Brown University Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life

This profile was last updated in 2003

Activities and Schedule

During term time, scheduled religious services take place through the three main religious centers on campus: Manning Chapel, Hillel House, and the Muslim Student Center. Manning hosts: Ecumenical Protestant Worship Sundays at 12:30 p.m., Imani Jubilee Worship Sundays at 6 p.m., Roman Catholic Masses on Saturdays at 5:10 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m., Zen Meditation Mondays through Thurdays at 7:30 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30-9:30 p.m., and Multifaith Meditation Fridays at 4-5 p.m. Hillel House hosts: Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Sabbath Services on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Conservative Sabbath Services Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. The Muslim Student Center hosts: Jumah Prayer Services Fridays at 1:15 p.m. Other regularly-scheduled religious life programs include Weekly Interfaith Suppers and Discussions Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. at the University Chaplain’s home and Brown Multifaith Council Meetings (contact the Office for scheduled times). The chaplaincy also provides programming for many major religious holidays and holy days. Numerous other religious groups meet at various times, including Brown Baha’i Students, Brown Catholic Community, Brown Christian Fellowship, Brown Christian Science Organization, Brown Hillel, Brown Muslim Students Association, College Hill for Christ, Gospel Voices Praise Choir, Heathen/Pagan Discussion Group, Hindu Prayer Group, International Graduate Student Bible Study, Latter Day Saints, Orthodox Christian Association, Quaker Student Group, Reformed University Fellowship, Seventh Day Adventists, Unitarian Universalists, The Word on Fridays, and Zen Group Meeting. Contact the Office or consult the internet for specific times and locations of group meetings.

Description

Brown University, founded as Rhode Island College in 1764, originally embraced a Baptist affiliation but it was also explicitly ecumenical (and thus multifaith) from the very beginning. During the 1930s, the University became officially nonsecatrian and divided two main aspects of “religion”–religious studies and religious life–between the Religious Studies Department and the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life. In the following years, both religious studies and religious life at Brown expanded considerably beyond their Christian origins to include attention to and the participation of people of many different religious traditions. The Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life has adopted a model with a Chaplain of the University, numerous other staff chaplains, and still more campus ministers. Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Jewish chaplains still compose the majority of the chaplaincy staff, but their hope is to expand that panel to institutionalize ministry to many other faiths represented on campus. The Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities on campus are already very large and active, and many other religious groups receive significant chaplaincy support. In addition to worship and faith development opportunities, the chaplaincy also provides pastoral care, lifecycle rites, prayer at university events, and a spectacular interreligious baccalaureate service during Commencement. Two of its most exciting programs are the Thursday Supper and Discussion series and the Brown Multifaith Council, which bring various diverse members of the University together for personal reflection and interfaith dialogue. The chaplaincy sponsors or co-sponsors many major university and public lectures and events related to religious and ethical topics. It works closely with Brown’s renowned Swearer Center for Public Service in promoting many public service and social justice causes and projects. Members of the wider Providence and Rhode Island communities have been known to participate in Brown’s religious programming, especially when their faiths are underrepresented in the State (e.g., Hinduism). Conversely, many university members are significantly involved in the State’s diverse religious communities–such as the Vedanta Society of Providence and the Providence Zen Center, the latter having been founded largely by Brown University members.