Chautauqua provides a wide variety of services of worship and programs that express the Institution’s Christian heritage as well as its interfaith commitment. The Institution, originally the Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly, was founded as an educational experiment in out-of-school, vacation learning for Sunday School teachers.
While founders Lewis Miller and John Heyl Vincent were Methodists, other Protestant denominations participated from the first year onward, and today Chautauqua continues to be ecumenical — as well as interfaith — in spirit and practice.
The chaplains represent intended theological, denominational, gender, racial and ethnic diversity, as well as ministerial context. As always, the Department of Religion’s commitment to diversity in gender, race and theological perspective is clear. The philosophy of the Department of Religion, from the beginning, has embraced and manifested the belief that an expression of these diversities is key to Chautauqua’s future.
For nine generations Chautauquans have been gathering in the Amphitheater on Sunday mornings and evenings to join the Chautauqua Community Choir for Sunday Morning Worship at 10:45 and the evening Sacred Song Services.
Mystic Heart Interspiritual Meditation Program
The Mystic Heart Community is dedicated to serving all Chautauquans by providing opportunities for the study and practice of universal techniques of meditation, contemplation, and related disciplines drawn from any of the world’s religious or wisdom traditions.
Abrahamic Program for Young Adults
The Abrahamic Program for Young Adults (APYA) is designed to reflect the efforts and mission of the Department of Religion in building the Abrahamic Community by teaching young adults at Chautauqua Institution about the shared heritage of the Abrahamic traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Denominations and Religious Organizations
In addition to Department of Religion programs, Denominational Houses and religious organizations at Chautauqua Institution offer religious services, lectures and low-cost housing options during the nine-week Chautauqua season.
Charter For Compassion
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.
The Chautauqua Dialogue Program is devoted to the ideal that people of widely differing backgrounds and opinions can communicate in open, kind and compassionate ways that bridge their differences with love and understanding. The intention is for participants to experience dialogue as an important tool for building compassion, understanding and community.