Where Do I Fit In?
We all come from different backgrounds and each one of us is on a unique journey. Some of us come from homes where faith is central to all aspects of life or were raised within distinct religious traditions, and others of us would consider ourselves "spiritual" but not necessarily "religious." Still others will have no religious background, or would consider themselves non-religious, agnostic, or atheist, but might still be interested in questions of how religion affects our world. Our goal in the department of Religious and Spiritual Life is to facilitate religious life in all its many forms and to provide a safe place for students and other members of our community to ask questions about meaning and purpose in life, often in relation to a supreme being, the world, and others around you. We also hope to encourage all people, whether religious or spiritual, of faith or no faith, to think intelligently about religion and how it affects society, and to promote healthy dialogue between people of all religious positions.
- Where can I worship, pray, or meditate? For a list of places on campus and local places of worship in the community, check out our page "Places of Worship, Prayer, and Meditation". This can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of the screen, or by clicking here.
- I'm not religious, but am interested in how religion affects society or religious issues...
You're not alone. Many people are interested in religion and its effects on society, and our aim is to provide a safe place for you to explore the important questions you have. From time to time we host seminars, lectures, panel discussions, dialogue sessions, and respectful debates, and many of our student groups are involved in organizing these. There is a wealth of activity going on and we encourage you to get involved, especially if your interests are not represented. We need your help! We also encourage you to think about taking courses in Pacific's excellent Department of Religious and Classical Studies. The Chaplain's office works together with faculty members and others in our community to co-sponsor events. In doing so our aim is to bring about the fullest and most satisfying Pacific experience possible.
- I want to learn more about other people's faiths and religious traditions...
One of our goals in Religious and Spiritual Life is for students to leave the university with greater religious literacy and understanding. Learning about other faiths and religious traditions does not mean you will have to let go of your own (or adopt one), and in fact many people come to understand the distinctives of their own religion more clearly when they learn about others'. We strongly believe that those who only know about their own faith or tradition are unlikely to be as knowledgeable about that tradition than if they learn about others' as well. Max Müller, the pioneering and famous comparative religions scholar, nicely summarized this as follows: "[the person] who knows one, knows none."
At regular intervals, the Chaplain's office will offer one-hour seminars though which members of the Pacific community can learn more about other peoples' faith and practices. The seminars will often be done in conjunction with the book How to Be a Perfect Stranger [see recommended reading below], which you are encouraged to purchase or borrow from the library (we also have a few spare copies here in our office). In these seminars we will often invite local clergy persons or other religious practitioners to speak to the group so you can learn first hand what a particular religion is about, and then ask questions.
Lastly, we again recommend that you take advantage of our Religious and Classical Studies Department at Pacific, which offers many courses on world religions. These are all taught from a careful, critical perspective by thoughtful, intelligent professors. You can also check out the book Making Sense in Religious Studies (OUP 2012) by our own Multifaith Chaplain, Dr. Joel Lohr (see below).
Interfaith Calendar: www.interfaithcalendar.org
- How do I start a group?
Are you interested in starting a faith-based student organization?
For more information about student programs in the Chaplain's Office, please fill out the form below, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and our staff will respond as soon as possible.
- How do I find a group or religious society on campus?
The following list is intended as a starting point for you to get connected with a student group or society on campus. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact us.
"The purpose of Black Campus Ministries is to act on our Christian beliefs through outreach and social programming which will positively address relevant global issues as well as better the lives of our campus and greater community. In addition to our programming efforts, we will endeavor to improve our individual understanding of the Bible and our place in God's world."
Contact Person: Marian Awad
Advisor: Dr. Heffernan
"We provide the opportunity for students at the University of the Pacific to come together in fellowship and friendship and to invite others to further understand the fundamental beliefs and traditions of the Coptic Orthodox Christian faith."
Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Contact Person: Leslie Sexton
Advisor: Tenisha Tevis
"Our mission is to present to athletes and coaches and all whom they influence the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationship and in the fellowship of the church. Our campus ministry is designed to build each other up in fellowship, encourage each other in our faith, and partner with each other in the pursuit of athletic and academic excellence."
