Interfaith News for August 1


Abrahamic Program for Young Adults

APYA, founded 15 years ago, is designed to reflect the efforts and mission of the Department of Religion by teaching young adults at Chautauqua Institution about the shared heritage of the Abrahamic traditions. Programming has been suspended for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will resume in 2021.

Baptist House

Located on the red brick walk in the heart of Chautauqua Institution, the Baptist House has been engaged in the hospitality ministry since 1887. Our house provides a comfortable haven to meet new friends, learn through conversations on covered porches, and share experiences and life lessons as we renew our spirit on these beautiful grounds. Our mission at the Baptist House is to offer a welcoming retreat for all to fellowship, worship, rejuvenate and minister to the needs of all visitors who enter our door. We eagerly anticipate gathering again in person next year!

Blessing and Healing Daily Service

The Service of Blessing and Healing, sponsored by the Department of Religion, had traditionally taken place from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. EDT weekdays in the Randell Chapel of the United Church of Christ Headquarters. These services will resume in the 2021 season.

Chabad Jewish House

A full season of activities, including services and classes, has been planned by the Zigdon Chabad Jewish House, 23 Vincent. Visit for the schedule and information about logging into the services and classes.

Shabbat ends at 9:24 p.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 1.

Rabbi Zalman Vilenkin presents “Maimonides – Principles of Faith” from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 3, via Zoom and YouTube. This class is not an exposition but rather an expedition into Judaism’s 13 principles of the faith.

To watch the classes streamed live, please visit If you would like to join in the discussion/class via Zoom, please email for the meeting ID and password.

Chapel of the Good Shepherd

Our featured chaplain this week is the Very Rev. Aidan Smith, dean and provost of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He sends this message: 

“Repeatedly, Jesus shows us that his way is not the way of the world. ‘You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,’ he said, ‘and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads.’ As disciples, we strive to follow Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. But we fall prey to the temptation to submit to, and participate in, the ways of the world. We grasp for power, we long for control and we easily take our eyes off Jesus. Like the first disciples, we face the tendency to accomplish great, even holy, tasks in the ways of the world … sometimes even climbing over the weak, the silent, or the feeble in order to fulfill our goals. Jesus presents a different way,” Smith wrote. “Following him leads to the cross. Jesus chose to give of himself for the restoration of this world, and he invites us to share in his ministry of healing and redemption. We do this by giving of our lives for the salvation and restoration of others; by following Jesus in the path of downward mobility; by dying to ourselves and to the world. We choose to serve. We share in changing the world by following Jesus in the way of the cross — ‘Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ Who is God calling you to lay down your life for today?”

Chautauqua Catholic Community

For the first time since our founding in 1985, we are unable to offer Masses, seminars, hospitality and housing on the grounds due to COVID-19.

Weekend Masses are held at 4 p.m. EDT Saturdays at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bemus Point, and at 5:30 p.m. EDT Saturdays at St. Mary of Lourdes in Mayville. Sunday Masses are at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. EDT at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bemus Point, and 11:30 a.m. EDT at St. Mary of Lourdes in Mayville. Daily Mass is held at 8 a.m. EDT Mondays and Fridays and at 7 p.m. EDT Thursdays at the Mayville church. Daily Mass is held at 9 a.m. EDT Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Bemus Point church. Consult the website for details:

Chautauqua Dialogues

Chautauqua Dialogues was established as an opportunity for Chautauquans to have meaningful engagement and conversation within the context of the Chautauqua weekly theme in an informal and small-group setting. The Chautauqua denominational houses provide the venues for these weekly discussions. More than 80 facilitators have been trained by the dialogue team led by Roger Doebke and Lynn Stahl. The Dialogues will resume in the 2021 season.

Christian Science House

The Christian Science House and Chapel join the other denominational houses in not opening this year. After more than 50 years on Bestor Plaza, we look forward to serving Chautauquans next year at our Sunday and Wednesday church services and by providing a quiet place for prayer and reflection in our study room.

