Religious and Spiritual Life

Worship service

The religious traditions students study and practice at Harvard Divinity School are lived with astonishing variety and texture on our campus and in the cities of Cambridge and Boston. HDS encourages a climate of genuine religious pluralism, in which the spiritual diversity and differences among us are respectfully and fruitfully engaged, not merely tolerated.

One expression of that commitment is our weekly Wednesday Noon Service in Andover Chapel. Hosted each week by a different religious community of the HDS campus, this service allows all in the HDS community to pray and meditate with our companions across the boundaries of our many respective traditions.

HDS also supports the separate meetings of the nearly two dozen religious and spiritual organizations on our campus; in fact, one of the great attractions of HDS is the rich array of opportunities for meditation, prayer and worship that are available every day of the week here. From daily morning prayer in The Memorial Church to regular Bible studies to weekly sitting meditations in the Buddhist tradition, from ongoing garden-tending to weekly yoga classes, and from Friday afternoon Unitarian Universalist services to Thursday morning Eucharist in the Christian tradition, opportunities abound for students and employees of many traditions to engage in religious observances at HDS.

Hear and Now, small interreligious spiritual support and accompaniment groups for students, also meets every week during the academic year. In recent years, several student religious organizations have also developed weekend conferences to advance the study and practice of their respective traditions, such as the Episcopal/Anglican students' "The Open Body" conference and the Lutheran students' annual "Lutherans in Diaspora" conference.

Most of this activity is overseen by the School's director of religious and spiritual life, who works with the student elected annually to serve as the coordinator of spiritual life in the HDS Student Association. HDS also employs denominational counselors who provide guidance to students of particular religious backgrounds, frequently helping them to navigate the requirements of ordination or authorization in their respective communities. Beyond HDS itself, Harvard University engages chaplains from 25 of the world's religious traditions to support students, faculty, and staff throughout the University.

HDS Voices

John C. Whitehead
I came to Harvard to earn my MBA and was later drawn to HDS, through my devotion to Harvard’s broader agenda to serve society. I’ve supported the School ever since, and consider it to be one of my wisest investments. Whether building a company or performing relief work overseas, our young people serve and achieve more effectively with the kind of training in ethics and interfaith relations that HDS offers.
—John C. Whitehead, MBA ’47; HDS Dean’s Council member; former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs; former Deputy Secretary of State