Interfaith Foundations

ChI was envisioned by clergy from a variety of faith traditions who saw a need for deeper Interfaith dialogue, and for building bridges of understanding across religious divides to bring peace and understanding to today’s world.

Founded by Rev. Dr. Gina Rose Halpern in 1999, ChI ‘s curriculum reflects and responds to the changing climate of religious and spiritual life within the United States, as documented by The Pluralism Project of Harvard Divinity School.

Statistics from sources such as the National Survey of Religious Identification, the American Religious Identification Survey, and the Gallup Poll demonstrate that almost half of adults residing in the United States are not affiliated with organized religion. In addition, a third of the surveyed population describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” and almost 10% regard themselves as “neither spiritual nor religious.”

Recognizing the need for religiously and spiritually inclusive theological educational programs that prepare clergy to serve people of all faith traditions as well as those of no faith tradition, The Chaplaincy Institute / The ChI Interfaith Community was founded by Rev. Gina Rose Halpern, Rev. Jeremy Taylor, and Rabbi Michael Ziegler, who shared a vision of an inclusive Interfaith seminary promoting peace and understanding for our world.

The Chaplaincy Institute was the fruit of that vision. It was founded in 1999 by a group of clergy and teachers representing a variety of religious traditions and spiritual paths:

  • Rev. Gina Rose Halpern, D.Min.: Interfaith Minister
  • Rev. John Mabry, Ph.D.: Originally Old Catholic, now United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Nancy McKay: United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Jurgen Schwing: United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Jeremy Taylor: Unitarian Universalist
  • Rabbi Michael Zeigler: Progressive Judaism
  • Dr. Charles Burack, Professor & Interfaith Spiritual Director

Our faculty hold degrees from a number of theological seminaries and progressive learning institutions:

  • California Institute of Integral Studies
  • Holy Names University
  • Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Naropa University
  • Pacific School of Religion

“The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth.”

- Wilfred Grenfell