Disciples of Christ

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chautauqua Institution has suspended in-person programming for the 2020 summer season. Therefore, our houses will not be open for summer 2020. We look forward to welcoming you to our houses during the 2021 season. 

Since 1874, we have been hosting guests in our two houses during the Chautauqua Institution summer season. With our new year-round Graybiel House, we now also offer a comfortable and welcoming venue for autumn, winter and spring retreats, workshops and meetings.

While we have a long association with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we are also leaders in Chautauqua’s interfaith community, providing affordable lodging and a welcoming community for people of all faiths and all ages. 


Friends of the Ecumenical Community of Chautauqua hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. 

The Ecumenical Community (ECOC) will not be open this year for guests. The manager and the registrar will be in residence completing paperwork and projects. We welcome friends to stop by with social distancing in mind.

We look forward to being together next summer on these sacred grounds — in the Shaw House, the Bird-Werner House, the Westervelt House and in our friendly community kitchens. In the meantime, please visit the ECOC website at for updates and ways to join together virtually this summer. 

All Chautauquans are invited to gather around ECOC Virtual Kitchen Table Chats for conversation and fellowship at 7:30 p.m. EDT every Tuesday. 

Everett Jewish Life Center in Chautauqua

The Everett Jewish Life Center (EJLCC) facility is regrettably closed this summer. When we reopen, you’ll again enjoy our lecture series with presentations by distinguished scholars, a Jewish-themed film series, and a weekly Yiddish language conversation. 

Our facility offers outstanding bed-and-breakfast accommodations. For information regarding room reservations, please email us at

For additional information or questions, please email us at

Keep healthy and safe. 

Food Pantry Donations

Hurlbut Church is accepting nonperishable food items for the Ashville Food Pantry. Donations may be dropped off at any time at the Scott entrance of Hurlbut Church.

Hebrew Congregation

The Hebrew Congregation of Chautauqua has served the Jewish community and folks from other faiths with worship, education and socialization since 1960. 

All are welcome to the Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat service of the Hebrew Congregation from 5 to 6 p.m. Fridays. To register, send an email request to president Larry Cohen.

A new book, Shalom Chautauqua: The Hebrew Congregation and the Jewish Presence, by Betty and Arty Salz, is hot off the press and available at the Chautauqua Bookstore. For any additional information, please contact congregation president Larry Cohen.

Hurlbut Memorial Community Church

Let Hurlbut Memorial Community United Methodist Church be your summer presence for summer worship on the Chautauqua grounds. Hurlbut Church starts in-person worship at 9:30 a.m. EDT Sunday, Aug. 2. Please enter the Scott Street door. At this time, no nursery is available, so children must remain with their families. Everyone is required to wear face masks the entire time while in the church.

The Rev. Carmen Perry’s sermons are accessible here

International Order of the King’s Daughters and Sons

The International Order of The King’s Daughters and Sons’ (IOKDS) mission has included serving young adults in their spiritual development at Chautauqua Institution since 1920. Our newest program is the Learn and Discern college internship. With Chautauqua’s closure due to COVID-19 this season, we quickly pivoted to a virtual internship format. After sharing our syllabus with college officials at Houghton College, Valparaiso University and St. Bonaventure University, our interns will receive college credit for the virtual experience. Students have accepted the unpaid internships for brand marketing, social media communication, faith-based programming, and donor relationships. Upon successful completion of their internships, students may apply for an IOKDS scholarship here.

Islamic Community

Jum’ah, the Friday Muslim communal prayer, has traditionally been held every Friday in the Hall of Christ. This service will resume in the 2021 season. The Jum’ah service, which has been open to all, combines the traditional elements of the Muslim worship experience with the opportunity to engage the Muslim coordinator for the Abrahamic Program for Young Adults with questions to further understanding about Islam. The instructional portion begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The Jum’ah prayer handout is available in both Arabic and English transliteration, with detailed explanations for those who wish to join in prayer or understanding.


