Africana Spirituality at Tufts

01/23/2014 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - The annual MLK celebration at Tufts University on January 23, 2014. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

The annual MLK celebration at Tufts University on January 23, 2014. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

The University Chaplaincy makes diversity, equity, and social justice central to our work, including specific initiatives to support Africana spiritual life at Tufts. Below are some of the ways that Tufts community members can connect with resources for Africana spirituality on campus. The University Chaplaincy is always eager to discuss other opportunities to provide spiritual support for the Tufts community. For more information, please contact the University Chaplain at chaplaincy@tufts.edu.

Interfaith Initiatives

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observances: The University Chaplaincy works closely with the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and the Africana Center on programming to celebrate the life, work, and legacy of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These programs include the annual Tufts University MLK Celebration in Goddard Chapel, and in recent years an MLK Day of Service and a university-wide MLK donation drive for those in need.

Interfaith Student Council: The University Chaplaincy Interfaith Student Council includes regular representation from the Africana community, and co-sponsors programs such as anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism trainings for Tufts religious and philosophical student organization leaders.

CAFE Interfaith Social Justice Pre-Orientation Program: The University Chaplaincy resumed the CAFE interfaith social justice pre-orientation program in August 2015, with a core focus on anti-racism engagement both in peer leader training and in the content of the pre-orientation program for incoming student participants.

Lectures and Workshops: The University Chaplaincy regularly sponsors and co-sponsors lectures and workshops featuring Africana spiritual leaders, such as a Fletcher School panel with the Reverend Kapya Kaoma on October 31, 2015; a Women’s Center panel with the Reverend Irene Monroe on November 9, 2015; the New England Interfaith Student Summit at Northeastern University with Liberian Nobel Peace Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee on February 11-12, 2016; and a Fletcher School panel with the Reverend Irene Monroe on April 6, 2016.

MemorialPlaque

A plaque commemorating deceased members of the Tufts Africana community is displayed in Goddard Chapel. (Sofie Hecht/The Tufts Daily)

Goddard Chapel: Fulfilling the vision of beloved Tufts History professor Gerald R. Gill, the University Chaplaincy installed the Tufts/Medford Black Freedom Trail Tufts Africana Memorial Plaque in Goddard Chapel as part of the Social Movements and the Black Intellectual Tradition Symposium on November 20, 2015, and we help to maintain this plaque for the Tufts community. Goddard Chapel also offers copies of the Lift Every Voice and Sing II African American hymnal for worship.

 

Vigils: The University Chaplaincy works with the Africana Center and student leaders to sponsor vigils when necessary to honor experiences in the Africana community, such as the Vigil to Remember the Lives Lost at Garissa University in Kenya in Goddard Chapel on April 7, 2015.

Associated Chaplaincies

Buddhist Life

Tufts Buddhist in Residence Venerable Upali Sraman assisted in coordinating an important conference on Buddhism and Race at Harvard Divinity School on April 22-23, 2016.

Catholic Life

On-campus Catholic Mass is regularly celebrated by African and Haitian priests, including Fr. Marcel Uwineza, Fr. Celestine Emeka, Fr. Bernard Karerwa, Fr. Clement Kouassi, and Fr. Gustave Miracle.

The Catholic Community at Tufts maintains a regular mission partnership with Saint Patrick Church in Roxbury, as well as facilitating student participation in regular community service in inner-city Boston through the Earthen Vessels Program.

Humanist Life

The Humanist Chaplaincy seeks to lift up the voices of Black Humanists, such as through a public conversation with Harvard Divinity School professor Dr. Cheryl Giles on September 28, 2015 and small group reflection meetings featuring the work of Tracy Chapman A87, H04.

Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman A87, DFA04

Jewish Life

The Jewish Chaplaincy supports the Tufts with Rwanda Fellowship Program and an annual interfaith student trip to Rwanda to the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village. It also supports the Delicious Peace Interfaith Initiative with Rabbi Gershom Sizomu of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda, who spoke at Tufts on November 10, 2015.

Muslim Life

On-campus Muslim Jumah Prayer is regularly led by African American imams, including Harvard’s Imam Taymullah Abdurrahman.

The Tufts Muslim Students Association regularly hosts special events featuring Black Muslim leaders, such as a lecture on Race and Islam with Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans on March 3, 2016.

Protestant Life

EdwinJohnson

The Reverend Edwin Johnson A04

On-campus Protestant Worship is regularly led by African American ministers, including The Reverend Dr. Karen Montagno, The Reverend Dr. Lisa Fortuna, and The Reverend Edwin Johnson A04.

Africana community members regularly participate in and lead Tufts’ several Protestant student communities: C. Stacey Woods Programming Board, Non-denominational Christian Fellowship, and Protestant Students Association.

For many years, a weekly Africana scripture study called Capen Bible Study has been offered at the Tufts Africana Center.

Africana community members are also active in local congregations, including Pentecostal Tabernacle in Cambridge, MA.

 

Other Resources Related to Africana Spiritual Life at Tufts:

Africana Center

Africana Studies

American Studies

Center for STEM Diversity

Center for the Study of Race and Democracy

Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora

Kiniwe: West African Music Ensemble

Office of Multicultural Affairs (Tufts School of Medicine)

Office of Equal Opportunity

Office of the Chief Diversity Officer

Peace and Justice Studies

Student Affairs Pluralism Initiatives

Third Day Gospel Choir