Founder of Hamilton, Rev. Samuel Kirkland, had a vision for an institution centered on an educational outreach to the Oneida Indians, an expression of his enduring connection to this community. Kirkland’s vision included an ethical and spiritual dimension of appreciating diversity, and of educating the whole person, summing up his educational philosophy in this way: “the culture of the heart is to be considered as an important object in every part of education.”
Chaplaincy Mission Statement
The chaplaincy seeks to encourage the diversity of religious, spiritual, cultural and moral worldviews at Hamilton College and to create opportunities to build a strong community life within and across these lines of identity.
Providing an open and welcoming space, the chaplaincy works to create a mindful presence for the campus community serving as a teacher, counselor, and advisor offering a listening ear, responsive wisdom, and partnership in envisioning the course of life ahead.
Taking a leadership role in communal life, the chaplaincy strives to articulate our collective shared commitment to experiential education, through the lens of social justice, mutual care, and personal meaning, creating pathways — on- and off-campus — as individuals and as a community, to lives of purpose and engaged citizenship.
Current efforts supported by the chaplaincy includes:
• worship and prayer services
• spiritual music
• individual & group study/ classes
• observance of holy days
• experiences of meditation and mindfulness
• interreligious dialogue and opportunities to learn about unfamiliar spiritual practices and ideas
• discussions on the life of spirituality and moral concern
• experiential learning with local community partners
• internships in spiritual vocation & information on graduate theological education
The chaplaincy also serves as a liaison to communities of faith in the surrounding area, and a resource for students whose spiritual needs extend beyond our campus. Chaplains are available for counseling with all members of the Hamilton community, in areas of bereavement, spiritual exploration, and other matters of personal growth. The chaplaincy also supports community outreach and the work of the COOP, Community Outreach & Opportunity Project at Hamilton College.
Religion is often seen as an experience which divides people into different, contentious groups. It is our belief that religious and spiritual traditions — understood and practiced with integrity — leads us toward unity and reconciliation.
Inclusivity is a goal and also a means to that goal for the chaplaincy. Embracing religious and spiritual diversity — including those members of our community who consider themselves atheists, agnostics or with no particular spiritual orientation — is essential to our mission. It is our desire to encourage each spiritual life community, to help connect it to the tradition from which it arose, and to help it breathe new life into its current campus expression. The chaplaincy is committed to reaching out to — and including — all people seeking answers to life's important questions, women and men of all sexual orientations, all races, socio-economic situations, ethnicities, abilities, ages, and all spiritual orientations or lack thereof.
We do not seek to collapse the differences that exist between us, but to recognize the profound learning opportunities that arise when we explore our differences with honesty and good will, and the sense of unity when we discover our common commitments to justice, equality, reconciliation, and peace.