Spirituality Resources

Seminary offers multiple settings to explore spirituality and practices that nurture the life of the spirit. Union’s Office of Student Affairs takes the lead in organizing programs that are relevant and transformational. Students, staff and faculty listen to the spirit and work together to provide diverse and inclusive spiritual resources.


Union Theological Seminary offers students access to skilled spiritual care through our SpiritCare Team. Come for a conversation during posted campus hours or schedule an appointment at a time that is convenient for you.

Pandit Dasa, Interfaith Chaplain
Pandit Dasa is a resource for spiritual formation who encourages thoughtful reflection and dialogue and provides spiritual support in times of personal concern. He is an author, inspirational speaker and meditation teacher. Pandit spent 15 years living as a Hindu monk in New York City. In his book, Urban Monk: Exploring Karma, Consciousness and the Divine, he writes about the events in his life that inspired him to dedicate a portion of his life to the monastic order. More information about Pandit here: http://www.consciouslivingnyc.com/

Contact Information: Email: nycpandit@gmail.com

Rev. Fran Thiessen, Spiritual Director
Rev. Fran Thiessen helps students discover the place where their deepest desire meets God’s invitation. She is Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Norwood, NJ. Rev. Thiessen studied the Art of Spiritual Direction at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California, where she earned a Certificate in the Art of Supervision. A graduate of Union in 2005, she is an ordained Presbyterian minister and a member of Spiritual Directors International.

Contact Information: Phone: (201) 390-1546; Email franthiessen@gmail.com


At Union and in New York City there are unlimited opportunities to participate in diverse and inclusive worship practices. James Chapel is the setting for regular chapel worship during the academic term at noon, Monday through Thursday, as well as special services at various times throughout the week. The Director of Worship and student Chapel Ministers work with students and faculty in planning these services, through volunteer and invited leadership. Participation in the Seminary Choir and the Gospel Choir provide opportunities for singing in chapel services and other special events.


This group of students, staff and faculty support spiritual formation on campus in collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs, to provide spirituality resources for the entire Union community. This committee is a sounding board for ideas and programs and a place to advocate for deeper forms of spiritual practice.


Union’s curriculum informs and guides students on a challenging path of spiritual formation. Supplemental co-curricular courses for one credit are offered for your enrichment, especially in the areas of spiritual formation and the practice of ministry. Consider one of the SU 125 Introduction to Spiritual Formation courses, or one of the SU 190 Topics in Ministry courses to relate leadership skills to your spiritual practices. See course catalog for full details.

Recent SU 125 Introduction to Spiritual Formation sections include:

    • Spirit and the Politics of Disablement, Sharon Betcher
    • Trans Sounds of Black Freedom and Black Spirituality, Michael Roberson
    • Faith Seeking Understanding: Intentional Community from Medieval Model to Contemporary, Jane Huber
    • The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Roger Haight
    • Ministry of Black Women’s Self-Care, Kimberly McCrae

Recent SU 190 Topics in Ministry sections include:

    • Sabbath: A Profound Spiritual and Subversive Practice, Nahum Ward-Lev
    • The Twenty-first Century Parish: Living the Dash Between the Nitty and the Gritty, Donna Schaper
    • Online as in Heaven: Doing Religion in the Digital Age, Paul Raushenbush
    • Moral Injury and Soul Repair in Veterans, Trauma-Survivors, and Care-givers, Rita Nakashima Brock
    • Intimate Peace, Intimate Justice: Responding to Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence in Communities of Faith, Sally MacNichol