The Chaplain to the College (the Chaplain) is the chief steward of the religious and spiritual lives of Williams College, and a primary guide to religious practice and spiritual exploration for students, faculty and staff. Reporting directly to the Vice President for Campus Life, the Chaplain will be an ordained, or otherwise credentialed, religious professional in one of the Protestant Christian traditions. As the director of the work of the Chaplains’ Office, the Chaplain will also be a fully collaborative member of a dynamic team of chaplains (Catholic, Jewish and Muslim), sharing the work of the office in three particular dimensions: pastoral, programmatic, and institutional.
Pastorally, the Chaplain will provide pastoral care broadly and generously to the entire College community, offering counsel, support, and encouragement to individuals as well as comfort and wisdom to the institution as a whole. In the culture of a college which places high priority on the support of individual students, the Chaplain will be widely recognized on campus as a compassionate and highly accessible support for students as they weather the joys and the developmental, intellectual and spiritual challenges of young adulthood.
Programmatically, as the Protestant member of the team of chaplains, the Chaplain to the College will provide primary outreach to, and support for, students and groups who identify with any of the traditions or communities (denominational or non-denominational) associated with Protestant Christianity by leading or coordinating spiritual, liturgical and educational programming; providing pastoral care; building relationships between the various Protestant communities on and around the campus; and, with student leaders, cultivating an ecumenical sense of community in keeping with a culture of pluralism. In addition to their tradition-specific work, all of the chaplains are also actively involved in inter-religious and multi-faith activities, in the planning and leadership of dialogue and reflection among groups, and in collaborative ventures of humanitarian service and conscientious activism. And the Chaplain is a critically important core participant in those areas of campus life that focus on social justice, equity, and inclusion.
Institutionally, the Chaplain to the College will be visibly engaged in the whole life of the College, including its campus-wide celebrations, its gatherings in times of crisis, its issues and working groups, and the deliberations and discernments that shape the ongoing life of a highly diverse, intellectually vibrant and, occasionally, deeply challenging community. As an important member of the senior team of the VP for Campus Life, the Chaplain will be highly collaborative across the College, nurturing special relationships with the Center for Learning in Action, Integrative Wellbeing Services, the Office of the Dean of College, and the Davis Center. The Williams student body is remarkably diverse across multiple dimensions, including more than 30 religious traditions in most years.
Two aspects of the broad diversity of the Williams community have special bearing on the complexity of the Chaplain’s work: the secular/pluralistic nature of the institution, and the intersectionality of students’ religious identities with other evolving aspects of their whole selves. The Chaplain to the College is frequently called on to help build bridges between groups and to help to open spaces for new ways of thinking about and living the spiritual journey of young adulthood, within and beyond existing frameworks. And all of Williams’ chaplains carry responsibility for being catalysts for social justice and supportive stewards of the rich potential for the spiritual and developmental wellbeing of all students.
The next Chaplain to the College will be compassionate and energetic, and a strong advocate and resource for inter-faith initiatives, particularly in support of those that are student-generated. The Chaplain will have a nuanced understanding of relevant textures of spiritual life on campus as essential to individual student identities and, to that end, will have substantial experience with diverse populations – within various Christian traditions, among the world religions, and with students who do not identify themselves religiously. The next Chaplain will be particularly attuned to the experiences of marginalized students within specific faith traditions, and will insure that the Chaplains’ Office supports and enhances the campus experience of all those with whom they work.
A strong candidate for the position will have at least 5-8 years of experience in ministry or as a religious professional – with a strong preference for campus experience – including senior-level roles with demonstrable administrative, programmatic and staff management expertise. A Master of Divinity degree (or equivalent) is preferred, with at least one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. The Chaplain to the College supervises the administrative assistant, manages the office and its departmental budget, and has stewardship of Thompson Memorial Chapel and the Jewish Religious Center and their associated capital budgets. The work of chaplaincy on this campus frequently involves work outside of standard weekday office hours – at night and on weekends. The culture of the Chaplains’ Office strongly supports chaplains in negotiating their work hours so as to accommodate personal boundaries – but the work of the office cannot be confined to a standard 9-5 weekday work schedule.
We are committed to building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community and strongly encourage candidates from under-represented groups to apply.
Review of resumes will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Job Group 1-C.
Conditions of Employment
Employment at Williams is contingent on the verification of background information submitted by the applicant, including the completion of a criminal record check, and education when applicable.
Equal Employment Opportunity