Religious & Spiritual Life
The University took a pioneering step forward when the Interfaith Chapel was built in 1970. At that time, few schools could boast a facility intended to be a religious gathering place for all people. Students regularly testify that what they value most about the University of Rochester is its diversity. The Interfaith Chapel is both a place for people to worship in their particular faith tradition and a place where the people of different faith traditions, or no religious tradition at all, may encounter one another in various ways by sharing in dialogue, worship and interfaith education. Our multi-faith community and our interfaith engagements contribute significantly to the rich diversity that is the University of Rochester experience.
The chapel is a center of hospitality, a virtue much valued in all world religious traditions. Here we welcome those who strongly identify with their religious tradition, those who are “spiritual but not religious,” and those who want no affiliation at all. It is a place where students can connect, create community, join together in fun and service, learn about the faith of others, deepen their own faith, discuss the “Big Questions,” and explore their own values and identity. The chapel is a place that hums with activity and vitality while also offering a reflective and contemplative oasis for prayer, meditation and reflection.
The Interfaith Chapel at the University of Rochester is a recognized Cooperation Circle within the United Religions Initiative (www.uri.org). The United Religions Initiative (“URI”) is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world. The purpose of the URI is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
URI implements its mission through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of more than 600 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights. The Interfaith Chapel contributes to the mission of URI through its ongoing work for interreligious and interfaith cooperation and understanding, preparing our students to take their place as global citizens well schooled in the nuances of interreligious and intercultural engagement.
Through joint and cooperative programs between and among the various religious communities affiliated with the Interfaith Chapel and through the activities of the Students’ Association for Interfaith Cooperation (SAIC), the Interfaith Chapel nurtures the spiritual growth and maturity of our students within their chosen religious or philosophical tradition, while developing the critical global leadership skills our students will need as they leave this university and enter the variety of professions for which they have prepared themselves in the course of their education.
In addition to the large, street-level sanctuary, on two more floors we have three kitchens, a common room, a conference room, and a spacious river-level room for social gatherings, receptions, meals, and meetings. For those looking for a quiet, centering space, we have a small meditation room on the second level. The Chapel has an indoor labyrinth which is open for meditative walking on the river level several times a month.
The spacious building is equipped to meet the many different needs of individuals and groups. The Director and the various chaplains and religious community leaders are here to serve students and other members of the University community in whatever ways are most helpful as spiritual and/or religious issues, questions, concerns or joys arise in the course of daily living.
500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd, P.O. Box 270501
Rochester, New York 14627-0501 (585) 275-4321 / (585) 276-0203 fax