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INTERFAITH STUDIES & SEMINARY EDUCATION
Please explore our several seminary programs. Have questions? Have a unique path of study you want to create? We are glad to help; Schedule a Chat.
CHAPLAINCY & COMMUNITY MINISTRY
Chaplaincy is an approach to all of life as being relational, aka intersectional, interwoven, and inseparable. Chaplains and Community Ministers are not necessarily attached to a specific religious place––a temple, mosque, or church. Rather, from within communities Chaplains and Community Ministers bridge the secular and the sacred in daily living and dying. We are sought for in service areas that include palliative and hospice care, hospitals, prisons, corporations, sports teams, think tanks, government, community centers, crisis situations, universities, corporations, and many more. In these situations Chaplains and Community Ministers serve as change agents, educators, and leaders as well as experienced spiritual care Providers for those moving through life situations of uncertainty, instability, and an environment at risk.
Our seminary’s innovative interfaith Chaplaincy Program focuses on a combination of the study of the world’s religions, an exploration of mystical paths and teachings, as well as ministerial formation and developing skills for providing spiritual care.
Integral to spiritual formation and vocational preparation, seminarians are encouraged to retain and deepen their personal theological perspectives, while also expanding their capacity to serve the spiritually and culturally animated world in which we live. The Chaplaincy Institute seminary offers a complete and well-rounded educational experience that prepares graduates to lead and serve in whatever capacities they are called, and an active community that provides support, growth, accountability, and heart-sourced connection. If you feel drawn to this, please contact us for an introductory visit.
Those completing the interfaith Chaplaincy Program may choose to follow the path to Interfaith Ordination. Our ordaining body, the ChI Interfaith Community, is an active community that provides support, accountability and heart-sourced connection.
Those already ordained in a single faith tradition, can complete the Dual/Transfer Program.
Once ordained, the ChI Interfaith Community offers our ordained Chaplains and Community Ministers an ecclesiastical home and provides them with an annual assessment and certification of Clergy in Good Standing status, which is a professional requirement in many chaplaincy and ministerial settings.
The ChI curriculum provides students with a comprehensive, integrated, interfaith, and applied-theology education. Self-care practices are incorporated throughout, as fundamental learning for all individuals called to caring professions.
Our curriculum has its roots in, and speaks to, the universal language of the psyche and soul of all human beings. Designed to address the evolving spiritual needs reflected in our communities and larger society, each course syllabus undergoes annual review, adapting and changing for relevance and usefulness.
Core Competencies for Ministerial Formation, inform the classroom learning objectives, homework assignments and independent study requirements, which prepare and measure each seminarian’s readiness for graduation.
Engage with the world’s knowledge, beliefs, traditions and practices
- World Religions & Perspectives: Understanding world traditions, exploring culture and practices, cultivating mystical awareness
- Contextual Education & Immersion: Personally engaging spiritual and cultural traditions, inter-religious dialogue and hospitality
- Theological Literacy: Understanding faith and the Interfaith movement, engaging sacred texts, exploring personal and Interfaith theology
Deepen understanding of self and psyche
- Psycho-spiritual development
- Strengthening the container of self for health in ministry
Define, express and embody one’s personal connection to Spirit
- Embodied Care & Leadership: Deepening one’s spiritual practice(s) for self-care, personal transformation, and responsive ministry with others
- Public Speaking & Community Ministry: Developing inspired teaching, public speaking and facilitation skills for myriad settings
- Arts for Awakening: Engaging transformative artistic practices in visual arts, music, and movement as pathways to the Divine
Explore spiritual care practices for individuals and communities
- Spiritual Care: Developing practical, inclusive spiritual care and ministry skills, prayer, spiritual care theology, and personal competence in deep listening, presence and compassion
- Ceremonial Ministry & Ritual-Making: Understanding ceremonial rites, elements of interfaith worship and tools for effective ritual creation
- Sacred Justice Ministry: Exploring pathways to applied ministry, cultural advocacy and social activism
Design and practice your unique path to service or ministry
- Supervised Practicum: Integration and application of core competencies
- Calling & Discernment: Exploring how your gifts, growing edges, vocational experiences and inner guidance interweave to form your way of ministering to the world.
“The Chaplaincy Institute (“CHI ”) offered me, and so many others like me, the opportunity to engage in the Interfaith dialogue in ways that most of us never imagined. CHI ’s curriculum is unique, in that students who are interested in Interfaith Ordination not only read, reflect, and engage with literature and liturgy from a wide scope of faith traditions, it also insists upon first-hand experience. This Nice Jewish Girl found herself genuflecting in embodied Muslim prayer, meditating with a Buddhist nun, kneeling in a Catholic mass, and sweating in a lodge with a Lakota guide. The insistence upon empathy and the invitation to compassionate sharing offered a clerical formation unlike anything I could have imagined.
