INTERFAITH CHAPLAINCY & COMMUNITY MINISTRY

Interfaith Chaplaincy & Ministry 2018-07-31T20:41:26+00:00
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UPCOMING CLASSES

Theological Literacy

May 13, 2019 @ 8:00 am - May 15, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

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PROGRAM LEADERSHIP

Seminary Dean Rev. Lauren Van Ham, M.A.

Seminary Dean Rev. Lauren Van Ham, M.A., was ordained with the very first cohort of CHI ordinands in 1999, and completed the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program in 2006. Before joining the CHI staff in 2010, Lauren served for 8 years as a staff chaplain at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco. From there she moved to a corporate environment, where she custom-designed employee programs for multi-national companies committed to sustainability and culture change. As part of her evolving call and commitment to “eco-chaplaincy”, Lauren served as Executive Director for Green Sangha (a non-profit dedicated to spiritually-engaged environmental activism) from 2004-2006 and has chaired Fair Trade Berkeley, a group whose dedication helped make Berkeley the 19th Fair Trade Town in the U.S. Lauren holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and Naropa University.

FIVE PATHS FOR INTERFAITH STUDIES EDUCATION

Please explore our several seminary paths. Have questions? Have a unique path 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 Studies Certificate Program focuses on a combination of the study of the world’s religions, an exploration of mystical paths and teachings, as well as on developing skills for the spiritual care art and science of Chaplaincy and Community Ministry. Semanarians immerse themselves in a deeply creative and nurturing environment to inquire, explore, and grow all of who they are.

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 come to an upcoming introductory event or contact us.

Those completing the Interfaith Studies Certificate Program may choose to follow the path to Interfaith Ordination as a Chaplain or Community Minister with The Chaplaincy Institute’s CHI Interfaith Community.
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.

MAP TO INTERFAITH CHAPLAINCY & MINISTRY

CORE CURRICULUM

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.

Five Threads comprise the curriculum and establish the Core Competencies for Ministerial Formation, which inform the classroom learning objectives, homework assignments and independent study requirements, which prepare and measure each seminarian’s readiness for graduation.

THE FIVE THREADS OF INTERFAITH STUDIES

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
  • Dreamwork

Define, express and embody one’s personal connection to Spirit

  • Personal Transformation & Self-care: Deepening spiritual practice, personal inquiry and reflection
  • Leadership & Communication Skills: Developing inspired teaching, speaking and facilitation skills
  • 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: Understanding ceremonial rites & elements of Interfaith worship
  • Community Ministry & Social Transformation: 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 .”

Rev. Jennifer Bernstein, Interfaith Minister, Veterinary Chaplain, Community Chaplain

PROGRAM STRUCTURE

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.

Students travel to Berkeley, California, to attend Thematic Learning Modules that focus on world religions as well as practical theological and ministry competencies. Modules are taught throughout the year in the same month of each year, which enables students to attend in any order they wish. Each module starts on a Wednesday and ends on a Sunday and has a distinct theme—either a world religion or a particular aspect of interfaith ministry.

During each module, a team of core and guest faculty guides students in an integral learning experience, incorporating theological, academic, creative and experiential elements. Class content includes didactic and experiential, theological and psychological, artistic and reflective modalities. Although each module is different, each offers opportunities to explore prayer, meditation and ritual through the lens of a particular faith tradition and all contain elements of ministry, chaplaincy and spiritual care skill-building, including:

  • Study of a World Faith Tradition
  • Classes incorporating the Five Threads of Interfaith Studies Curriculum
  • Student Sermon Presentations
  • Group Visit to a Place of Worship
  • Interfaith Worship Service

In order to graduate, all students must complete each of the twelve (12) required modules. With the exception of Spiritual Psychology (parts I and II), students do not need to take the modules sequentially; they can be taken in any order. Still, each of the twelve modules must be completed to fulfill program requirements, or to be considered for ordination. Required reading, a reflection paper, and an expressive arts project are due prior to each module.

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.

INDEPENDENT STUDY

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.]

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

ANIMAL CHAPLAIN
Grief Counselor
Music Ministry
Storytelling Minister
ART MINISTRY
Hospital Chaplain
Prison Chaplain or Minister
Youth Minister
COMMUNITY MINISTER
Hospice Chaplain/Hospice Spiritual Counselor
Social Justice Minister
ECO-CHAPLAIN
Ministry to Children and Parents
Spiritual Renewal Minister

THE WORLD NEEDS YOU, NOW

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