In previous seasons, Chautauquans have had an opportunity to learn about and walk the Labyrinth, located next to Turner Community Center just north of the parking lot. Although the Labyrinth is open for quiet meditation, Norma and Wally Rees will resume their Department of Religion-sponsored orientation — which includes a brief history of the uses of the Labyrinth — in the 2021 season.

Lutheran House

While the Lutheran House is closed for in-person hosting and programming this season, we are actively sponsoring virtual programs to our guests and the Chautauqua community for the 2020 season. 

The Lutheran House hosts are sponsoring a social hour at 4:30 p.m. EDT. every Tuesday via Zoom. For an invitation, contact our hosts Sue and Jerry Keppel at

Mystic Heart Community Meditation

The mission of The Mystic Heart is to help participants discover and manifest peace, compassion, and kindness in themselves, in their relations with others, and in their communities.

The program continues this year with a series of 90 free, pre-recorded meditation sessions led by faculty from a variety of religious, spiritual and wisdom traditions. The sessions premiere at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT each weekday on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch, and are archived for later use.

Michael O’Sullivan leads a session on Korean Zen Meditation at 8 a.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 3, on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch.

Rebecca Cole Turner leads a session on Christian Meditation at 1 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 3, on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch.

Prayers for Peace through Compassion

For many years, every morning during the season from 8:55 to 9 a.m. EDT, Chautauquans gather in the Grove to pray for peace through compassion. In 2020, all Chautauquans around the world are invited to join together from wherever they are in silent prayer and reflection for five minutes.

Presbyterian Association

The Presbyterian Association is closed for the 2020 season. We look forward and hope we will be open and welcoming of guests in 2021. 

The Presbyterian Association is both a house and a community. Our history began in 1883 to welcome Presbyterians to Chautauqua and house missionaries for summer programs. The Presbyterian Association includes all persons and provides excellent weekly accommodations and meals at prices made affordable by generous donors.

Creating a Presbyterian presence through worship, study and hospitality, the Presbyterian Association shares our beautiful and functional facility, contributes financially to Chautauqua Institution and the surrounding community, and works in cooperation with other denominational houses and religious communities.

For more information, please visit

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

The Chautauqua Friends Meeting (Quakers) will not be holding Meeting for Worship or programs during the 2020 season. We are focusing on our plans for the 2021 season when we will be welcoming our first full-season Friend-in-Residence who will attend programs, be available for discussions, and create activities as needed. We will also welcome the director of the Friends Center for Racial Justice in Ithaca for a full week during the season.

Friends (Quakers) have been at Chautauqua since its earliest years. The largest gathering, estimated at 1,000, occurred during the 1900 season with the founding of Friends General Conference, an association of regional Quaker communities in the U.S. and Canada. For many decades, Friends worshipped in the Octagon Building, but in 2019 needed to relocate, as the building returned to its original use as a home for the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. In response to the need, the Unitarian Universalists made their house available to Quakers at 9:30 a.m. EDT each Sunday, enabling us to continue welcoming all to worship with us in the manner of Friends.

In 2020, we have begun to look for a permanent home to purchase on the grounds. Such a home might be only large enough to hold our Sunday morning service, or it might be large enough to house a few people as well. We look forward to updating our denominational friends in 2021.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Chautauqua

Unitarian Universalists have a legacy of “deeds not creeds.” Our work for a better world calls us to harness love’s power to stop oppression. From grassroots community organizing, to interfaith state, national and corporate advocacy; in protest marches, prayer vigils and press conferences; in homeless shelters and in prisons, Unitarian Universalists put our faith into action.

Our justice efforts are grounded in our congregationally driven social justice statements and our call to break down divisions, heal isolation, and honor the interconnectedness of all life and all justice issues. At Chautauqua, we model these commitments by creating a just, welcoming and inclusive congregation. We act in partnership with groups at Chautauqua, including the LGBTQ and Friends Community, The Collaborative Union, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and the African American Heritage House, to bring attention to the issues of diversity, equality and inclusiveness through our Sunday Services, our Ethics Week Lectures and our contribution of funding to each organization. 