Contact Person: RJ Aitken
Advisor: John Mayberry
The purpose of Greek IV is to "bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to fraternities and sororities across the country, building witnessing communities in Greek systems and small group Bible studies in chapter houses. The vision of Greek IV is to see the lives of fraternity and sorority members transformed, the Greek systems on their campuses renewed and to see leaders who will go on to change the world for the sake of the Kingdom emerge from these settings."
Hillel: Jewish Organization
Contact Person: Maya Polon
Advisor: Rena Fraden
"Hillel is more than just the 'Jewish group on campus.' We are a place to share ideas and beliefs (similar or different than our own) and meet new people. We welcome everyone to join us at any of our events. We are also a strong presence and support for Pacific's interfaith council and Temple Israel in Stockton and we have sent delegates to Hillel conferences and Jewish festivals to learn from others how to strengthen our own ties in our community. We attend Shabbat and High Holy Day services, hold holiday meal for the Pacific and Stockton communities, as well as also working in the community and with other religious organizations."
Latter-Day Saints Student Association
Contact Person: Christopher Congrave
Advisor: Tom Congrave
Recognizing the many choices that confront students attending the University of the Pacific, the Latter-Day Saint Student Association (LDSSA) is established by the Stockton California Institute of Religion to help students to have balanced secular and spiritual educational experience during their years of formal education.
The purpose of the Muslim Student Association is to "unite and serve the needs of Muslim and Non-Muslim students in learning more about Islam. The MSA will continue to strive in the effort of building bridges with other organizations and groups on Campus, in order to establish a healthy community, working together towards common interests."
"Newman is a branch of the Stockton Diocese of California serving University of the Pacific and the surrounding community. On our website, you can explore our pictures, download Newman Newsletters, read about our history, find information about Mass, Confessions, and Newman hosted events. Check back from time to time for updated information."
Pacific Christian Fellowship
Contact Person: Natalie Sue
Advisor: Dr. Mayberry
"Pacific Christian Fellowship is a non-denominational group that welcomes students from a wide variety of backgrounds. We are together to pursue a greater understanding of God, provide the experience of a loving family at Pacific, and be a resource open to students that are interested in or have questions about faith. We want to be a source of support and friendship, as well as to collaboratively serve the needs of the community and campus."
Progressive Christian Alliance
Contact Person: Jillian Hall
Advisor: Christine Osborne
"Welcome to Pacific Progressive Christian Alliance! Our ultimate goal is to provide an opportunity for people of all Christian faiths (or lack thereof) to come together and grow in faith and understanding of all people. Therefore, this group was created to see if there is a need for an organization of this nature and, if so, how it will be formed to best serve the needs of its members. Feedback is GREATLY appreciated!"
Secular Student Alliance
Contact Person: Jeremy Hixson
Advisor: Matthew Normand
"We are the local affiliate of the Secular Student Alliance, at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. To learn more about the SSA, view their website at www.secularstudents.org.
The purpose of the Secular Student Alliance is to bring about a society in which the ideals of critical and scientific inquiry, secularism, democracy and human-based ethics flourish."
South Asian Student Association
Contact Person: Khyati Patel
Advisor: Dr. Rajul Patel
"South Asian Student Association is an organization devoted to promote cultural diversity among the students at Pacific by hosting religious and cultural events throughout the school year. Some of our main events include Diwali, Holi and Annual Banquet."
Sikh Student Association
Contact Person: Rajneet Padda
Advisor: Dr. Joel Lohr
"The purpose of the Sikh Student Association is to promote understanding between sikh and non-sikh communities, both at Pacific, and in Stockton."
It is the mission of the Interfaith Council to "foster interaction and understanding between the diverse faith groups on campus and to create a home at Pacific for people of various religions, philosophies, and worldviews. All members of student religious and philosophical organizations are invited to become members of the Interfaith Council. Anyone is welcome to become an officer and to bring their own unique experiences to the council."