University Chaplain's Welcome
The Kay Spiritual Life Center has been an integral part of the campus since its dedication in 1965 and has served as a place where the entire community could, regardless of faith, gather for worship, fellowship, meditation, prayer and the exchange of ideas. The defining character is an a priori welcome to people of all faiths. This ethic of hospitality extends beyond the borders of organized religion and extends to all who are interested in exploring the deeper yearnings of the spirit. It is rooted in an understanding that there is power in living in a diverse environment where people of all creeds and beliefs are invited to share in the experience of a shared affirmation of our common humanity. The witness of the Kay Center is that how we live is just as important as what we believe. The late theologian William Sloane Coffin captures this ethos best when he said that “The integrity of love is greater than the purity of dogma.”
Our differences in belief and practice are celebrated and affirmed Our chaplains are Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Baha’i, Muslim, Unitarian Universalist, Sikh and all exercise particular callings for wholeness of spirit and health of body. The religious activity generated by this vastness is both particular and radically inclusive.
In addition the Kay Center provides a setting for a host of programs that invite people to probe the moral dimensions of the great social, political and economic issues confronting the city, the nation and the planet. Grappling with core concerns of equity, fairness and justice provides a transformational metaphysic that can lead to new dimensions of disclosure about self and the world – guiding everyone involved toward greater fullness of life in all its glory and mysteries
In both daily interactions and in occasions of great purpose and ritual, the Kay Center serves to remind us all of the essential foundation of our human connectedness and therein lies its special quality. It is the place to which people come in times of celebration, joy, sadness and suffering. It was to the Chapel that immediately after the tragedy of 9/11 people from all over the campus spontaneously gathered.
On the south side of the quad stands the Bender Library and the Kay Center secures the north side. Together they form the intellectual and spiritual anchors that bind the campus community together. The 16-foot impressionist flame atop the Center evokes responses as diverse as the university itself, but is always pointing toward the search for ultimate meaning. Kay Center’s sacred space is not only integral to this university; it is also a place where the university encounters itself and its Creator.
Rev. Joe Eldridge