Founded as a 501c3 in 1999, The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) is an Interfaith Seminary and Community based in Berkeley, California. It has trained Interfaith Ministers and Chaplains, Community Ministers, and Spiritual Directors who now serve across the United States and beyond.


The Seminary educates and empowers Interfaith Chaplains, Community Ministers, and Spiritual Directors with spiritual, cultural, creative, and practical expertise that informs their spiritual care service in a wide variety of innovative career paths––in palliative care and hospice, hospitals, crisis situations, prisons, environment, government, education, corporations, military, private practice, and more.

For Interfaith Chaplaincy and Community Ministry the seminary offers several paths, including Board-Certified Chaplain Masters of Divinity (in partnership with Starr King School for Ministry), Interfaith Ordination, Interfaith Chaplaincy and Community Ministry Certification, and Dual or Transfer of Ordination. The seminary also offers a Spiritual Direction Certificate Program and Continuing Education Open Courses and Electives, such as Restorative Justice, Being With Dying & Death, and Eco-Ministry.


The Chaplaincy Institute Interfaith Community is an authorized ordaining and graduating body, recognized by The Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), Association of Clinical Professional Education (ACPE), College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP), and the Department of Defense (DOD) in collaboration with the International Council of Community Churches (ICCC). In addition, our ordained clergy who maintain annual Clergy in Good Standing status are recognized by the U.S. Government and may claim clergy tax status for income tax reporting. See ChI Interfaith Community.

“Introduction to The Chaplaincy Institute”

Rev. Lauren Van Ham, former Chaplaincy Institute Dean

Our Logo

The logo icon is created from six interconnecting and overlapping spiritual symbols that reveal a white or clear star-like interfaith center shape. The symbols, set in a clockwise circle, represent the following:

  • Native American Sun – Earth Based Traditions
  • Cross – Christianity
  • Dharmachakra Wheel – Buddhist

  • Om – Hindu
  • Crescent and Star – Islam
  • Star of David – Judaism

“I slept and dreamt life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

Rabindranath Tagore

Interested In Learning More About The Origins of CHI ?

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.

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