience with church. As an Episcopal priest, the chaplain is also available for confession/reconciliation and services of healing. Students seeking a spiritual component to their Cornell experience may turn to the Office of Chaplain & Spiritual Life, to the numerous off campus houses of worship in the area, or to the many independently run student organizations to make the appropriate connections.