About our Seminary Programs

At The Chaplaincy Institute, we believe that the world is in need of the gifts and talents of every individual called to service. Our Interfaith seminary is dedicated to supporting the unique call to ministry expressed by each of our students and alumni. With an appreciation of our students' diverse learning styles and life experiences, we support them in unfolding the form of ministry that will best utilize the fullness of their innate capacities plus the confidence and competencies gained through their ChI studies.

We offer education for those who seek to be of Interfaith service and fulfill a calling in body, heart, mind and spirit.  All programs respond to the changing climate of religious and spiritual life where faith, peace, and understanding are needed across religious divides.

ChI Faculty and Staff use the following 8 Principles for Interfaith Learning to guide the development of our programming at ChI.


Preparation for Spiritual Service to people of all faiths & paths

These programs are designed to inspire, nurture and educate those who are called to serve in an Interfaith capacity in our increasingly diverse world. Our innovative programs focus on a combination of the study of world religions, an exploration of mystical paths and teachings, and spiritual care and ministry skills... all in a creatively infused context. 

 

Program Headlines:

Interfaith Studies - Ministry & Chaplaincy

Through study, reflection, writing and engaging with others, students gain a broad understanding of the world’s faiths, while simultaneously deepening their relationship to their own spiritual traditions. The curriculum includes class instruction, group interactions, theological study, spiritual care skills, spiritual leadership, and practicum experience.  It is inclusive of many aspects of individual spiritual formation for ministry as well.

Interfaith Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction, or spiritual guidance, is the art of companioning people on the spiritual journey.  This program is designed for those who feel called to a private practice in personal, one-on-one spiritual direction, and who anticipate working with clients from a variety of faith traditions. The program is also suited to other helping professionals who want to add a spiritual guidance perspective to their current work (such as psychotherapists, health practitioners, ministers and chaplains).is designed for those who feel called to a private practice in personal, one-on-one or group supervision.

Eco-Ministry Intensive - 2017 Pilot Program

This intensive will look at the important intersection of ecology, spirituality, and social systems. Together, we will bravely consider the “inconvenient;” we will explore ways to re-member ourselves to the New and the Ancient; we will share ideas and resources about the tools that already exist, as well as the new practices inviting our participation as a species. With the understanding that these themes live inter-dependently within us, and within our cultures, what might we learn about personal and social transformation?

Spiritual Psychology Intensive

The Spiritual Psychology Intensive provides students with a holistic model of psycho-spiritual development that can be used for personal growth and for work with individuals, couples, families and organizations.  In this program we take a deep dive into exploring trauma, addictions, and personal wounds to see how we are affected both emotionally and spiritually. We explore disease from a holistic, multi-dimensional perspective and discover many possible avenues of healing the human body, heart, mind, and spirit. 

Two Module Intensives

If you are seeking the opportunity to listen, to understand, and to ask questions of believers who walk a different path from yours, consider joining us for a Two Module Intensive.  These courses allow you to take a deep dive into one of the world’s religions – Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity -- as well as to benefit from courses on providing spiritual care, taking an active role in social transformation, and exploring the arts as a expression of the divine.  Intensives are offered over 2 modules of 5-days each. 

Experience a Single Faith Tradition

Offered 10 times per year the year, these 5-day programs are designed to inspire and educate people who are called to serve in an Interfaith capacity in our increasingly diverse world or for those who are interested in learning more about a specific faith tradition. Participants immerse themselves in a deeply creative and nurturing environment to develop and deepen their personal theological perspectives, while also expanding their capacity to serve the spiritually and culturally diverse world in which we live or simply to gain a greater understanding of those from different cultures or paths than you. Many individuals enroll in Thematic Module Intensives to discern their call to ministry and chaplaincy, prior to applying to our Interfaith Studies Certificate Course. Some attend because they have an interest in increasing their knowledge and understanding or particular faith tradition -- Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, or Earth Based Traditions.

A calendar of upcoming modules are here.

