Greetings from the Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life - Spring 2020


Cannon Chapel and Office of Spiritual and Religious Life Staff  

 “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

― The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can't Wait



Dear Friends,

New Year’s greetings from all of us in Cannon Chapel and OSRL. We hope that everyone had an opportunity to spend time connecting with family and friends over the winter break, and that you have returned refreshed and energized for the start of the new semester and year.

Many of us begin the new year with reflection and a recommitment to the practices and communities that give us grounding, inspiration, and hope for positive change in ourselves and our world. We hope the communities and programs connected with University Spiritual and Religious Life at Emory can provide those opportunities for you, and we are always eager to help connect you with any resources that will help to be a source of integration for your mind, body, and spirit. 

I am grateful the new calendar year begins by honoring the life and legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, and with opportunities to re-engage with the many social justice issues on which Dr. King and his colleagues led. World, national, and local news provide countless reminders of the many issues and needs our world is facing, and tragically of the violence that continues to mar efforts for justice and peace. In past months, we have been confronted again with the scourge of antisemitic, Islamophobic, and other hate crimes. All such acts are attacks on our values of the dignity of every person and care and compassion for one another.

In 1964, Dr. King, the interfaith leader, held out for us a vision of interdependence in which each of us is connected to and invested in the good of all. I hope and pray that in the year ahead, we will all find ways to embody and enhance that vision of mutuality and interconnection through our spiritual practices, service, and social activism.

Looking Ahead: Spring 2020

The spring semester will feature a number of special opportunities connected with spiritual and religious life, including our King Week Beloved Community Worship Service with The Rev. Kim Jackson on January 26 at 11 a.m. in Cannon Chapel, a multifaith dinner on "faith and voting" connected with Emory Votes on February 18, an event on Antisemitism on February 24 at Oxford College, and a concert with the Riyaaz Qawwali South Asian Music Ensemble on March 21 in Cannon Chapel.

The month of April will come with the significant holidays and seasons of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan -- and there will be services and meals on campus for celebrating each of those sacred times. For graduating seniors, we will soon begin planning toward the Multifaith Baccalaureate Ceremony, which will be held Friday, May 8 in Cannon Chapel. And beyond campus, we are engaged in supporting Atlanta's second-annual Day of Religious Pluralism on March 19 at the Kendeda Center, which will be focused on interfaith and civic efforts to promote environmental justice.

Also this spring, among the many campus ministries and spiritual communities we support, we are adding renewed support for United Methodist Ministry at Emory, through our partnership with Glenn Memorial Church in ministry with graduate/professional students and young adults, and our department's own efforts to rekindle the Emory Wesley Fellowship with new undergraduate leadership. Our Methodist students have been invited to weekly meals, retreats, worship, and congregational programs to help strengthen these links with our founding denomination, all of which are also open to anyone who wishes to learn more.

As we continue our strategic planning efforts for the future, we also plan to conduct listening sessions with campus spiritual communities and student leaders to create opportunities to be involved in helping to shape the future of our work.

As always, we are grateful to all those who share in and who support the transformative work of Cannon Chapel and the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. Through all of our work, we seek to nurture and nourish spiritual life at Emory -- supporting spiritual practice, providing pastoral care, promoting education about religion and ethics in the world, and building multifaith bridges. We are grateful to all those who partner in this mission through charitable giving, and to all who join us in spirituality and service.

As 2020 begins, we pray that deep community, inspiration, and hope will be yours in the New Year.


Peace to you,


The Reverend Greg McGonigle
University Chaplain and Dean