About Us


The University is a religiously diverse community and our policies and procedures at the Interfaith Chapel honor the spirit of that diversity. We strive to be both “multi-faith” and “interfaith,” meaning that we honor each tradition in its uniqueness and particularity while also celebrating the diversity and the challenges and opportunities that diversity brings by forming an intentional, interfaith community in the chapel and the campus at large.

Foundational Principles Guiding Community Life at the Interfaith Chapel

  1. The University of Rochester’s Interfaith Chapel is home to the religions of the world. It serves as “an house of prayer for all peoples.” It is both a place for the practice of all faith traditions and a religious and spiritual center that supports interreligious learning, dialogue and action. The Interfaith Chapel provides resources and opportunities for religious and spiritual life to flourish on campus serving students, faculty, staff and the larger community. The Interfaith Chapel contributes through its programs and activities to the mission of the University to educate students and prepare them for life in a pluralistic and diverse world.
  2. All religious and/or spiritual groups are welcome. Each group is expected to have a chaplain or other religious or group leader (appointed by the religious or spiritual group or by the University) and a student leader, both of whom are asked to agree in writing to comply with the chapel’s statement of policies of affiliation and the Communal Expectations for Religious Life (see below) to ensure a clear understanding of the University’s expectations for its religious and spiritual groups. All recognized groups and their recognized leaders are expected to abide by these policies and communal expectations for life in a multi-faith community.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Interfaith Chapel, which all religious and spiritual groups affiliated with the chapel support, is as follows:

Formation of Religious Groups on Campus 

Students who wish to form a religious or spiritual group must abide by the policies and procedures for student groups as prescribed by the Student Activities Office. The Director of Religious and Spiritual Life often serves as initial advisor to newly forming religious and spiritual groups. On a space-available basis, religious and spiritual groups hold their regular meetings in the Interfaith Chapel. If the chapel is unavailable for a student religious or spiritual group, that group may then ask for meeting space in other venues on campus.

The religious and spiritual communities currently affiliated with the Interfaith Chapel are as follows:

The Newman Community, PCC, Hillel, Chabad and CRU communities are served by full-time chaplains. URCF, the Korean Christian Community, the Asian Christian Community, the Muslim community and the Zen Meditation Group are all served by part-time chaplains or religious leaders. The remaining groups are primarily student groups under the advisement of the director.

Religious Holidays

Arts, Sciences and Engineering policy and practice are that classes not to be dismissed on religious holidays. It is expected, however, that students will not be penalized in any way for observing religious holidays. Instructors are asked not to schedule examinations in conflict with such holidays. See the religious holiday’s page for a list of holidays.

New York State Education Law provides that students who choose not to attend classes or take exams on certain days because of their religious beliefs will be given an equivalent opportunity to make up the work requirements or exams they miss without penalties.

Religious Recruitment

(Excerpts from A Guide to Making Safe Judgments About Groups on Campus)

While you are a student on this campus many organizations may ask you to join them. The great majority of these groups are well meaning and constructive, whether they are religious, self-improvement, service, social or political in nature. In addition, there are many individuals and groups on campus who would like to share their “ideas” with you. Often these ideas include values and beliefs they hold about the world around them. They may approach you after class, in your residence hall, in front of Wilson Commons, or elsewhere. In addition to sharing with you the answers they have found to life’s questions, they may seek to enlist your time, energy and resources in endeavors they believe to be worthwhile. In short, they may ask you to join their groups and make substantial contributions of time and money to their causes.

Although it is healthy for groups to further their causes and recruit new members, some groups use recruiting tactics that are deceitful, manipulative and coercive. The following questions are designed to help you assess a group that seeks your commitment. The questions could apply not only when you are being recruited, but also after you have been involved for some time.

Questions to ask yourself:

Does the group...

If you responded yes to any of these questions, you may want to discuss this with the resource individuals listed below:

Rev. Dr. C. Denise Yarbrough, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life: (585) 275-8422
International Services Office: (585) 275-2866
University Counseling Center: (585) 275-3113