There’s been much discussion online about a Union chapel this week, in which the Union community was asked to engage with the plants, soil, rocks, birds, trees in our lives: confessing harm, hope, love, gratitude. The chapel was held as part of Professor Claudio Carvalhaes’ class: “Extractivism: A Ritual/Liturgical Response,” in which he and students develop liturgical responses to our climate crisis. It was a beautiful, moving ritual. You can read more of our thoughts on the service itself here.
This is just one expression of worship here at Union. Union Theological Seminary is grounded in the Christian tradition, and at the same time deeply committed to inter-religious engagement. Union’s daily chapel is, by design, a place where people from all the wondrous faith traditions at Union can express their beliefs. And, given the incredible diversity of our community, that means worship looks different every day! One day, you may come in to find a traditional Anglican communion, another day you may enter into a service of Buddhist meditation or Muslim prayer. Another, you may find a Pentecostal praise service or a silent Quaker meeting. We create a home where people can worship side by side, in traditions similar to and very different to their own. Through this process, we learn from our neighbors and discern our own faith more deeply. In a world riven by religious and sectarian violence, we hope to model faith that seeks to build bridges and peacefully discern God’s will together in community.
The diversity and breadth of our chapel services is a huge part of what makes Union Union. And we wouldn’t change it for the world.