2023 Conference Workshops

Workshop Session 1 (Monday)

Exploring Interfaith Through the Arts

This workshop will invite participants to explore the arts (dance, music, poetry, and visual art, in particular) as a modality to strengthen relationships among and between interfaith communities. Using Interfaith America’s methodology, Racial Equity Commitment, and recent projects as a model, participants will learn how individual and collective artistic expression can inspire joy, communicate both positive and painful lived experiences, and coalesce new communities.

Presented by 

Harmeet Kaur Kamboj (they/them), Program Manager, Interfaith America

Fellowship vs. Community: The importance of play in building communities of faith

With the decrease of attendance for religious practice it is clear that students are seeking community. As chaplains we can get caught up on providing spiritual support and educational programs that we forget about play. This workshop will focus on generating community through play and how we have seen it work in our communities. This includes both students and coworkers.             

Presented by

Alexandra Miller-Knaack, Assistant Chaplain, Oxford College of Emory University

Nurturing, Supporting, Honoring: Insights from Military Chaplaincy for Spiritual Leaders in Higher Education

One of the largest employers of chaplains in the US is our nation’s armed forces. Doctrines and practices of religious support developed by military chaplains through times of peace and of war may provide useful concepts for navigating bureaucracies and optimizing chaplaincy services on college and university campuses.

Presented by

Barry R. Baron, Colgate University

Making Mindfulness a Sought After Practice

This workshop will be an opportunity to discover how a college chaplain or spiritual life director can make mindfulness practices available throughout their campus and use those practices to promote respect, compassion, and empathy for all. I will use as an example the work that I have done to make mindfulness practice available on our campus by promoting a program I call Gulls Pause (the gull is our campus mascot and spirit animal). I will include how I have brought mindfulness practice to our athletic teams, to our clubs and organizations, to classrooms, and more. Each participant will have the opportunity to create initiatives that would work for their school and their resources.

Presented by

Rev. Dr. Gail Cantor, Director of Belonging and Spiritual Life, Endicott College

Stories that Heal not Stories that Harm: How Storytellers Shape New Futures

In this interactive workshop, journalist and educator Abdul-Rehman Malik draws on the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, global peacebuilding practices, and lessons from on the ground training around the world from Indonesia to Tunisia to the UK and beyond to explore ways in which stories can empower people to imagine a world beyond violence and division. More important, we’ll explore how we can find joy in creating a new “We”.

Presented by

Abdul-Rehman Malik Director, Muslim Leadership Lab, Dwight Hall at Yale Lecturer, Yale Divinity School

Workshop Session 2 (Monday)

Developing Buy-In from Part Time Chaplains

We will discuss different ways to incentivize part time chaplains to commit to service at our institutions.  How do we incentivize, provide benefits, and add value for chaplains who only visit or work at our institutions part time?  How can we integrate them into the culture of the school?  Finally, we will focus on how to collaborate with them to make the greatest impact on our campuses.            

Presented by

Director Yasin Ahmed, Ithaca College

Finding Joy and Wonder with Religiously-Unaffiliated Students

This workshop will offer a rationale for engaging religiously-unaffiliated students and invite participants into a conversation about whether a focus on the spirituality and worldviews of religiously-unaffiliated students is consistent with the purposes of the chaplaincy in each participant’s context. It will demonstrate approaches to cultivating mindfulness and experiences of connection, wonder and awe with religiously unaffiliated students. Brittany Longsdorf will lead participants in practices from her course “Arts and Spirituality” that invoke mindfulness and create openings for awe and wonder.

Presented by

Brittany Longsdorf, Multifaith Chaplain at Bates College

Raymond Clothier, Associate Multifaith Chaplain at Bates College

Holding Breathing Space

We will explore the promise and challenges of holding spaces where all members of the institution can engage the spiritual and human practice of breathing. In multiple traditions, observing breath is a practice that allow us to pay attention, ground in our bodies, and notice with gratitude. Using the creation of the Esch Hurvis Center for Spiritual and Religious Life as a case study, this will be an opportunity to reflect together on the promise and challenges of holding a counter- cultural space for breathing. We will explore both the nuts and bolts and the larger philosophical and communication challenges of doing this work.

Presented by

Linda Morgan-Clement, Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life and Chaplain to the University, Lawrence University

Asher McMullen, Practices Fellow, Lawrence University

Humanist Art of Living: Possibilities in a Changing World

In the current social and political climate, students are yearning for spaces and practices to fashion lives that are meaningful, challenge the status quo, and nurture critical sensibilities. Higher education requires reflexive spaces to grapple with the “big questions.” In this workshop, participants will learn how a humanist orientation can provide openings for students who are eager to expand their creative capacities and cultivate a philosophy of everyday life. Drawing from the presenter’s autoethnographic tales in the field leading a Humanist Chaplaincy, this workshop also provides tools and strategies for spiritual and religious practitioners to facilitate inquiry about the complexities of everyday life.

