Greetings from the Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life - Fall 2019

October 2019

Dear Friends,

Fall greetings from Emory University’s Cannon Chapel and Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. The chapel and our office constitute a dynamic hub for religious, spiritual, philosophical, and cultural life and learning for students, faculty, staff, alumni, families, and friends of Emory. 

Supported by some 10 staff and 25 campus ministers and advisors, our office seeks to nurture religious and philosophical life for all members of the Emory community--whether devoutly religious, spiritually seeking, or curious and questioning. All of our communities and programs are open, whether to explore the practice of a tradition or simply to learn. We hope this year you will find valuable ways to connect with the multitude of offerings in Emory spiritual life.

It has been a joy and a blessing for me to join Emory this fall to help advance a renewed vision for spiritual life, building on our strong heritage and existing resources to respond to the particular needs of our time. I am grateful to President Sterk, the members of the Search Advisory Committee, and all of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have welcomed me so warmly into this new role. I also want to thank Associate Dean Lisa Garvin, Assistant Chaplain Kevin Crawford, Oxford Chaplain Lyn Pace, and all of the staff and affiliates of OSRL for their work in the transition time and for helping me begin in this new role as dean.

Some of the hopes I have for the next chapter of spiritual life at Emory are that we scale and strengthen our efforts to support ever more members of our diverse campus community, that we affirm the leadership development of students and others as the heart of our work, and that we find ways to connect more deeply with the city of Atlanta and our region in the South as we respond to the calling to promote justice, peace, and care for the Earth. I hope you will join me this year as we explore new directions for envisioning the shape of our service to engage the remarkable diversity and depth of spiritual life at Emory and in our wider world.

We hope to bring increased awareness to the rich diversity of spiritual life at Emory and to help connect you with spiritual and multifaith programs, opportunities, and resources that may be of interest to you on campus and beyond. I am delighted that we have been joined by Zachary Cole who will help our office and communities increase our visibility, strategic planning, and integration within the university and the broader community.

I hope you will reach out to me, Zach, or anyone on our team with your ideas and dreams for spiritual life, and we plan to offer new ways to engage in this conversation with you in the weeks and months ahead. We also invite you to please join our Facebook page for more timely notices from our office. And, in our newsletters, you will find highlights of some of our programs from this fall, as well as upcoming programs, including our exciting Journeys to Ireland and South Africa in May 2020.

We often say that one of the core elements of our mission is to offer the Emory community “room to breathe” in a time when the demands of school and work and the needs of our country and world are so much with us. May you find the room to breathe you need this fall, and we hope to see you and support you however we can along our shared pilgrimage path.

Peace to you,


The Reverend Greg McGonigle

University Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life