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Faith Communities


Distinguished by the diversity of its members, the University of Rochester welcomes people of various faiths from around the world. The Interfaith Chapel works to support the expression of this mixture of heritages and groups.


The chapel currently hosts ten different faith communities:


Chabad House – Jewish Student Community

It’s warm and friendly atmosphere has earned the Chabad House a reputation as a “home away from home” for students, where a meaningful Jewish experience can be enjoyed. See the Chabad House website for more information.

Asher Yaras

Rabbi Asher Yaras
(585) 503-9224

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Cru is a caring community, passionate about connecting people to Jesus Christ. Cru strives to create an environment where anyone can come dialogue and explore questions about faith and spirituality, as well as a place where Christian students can grow, mature, be mentored, and have opportunities to lead and live out their faith in Jesus Christ.

Mercy Gbenjo.

Mercy Gbenjo

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Hillel – Jewish Life

Hillel is all about students, with the mission to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. See the Hillel website for more information.

Joy Getnick

Joy Getnick
(585) 314-3707

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Hindu Students’ Association (HSA)

The programs and spaces of the Hindu Students’ Association are designed to nourish the mind, body and soul. Worship services support collaborative spiritual engagement while prayer and meditation spaces offer an opportunity for quiet introspection. Lectures and discussions address classical and contemporary themes. Hindus and non-Hindus, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, post-docs, staff and faculty are all welcome to be a part of the vibrant Hindu community at University of Rochester.

Sanjay Mathur

Sanjay Mathur
(201) 757-2278

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InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship

We are a group of graduate students who are committed to developing a supportive community with the common goal of spiritual development, academic excellence, and Christian witness. You can meet us for dinner every other week or for a Bible study in the opposite weeks Tuesdays 6-7:30. Contact Janet for location.

Janet Hrdina
(607) 857-9683

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Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) – Islamic Community

Two MSAs (undergraduate and graduate) serve the Muslim students on campus. They provide programming of interest to the Muslim community, conduct Jumma prayers on Fridays, and participate in interfaith activities on campus to educate the community about Islam. See the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) website for more information.

Zeynab Abdullayeva

Zeynab Abdullayeva
Advisor to Muslim students
(585) 275-8517

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Newman Community – Roman Catholic Christianity

As people of Catholic Christian faith, we gather to enrich our relationship with God and one another by nurturing the link between intellectual and spiritual life. See the Newman Community website for more information.

Brian Cool

Rev. Brian Cool
(585) 275-8523

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Protestant Chapel Community – Mainline Protestant Christianity

The Protestant Chapel Community is an open and inviting group of mainline Protestant Christian students who worship weekly and participate regularly together in programs of service, education, and fellowship. See the Protestant Chapel Community website for more information.

Rev. Katie Jo Suddaby

Rev. Katie Jo Suddaby
Protestant Chaplain 
and Interim Head of GACM Board at 
The University of Rochester

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UR Christian Fellowship – Christianity in the Gospel Tradition

The University of Rochester Christian Fellowship is dedicated to serving the University community by providing a Christian Protestant service in the spirit-filled gospel tradition. For more information see the UR Christian Fellowship website.

Brian White

Brian White
(585) 275-8517

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Zen Meditation Group

The Zen Buddhist Group provides an opportunity for students to explore Buddhism and other Eastern traditions through weekly meditation session, discussions, and traditional Buddhist ceremonies. Whether you are curious about Buddhism or a dedicated practitioner, you are welcome to join us.

Kristin Hocker

Kyle Trenshaw

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The Director, Chaplains, and Faith Community Leaders

Religious and Spiritual Life Director

The Director of Religious and Spiritual Life works with chaplains and faith community leaders to create, articulate and carry out the mission of the Interfaith Chapel within the University and greater Rochester community. She provides leadership by encouraging multi-faith understanding, interfaith dialogue, education, and cooperation, through a variety of educational programs, spiritual offerings and service projects in the University and the local community off campus.

The director supports the chaplains and faith community leaders in their work, encourages small and emerging student religious groups, and initiates and promotes interfaith programs and education. Regular dialogue with interfaith leaders on other campuses and in the Rochester interfaith community, and participation in regional, national and international interfaith gatherings enhances her outreach at the University.

The director maintains a blog as a forum for community discussion of issues in the world from an interfaith perspective. The director also holds an appointment as associate professor in the Department of Religion and Classics, where she teaches courses in interfaith studies and engagement.

Chaplains and Faith Community Leaders

The University has twelve religious or spiritual groups or communities currently affiliated with the Interfaith Chapel. The Catholic Newman Community, the Protestant Chapel Community, Hillel, Chabad and Cru all have full-time chaplains or religious leaders who serve their student community, and three of those chaplains have offices in the interfaith chapel.

The Zen Meditation Group, URCF, Muslim community, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Agape are all served by part-time chaplains or religious leaders who share office space in the Interfaith Chapel.

The Hindu Students’ Association serves the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu, Sikh, and Jain students. They hold on-campus activities and sponsor trips off campus to the Sikh Gurdwara and the Hindu Temple. They are advised by the Director of Religious and Spiritual Life.

The director, chaplains and faith community leaders work together to respond to students’ needs in ways that meet present-day religious and spiritual realities. We strive to bridge boundaries that traditionally have divided people of different faith traditions, and of none at all. We encourage students to embrace the diversity that is so much a part of life in this University and our nation and to claim that diversity as a means for intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth.

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