Presented by

Anthony Cruz Pantojas, Humanist Chaplain, Tufts University

Working with Off-Campus Religious Organizations – A Collaborative Discussion

As Chaplains we are tasked with supporting students of various religious backgrounds, affiliations, and identities. At times, this offers a welcome opportunity to partner with an outside organization or program specifically aligned with a particular mission, tradition, or identity. Other times, this collaboration is not so straightforward and may include concerns about an outside organization’s high-control tactics and/or practices that conflict with our institutions’ anti-discrimination policies. We will explore three distinct and brief scenarios that illuminate some of the challenges our colleagues have experienced and approaches they have taken to addressing these groups. We will incorporate policy and guideline sharing, legal considerations, and best practices for determining when to not formally recognize a student group connected with an outside organization or to terminate an existing relationship.

Presented by

The Rev. Dr. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger Associate Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life, Director of Student Engagement Office for Religious & Spiritual Life, Stanford University 

Rev. Maeba Jonas Chaplain and Director of Religious & Spiritual Life, Goucher College 

Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger University Chaplain, Tufts University

Workshop Session 3 (Tuesday)

Contemplative Practices and the Question of Self-Care

How can we as chaplains uniquely assist students seeking stress relief as well as discover a deeper purpose? Secular mindfulness-type practices are geared for individual self-help but are not practiced within the context of a faith tradition, with its particular values, ethics, and purpose toward greater compassion and connection. While mindfulness can be very effective as a set of tools for stress relief, its popular promotion as self-help infers that an individual working on oneself can solve stresses that are perpetuated by racist, gender-biased, classist, and other societal systems. In her book, Liberating Mindfulness: from Billion-Dollar Industry to Engaged Spirituality (Orbis: 2022), Gail Stearns discusses these issues from the perspective of a campus religious professional and mindfulness teacher. In this workshop, we will develop these concepts further:  Jibreel Speight discussing ways Islamic practices can guide students toward greater understanding of self, connection with the Divine, and activism; Andrea Seigel offering similar yet unique insights from Judaism, and Gail from Christianity. We hope participants will have broadly defined contemplative practices they use with students to share that can invite students to dive deeper inwardly, and reach outwardly toward more purposeful action than they achieve by simply turning on a mindfulness app!

Presented by

Rev. Dr. Gail Stearns, Dean, Wallace All Faiths Chapel, Chapman University

Shaykh Jibreel Speight, Director of Muslim Life, Chapman University

Dr. Andrea Seigel, Director of Jewish Life, Chapman University

The Role of the University Chaplain and Retention

While some may consider University Chaplaincy an 'old world' practice, it is in fact a cutting-edge discipline in the Psychology and Sociology fields. Research studies have shown that chaplains can help bring about successful student retention - both from the perspective of those who have chosen to stay on campus, as well as those students who are considering leaving at the end of their current academic year.   

Presented by

Rev. Herbert A. Brisbon, III Dillard University

Using Circle Process & Restorative Practices in Spiritual Life

Participants will explore the foundations of Restorative Practices and Circle Process. This indigenous practice has roots across communities and throughout human history. It provides participants the opportunity to create knowledge outside of traditional dialogue models, which often pit people against each other, by building shared knowledge on a foundation of deep listening. Circle process can provide chaplains with an additional tool in their toolkit as they seek to bring wholeness to their communities. This process is a great tool for use in support groups, retreats, and at times when groups are struggling to build healthy community.           

Presented by

Kate Smanik, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Colby College

W{holy} Queer: Fostering Integration, Community & Joy with LGBTQ Students 

Witnessing students bloom into the fullness of who they are is one of our greatest joys as chaplains and religious life professionals. In this workshop we will explore how to nurture integration, community and joy with LGBTQ students through pastoral care and programming. Chaplain Rev. Jenny Peek will share about [their] experience leading W{holy} Queer, an interfaith LGBTQ community of over 100 students on Yale’s campus, supporting faith- specific queer communities, and providing pastoral care to LGBTQ undergraduate and graduate students.

Presented by

Rev. Jenny Peek, Associate University Chaplain, Yale University

Who Gets Approved?

This workshop will discuss the challenges of approving campus religious or para church organizations. What are the criteria for recognition, what are the responsibilities of campus organizations, and what are the privileges? What happens when a campus organization violates policies and procedures? What is the application process for new organizations? What if you suspect a group is a cult? This workshop deals with the intricacies of working with religious organizations.

Presented by

Dr. Nisa Muhammad Assistant Dean of Religious Life Howard University

Nathan Albert Associate Chaplain University of Lynchburg

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