Master's Degree

The Chaplaincy Institute and Starr King School for the Ministry - Joint Program for Interfaith Chaplaincy

Since May 2014, The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) and Starr King School for the Ministry (SKSM) have been formally affiliated through our Joint Program for Interfaith Chaplaincy. The purpose of this affiliation is to integrate the ChI Certificate of Interfaith Studies into Starr King’s accredited master's degree programs (Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Social Change), thereby providing a pathway for students to meet both the educational and ecclesiastical requirements for certification as a professional chaplain.  Students can also take ChI's Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program for credits toward Starr King's degrees.

Approaches to Learning/Learning Styles

Our educational model is a form of multi-modal education, always reaching for the balance of engaging the body as well as the mind and spirit, so that our students may learn to their greatest capacity, while having useful skills and tools with which to serve others.

In addition to recognizing the varieties of faiths and cultures, the curriculum is designed based on the knowledge that individuals learn in a variety of ways. Renowned educator Howard Gardner, author of Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, identified a variety of styles through which individuals learn.

Some of us know the world through study and dialogue. Others know the Divine through walking or singing—or, like the Sufi Dervishes, as we turn or dance as a form of prayer.  At ChI, most classes begin within the cultural comfort zone of didactic presentation.  Subsequently we build on this foundation, weaving together experiential and creative learning modalities. This educational methodology of interweaving promotes an exciting learning environment and encourages individual ways of knowing.

 

Hybrid Distance Learning

In the past decade, distance education – commonly referred to as ‘distance learning’ – has become an increasingly popular way for education institutions to provide access to their programs and for students to learn about topics and get education they might not otherwise be able to pursue.

 At ChI, we offer hybrid distance learning to teach students from all around the globe.  Our goal is to join the best features of in-class teaching with independent learning to serve the needs of people who cannot afford to spend time on a campus regularly to take a course.

In Person Instruction:

Students attend 2 1/2 to 5-day classes called Thematic Learning Modules. Students travel to Berkeley, California for important interaction and instruction for the development of personal, interpersonal, and theoretical skills.  Information about travel to Berkeley is here.

Independent study:

Between the 2 1/2 to 5-day Thematic Learning Modules, students work independently on homework, practicum, and spiritual practices. They communicate with faculty and classmates via email and social media for information sharing and forwarding assignments. 

This approach – learning on your own from home and also attending face-to-face classes – makes it easier for some students to participate in our education programs while balancing work and family commitments, and those who live in geographically remote areas and do not have readily available access to similar education in their areas.

While hybrid distance learning may be more flexible, it is not less work than a traditional on-campus class.  Students dedicate an average 10-20 hours per month to the course in addition to the travel and classroom time of the 2 1/2 to 5-day module intensives.

Thus, hybrid distance learning requires that students are extremely self-motivated and disciplined, function independently, employ strong time management skills, and be able to use Internet technology to share their work and educational experiences with others in various formats.

 

Student Body

 Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds—from nurses to yoga instructors to business people to psychologists.  They also come from a diverse range of theological backgrounds— for example, Buddhists, Catholics, and many people who do not define their spirituality through a specific faith tradition.

 We are an adult learning community, growing through each person’s distinctive talents and perspectives. We honor our students' unique spiritual paths and encourage them to continue to nurture their own theological perspectives. We ask each student to bring his or her gifts, talents, and point of view to their individual ministry, and our community as well.  Assistance/access for students with special needs can be arranged.


Click Here to hear what students have said about the ChI experience.


Download our brochure

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The Interfaith Path

Engaging in Interfaith studies begins with you, with a sense of calling towards service, ministry, and social engagement. Perhaps you have heard a voice since childhood that has spoken to your heart, and mind, your whole being. Some may call this voice God, and hear the voice in a church, or temple.

You may hear the voice in the silence as you sit on your meditation cushion, a voice that says “serve with compassion.” Your moment of calling may have been experienced hiking up a mountain and feeling the wind tugging at your soul. The “Call” may have come to you giving comfort to a stranger injured in a car accident.

Your life may have been touched in some way by a clergy person of your own faith or of a faith totally different from your own. You may have had a moment in the hospital when you witnessed a chaplain and had a sense of recognition that said, “This is what I was born to do.”

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