CHI envisions as many different types of ministers, chaplains, and spiritual directors as individuals striving towards those ends. It is often repeated that people of all faiths, no faith, and everything in between are welcome both at the seminary and at the Interfaith services and workshops. There is an emphasis on the arts, inviting people to bring their authentic voice to their service. We sing, we dance, we eat, we pray, and we sit in silence while holding sacred space for each other.
CHI ’s Ministers, Spiritual Directors, and Chaplains are spiritually, emotionally, and academically ready to support the journeys of those whom they serve. With creativity and the remarkable talents of their dedicated staff and faculty, they offer so much more than a seminary; they have created their own community as well, one where inclusion and integrity are paramount. I feel blessed by my calling to service, but I feel that call answered by my experience at CHI .”
Our modular program features hybrid distance learning in order to serve students from near and far. Our goal is to join the best features of classroom teaching with independent learning to serve the needs of people who cannot spend a great deal of time on a campus and regularly attend classes. Courses are not available solely on-line.
In order to graduate, chaplaincy program students must complete each of the eight (8) required foundational courses, as well as 12-13 additional days of elective courses. Students should plan to begin with the Global Spiritual Tradition (GST) courses (parts 1 & II) before pursuing other required work and electives. Reading assignments and homework are due at the beginning of each course and typically include a reflection paper and an expressive arts project.
Students have up to three years to complete the coursework. While it may seem technically possible to complete the program in one year, a more realistic time frame is 18 months to 2 years. A two-year process allows for greater continuity and a deeper engagement with both the material and with The CHI Community.
In addition to Thematic Learning Modules, students work independently on requirements that include:
Each student is required to complete once-monthly Spiritual Direction/Spiritual Counseling sessions with an approved director, to commence after the student’s first module, and completing a minimum of 1 session per month for every month prior to graduation (or ordination), unless otherwise agreed upon between the student and CHI . [Note: Minimally this means 15 sessions, typically closer to 22.]
COMMIT TO A PERSONAL SPIRITUAL PRACTICE AND PARTICIPATE IN A SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY (DIFFERENT TRADITIONS VERY ACCEPTABLE)
The options for a personal spiritual practice are multiple and flexible. Examples include attendance at a weekly worship service, daily meditation, prayer based on a primary faith tradition, yoga, art or journaling, and so on. Practice should be discussed and tended in spiritual direction as well as in the Core Competencies Self-Assessment review.
As part of the Community Ministry and Social Transformation (CMST) coursework, students are also expected to attend and participate in the life and activities of an organized spiritual community. The community may be your long-standing religious home, but may as readily be a church temple, zendo, mosque, ashram or other community you feel called to meet more intimately for the period of time you are enrolled at CHI .
Each Interfaith Studies Program student is expected to visit and experience worship at a variety of houses of worship or spiritual centers in several faiths in his or her local community. The intent of this contextual learning requirement is to have the student engage with different faith traditions/expressions of spirituality beyond just observation (and, especially, to avoid “spiritual tourism.”) Site visit reports should contain evidence of both personal and contextual/cultural examination.
The student should pick a second tradition beyond their personal spiritual practice to delve into more deeply, and find a mentor to give guidance in that tradition. This second tradition should be explored formally for at least 6 months through regular study.
Each student is required to complete a written self-reflection assessment and assessment interview, which are to be completed about two-thirds of the way through the program.
Contextual learning gives each student the opportunity to integrate theological concepts and intellectual constructs into the flow of lived experience. Students are required to complete a 200-hour-supervised practicum (400 hours for those wishing to be ordained) in an area of interest relating to their desired focus of ministry or spiritual care. This is where each student can test their wings and begin to grow their ministry within the supportive structure of our learning community.
*Students pursuing ordination will have additional requirements for these elements.
CERTIFICATES & TITLES BESTOWED
All graduates of the Interfaith Studies Certificate Program receive a Certificate of Completion from The Chaplaincy Institute. All students who successfully complete the Interfaith Studies Program also receive an official transcript from The Chaplaincy Institute, which lists the student’s program start date and graduation date, and assigns a passing grade for all academic requirements. The ChI Seminary bestows Certificates of Completion and issues transcripts.
The ChI Interfaith Community bestows Interfaith Ordination and Clergy In Good Standing status.
types of interfaith chaplaincy & Ministry
Interfaith Chaplaincy and Community Ministry is a mix of established forms of spiritual care and leading-edge possibilities that expand the boundaries of how one can be of service. Some ministries, such as hospital or hospice chaplaincy, offer a more traditional career path. Other emerging opportunities, such as eco-chaplaincy or animal chaplaincy, tend to be more entrepreneurial.
Whether in a traditional setting or one that is on the frontier of what ministry is becoming, the ability to provide care for people of any faith – and those with no faith tradition – will make Interfaith ministers a valuable asset in any number of contexts.
Below is a sampling of how some of ChI ‘s ordained clergy are providing spiritual care and promoting peace, healing, harmony, and justice in the world. We hope their stories and forms of ministerial service will inspire you as you discern your own vocational path. Be sure to explore LIVING INTERFAITH