The Chaplaincy’s Mission
Worship Space and Religious Inquiry and Education
The Tufts Chaplaincy provides students with a vibrant and safe context in which to explore faith issues and ultimate concerns. We offer regular worship services for students in Goddard Chapel and the Interfaith Center. Granoff Hillel Center as part of the chaplaincy provides opportunities for Jewish worship and faith exploration. Together we offer a variety of venues in which students can express, deepen and expand their spirituality.
An important part of our Chaplaincy is our support for Student Religious Groups on campus, who are approved by the chaplaincy and student government. Through these groups students find communities in which they can gather with others who share their faith/or ethical tradition. Students give leadership to these groups and reach out to Chaplains and Advisors for support and connection.
Leaders from these religious groups come together to form an Advisory Student Council which works with the Chaplaincy as part of the Chaplaincy.
The Tufts Chaplaincy is committed to supporting a vibrant spiritual life for diverse religious/ethical communities. Each Chaplain,
as well as designated Advisors, is here to serve these communities. Each chaplain serves those who are in that tradition through regular worship and other programs. Valuing religious diversity and multiculturalism, we support the education of tomorrow’s leaders for global citizenship by actively encouraging dialogue, cooperation, and reconciliation among the wide variety of religious/ethical traditions on our campuses.
We know that one’s religious tradition and personal spiritual life is the foundation of ethics for many in the Tufts community, as well as in the world at large. We will help nurture sensitivity to ethical issues and empower Tufts people at all levels of the university to confront them effectively.
Service and Social Action
Believing that religious and spiritual commitments must be applied in action, we will encourage community and social involvement within the contexts of shared religious values.
Counseling and Conciliation
We have a unique role as counselors and conciliators at times of personal and community-wide crisis, from deaths to racial incidents. We stand ready at all times of day and night to assist any Tufts person, group, or the university itself to re-establish equilibrium and experience meaningful growth.
Tufts spirit often develops with particular communities at the university rather than generically. We are aware that people who find strong affiliation with their religious tradition at the university also find their loyalty to Tufts enhanced.
The Chaplaincy at work is one of the most diverse centers of University life. Most major religions are represented here and students are enriched by ongoing dialogue and sharing between people from different faith traditions – and no particular faith tradition.
There is wide diversity within religious traditions as well as between them, ranging from conservative-orthodox to liberal. And within each tradition are adherents of various branches of those traditions along with the different perspectives that regional experiences bring. The Chaplaincy is supportive of all who seek, regardless of their tradition or their adherence.
The history of religious life at Tufts, which once included a Universalist Divinity School, continues to enliven our current expressions of religious life. It is exciting and inspiring to help students express and explore their faith traditions in this University setting, and to be exposed to the rich diversity in our community. There is no doubt that this enhances the dynamic educational experience at Tufts.
The University is committed to the support of the Chaplaincy and all it contributes to life at Tufts.
Relationship between Established
and the Chaplaincy at
The Chaplaincy at Tufts University relates to multiple established religious organizations in the community including but not limited to Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Buddhist communities of faith.
In addition, the Chaplaincy has recognized two religious organizations dedicated to Campus ministry, Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. The Director of Hillel is also the Chaplain for Jewish students. The Advisor (s) for Intervarsity is a Designated Advisor.
The Chaplaincy vets potential religious organizations and relates to student religious organizations approved by Student Life, and their Designated Advisors where such exist. (See our policy, “Policy on Religious and Spiritual Groups.”)
Through these Chaplains, Student Religious Organizations and Designated Advisors, the University relates to religious communities beyond the University, and these organizations are resources for one another. As the Chaplaincy interacts
with religious communities inside and outside of the University, we are grateful for and dedicated to honoring the University’s commitment to religious diversity and freedom and non-discrimination.
Between and within each religious community there is a rich diversity of beliefs and worldviews regarding social issues and theology. The Chaplaincy is challenged to respect these differences while seeking to identify opportunities for Interfaith and intra-faith learning and cooperation. Bringing together the richness of religious and spiritual practice on campus, we encourage deep ethical reflection and action.
Understanding the Relationship
between Chaplains and Religious Student Organizations and Religious
Organizations with connections beyond Tufts.
Chaplains. All Chaplains paid by the University are responsible to the University. At the same time, Chaplains whose ordination or position connects them to parent organizations also have responsibilities to those organizations. It is up to each Chaplain to balance this dual loyalty to the benefit of their ministry on campus and their service to their religious organization.
The relationship between student organizations, on-campus chaplains and Advisors, and faith groups outside of the community, is multidimensional as student groups worship, program, and engage in service and social action.
The University employs a Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant Chaplain who are responsible to the University, are available as a liaison and resource for their counterpart religious groups and are available to connect individual groups with University and community resources.
Student religious organizations that are approved by the Chaplaincy are not required to have Advisors outside of their group though they may seek out Advisors. Each group, however, has a constituting document which acknowledges ties to a particular
faith group and philosophical position, and in some cases provides Advisors.
Where religious groups do not affiliate with a University Chaplain or Advisor, the University Chaplain is a liaison and resource for them.
Worship. Where student groups affiliate with particular religious traditions, they are expected to follow the universally
agreed upon practices for worship of that group.
When electing leaders and relating to the TCU, student groups will do so within the limitations of their constitution and without the intervention of advisors or chaplains.
Programming. In programmatic matters, the Chaplaincy requires all programs offered by religious groups on campus to originate with those groups or with the Office of the Chaplaincy. The University is not a programmatic venue for outside groups. (Groups outside of the University will not broadcast on-campus events even when they are hosted by on-campus groups.)
When planning programs and engaging in service and social action, we can expect religious groups on campus to reflect the diversity of social and ethical perspectives and theological and world views existing in their communities.
In addition, we look to these groups to foster interfaith and interreligious cooperation and to deal with differences with civility and integrity utilizing the services of Chaplains and Advisors.
Conflict. When conflict arises, the Chaplaincy is committed to helping individuals and groups address that conflict responsibly
and creatively, honoring the University’s commitment to diversity, academic and religious freedom, and non-discrimination.
UNIVERSITY CHAPLAINCY POLICY ON RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS AT TUFTS UNIVERSITY
The Office of the University Chaplaincy includes the University Chaplain, who reports directly to the University President, Administrative Staff, and four other Chaplains, who are appointed by both the University Chaplain and the University President and who represent the Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant faiths on campus and Administrative Staff hired by the University Chaplain.
The University Chaplain will work closely with the Chaplains as they relate, in an advisory capacity, to all student religious groups/organizations with connections to their broad religious affiliations. Groups that do not fall within the specific Chaplain’s auspices will connect directly to the University Chaplain and are encouraged to seek out the services of a Designated Advisor.
Chaplains, affiliated student groups, and advisors will honor the University’s commitment to diversity in values and beliefs, civility, and non-discrimination.
When student groups are seeking recognition from the Office of Student Life, if they are religious groups, they will need approval by the University Chaplain and will need to meet the following criteria:
- There is a need that is not being met by established and recognized religious/spiritual groups already on campus. No duplication will be allowed.
- The new group has to welcome and allow non-members/followers/believers to attend all meetings, services, or gatherings, honoring the University’s policies of non-discrimination and free speech.
- The new group is able to respect other religious groups on campus and act out of that respect.
- The new group must make clear its religious affiliation in its name.
- The new group will not attempt to convert and engage in the act of “winning people over” or challenging the belief or lack thereof of any member of the Tufts University family.
- Cults as defined in the “Understanding Cults” brochure of the Office of the University Chaplain will not be accepted as religious student groups.