The LGBTQ and Friends Community at Chautauqua have canceled all activities this season in keeping with the limitations on public gatherings during the pandemic. For information about activities for the 2021 season, including our speaker sponsorships and community events, visit To receive our newsletters, sign up on our website. 

The Chautauqua PFLAG Chapter expanded beyond the Institution about a year ago. Now, in addition to its weekly meetings at the Unitarian Universalist House during the Chautauqua season, PFLAG also meets monthly during the off-season at the Patterson Library in Westfield. Since the Institution is curtailing the summer programming, PFLAG is hosting a weekly “get together” for social connection, support and to answer the inquiries and needs of the greater Chautauqua community at 6:30 p.m. EDT Wednesdays via Zoom. PFLAG’s official monthly meeting is at 6:30 p.m. EDT on the last Wednesday of every month via Zoom. If you would like to attend, please email Steve Aschmann at For more info, call 814-440-0902 or consult our Facebook page.

United Church of Christ

We greatly regret that all three buildings of the UCC Society will be closed throughout this summer. For further information, go to our website: 

We look forward to welcoming you back next summer. Stay safe and healthy. 

United Methodist

The United Methodist House was built in 1888 by the founders of the Chautauqua Assembly. Methodist Episcopal Bishop John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller, a philanthropist and member of the Board of Trustees, accepted a bid of $3,800 to erect a headquarters building. Amazingly, the construction was completed in 90 days and ready for the 1888 Assembly. In the early days, it housed meeting rooms, a ladies parlor, a library and public toilets.

The United Methodist House today is a year-round center. In the summer months, rooms are rented by the week. Once the Chautauqua summer season has ended, the house is rented by groups for retreats, family reunions, craft gatherings, etc. More information is available on our website,, and Facebook: United Methodist House – Chautauqua Institution.

While we are sorry and sad to not be there to greet visitors this summer, all are welcome and encouraged to visit the porch in 2021, when we can enjoy the wicker rockers, have something cool to drink, meet with old friends and make new ones, or just sit and watch the constant stream of interesting folks who stroll by the house. Until then, stay safe and count your blessings!

Unity of Chautauqua

This summer, Unity will explore “Trusting the Process of Change Using Life’s Changes for Spiritual Awakening” during the 9:15 a.m. EDT Sunday meetings via Zoom. Topics addressed are:

  • Understanding the nature of change and the dynamics of the transition process.
  • Discovering deeper meaning in the disturbing and unsettling events in our individual lives and in the world.
  • Navigating life’s changes and challenges using the Biblical Exodus story.
  • Bringing forth our “best” selves as we allow a greater Reality to direct our lives.

Janine Chimera, Unity of Chautauqua music director, presents “Everything is Sound” at 9:15 a.m. EDT Sunday, Aug. 2, via Zoom. She explores “sounds are an expression of Source. How do we consciously play our life songs?” Janine, who was born and raised in Jamestown but has lived in Florida for 31 years, is a singer-songwriter. Her passion is for music and matters of spirit and of the heart. Combining these led her to dive into the worlds of therapeutic music, sound vibrational therapy and group drumming. She also gives music lessons and has used music to work with students with special needs. She plays guitar, piano, hand drums, and Native American flute. She recorded and released two CDs. Her greatest desire is for her music to be an instrument for peace and healing. 

For more information about Unity of Chautauqua and how to access the Zoom meeting, visit

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The author Meg Viehe

Meg Viehe is a retired teacher living in Newport Beach, California, during the off-season. She is happiest when she and her husband Rich are surrounded by their children, grandchildren and the extended Viehe clan and friends at Chautauqua. Her advice to her grandchildren and others: “Be nice to everyone at Chautauqua. You never know who will be part of your future family!”