Guide to Northwestern’s religious and spiritual organizations


Zoe Malin/Daily Senior Staffer

The Baha’i House of Worship, located just a few minutes from campus. There are plenty of religious organizations at Northwestern that can help you feel more at home when you’re away from home.

Olivia Yarvis, Reporter

Whether you’re looking for a safe place to pray, receive spiritual counsel or just a place to unwind with a like-minded group of students, Northwestern has over 30 different religious and spiritual organizations to help you find your community. Some of the events mentioned in this article might change due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Interfaith Initiative at NU is a space to build community and awareness among students of all religious backgrounds. In addition to weekly meetings held at 5 p.m. in Parkes Hall 120, consisting of free dinners and theme-based discussions, NUii hosts larger events and speakers on a monthly basis. Past topics have included everything from perspectives on horror to spiritual wellness in the “fake news era.” 

For Jewish students, Northwestern Hillel, located at 629 Foster St., is the center of both cultural and religious events. In addition to Reform, Conservative and alternative weekly Friday night Shabbat services and free Kosher dinners, Hillel hosts a quarterly first-year only Shabbat and year-round services for Jewish holidays. Hillel also organizes an all-freshman planning cohort called First Year Students of Hillel which is in charge of creating programming for their peers. Other Jewish-related events can be found at the Tannenbaum Chabad House and through MEOR, a discussion-based program.

For Catholic students, the Sheil Catholic Center, located at 2110 Sheridan Rd., and the Catholic Student Association offer year-round programming and services. The Center’s 275-seat chapel holds four Sunday masses, daily mass Monday through Friday, and is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the school year. Sheil also hosts an annual event for incoming students called First Night, complete with a barbeque and bonfire. For students interested in furthering their involvement with Catholic life on campus, the Catholic Student Association meets Thursdays at 8 p.m.

The Muslim-cultural Students Association strives to increase awareness of Islamic culture on campus and provide a safe space for Muslim students. In addition to weekly Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer at 1:15 p.m. (Khutbah) and 1:30 p.m. (Salat Al-Jumu’ah) in Parkes Hall 210, and late Jumu’ah on the third floor of the Multicultural Center at 2:10 p.m., McSA hosts guest speakers, Ramadan dinners, special Wildcat Welcome programming and Discover Islam Week. The organization also created a downloadable freshman survival guide for first-year Muslim students and Al Bayan Magazine, which is dedicated to covering the American Muslim experience. Other prayer rooms include Norris Prayer Room at Norris University Center and Room F328 at the Technological Institute. The Shia Muslim Assocation also offers lectures, workshops and other events specific to Shia teachings. 

OM at Northwestern is a club dedicated to holding discussions and dialogues about Hinduism and Vedic culture, as well as providing a safe prayer space. They host numerous events throughout the year, including classical arts showcases, NU Holi and weekly Shravan sessions at 2 p.m. in Parkes Hall 204.

Northwestern’s Baha’i Club strives to bring Northwestern students of various religious backgrounds together to eat Persian food, hold spiritual discussions and play games at monthly meetings. There is also a Baha’i House of Worship located just over a mile north of campus in Wilmette.

Soka Gakkai International Buddhists for Peace is a community dedicated to cultivating peace and nonviolence based on the teachings of the Nichiren school of Mahayana Buddhism. They hold discussions throughout the year which touch on Buddhist beliefs such as surrounding inner strength and attaining absolute happiness. 

University Christian Ministry, which is sponsored by the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., is located at 1834 Chicago Ave. During the school year, UCM hosts a weekly Sunday dinner and worship service at 5:30 p.m. and discussions on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. UCM also hosts Bible study sessions, retreats during Winter and Spring Quarters, service projects, social justice keynotes, pastoral counseling and various fellowship activities. 

Cru is another Christian group that hosts a weekly Thursday all-campus meeting called Real Life at 9 p.m. in Fisk 217. Attendees can expect games, worship, guest speakers and stories of faith. Cru also hosts summer mission trips, retreats, conferences and smaller weekly discussion groups. Two of these groups, EPIC and Destino, are targeted toward Asian and Latinx members respectively. 

A complete list of Northwestern’s 21 Christian organizations, ranging from Lutheran to Pentecostal, as well as other spiritual groups, can be found on the Division of Student Affairs’ Religious and Spiritual Life website.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oliviayarvis

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