The Rev. Rick Spalding, Chaplain to the College
I oversee religious and spiritual life at Williams, especially students affiliated with under-represented traditions and students who are exploring spirituality generally. With my colleagues, I work on inter-religious dialogues and several multi-faith services of worship each year. I’m an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church, USA – one of the Protestant Christian denominations. One of my great joys at Williams is leading a Winter Study course called “Explorations in Solidarity” in Nicaragua.
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, Interim Jewish Chaplain
I’m a Williams alumna (religion major, ’96) originally from south Texas, and have served for several years as the rabbi in North Adams. I’m here both to serve the campus Jewish community and to serve the multifaith community, and I’m deeply excited about both of those. In addition to being a rabbi I’m an ordained spiritual director, and I derive deep joy from accompanying people on their spiritual journeys wherever those journeys might lead. I’m also a poet and blogger (I’ve been blogging as the Velveteen Rabbi since 2003), and with a fellow Williams alumnus (David Evan Markus ’94) I lead ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, which seeks to infuse Jewish life across the denominations with meaning and joy. I look forward to walking with all of you.
Fr. Gary Caster, Catholic Chaplain
I’m a California native whose ministry as a Catholic priest keeps moving me further away from home. Having spent 19 years in the Midwest at Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan Universities, I now find myself in the Northeast, once again savoring the privilege of working with college students. I’m here not simply to attend to the sacramental and spiritual life of Catholic students, but also to work with my colleagues in respecting and sharing that sense of Mystery and Presence that is an essential part of our human experience – even on a secular college campus.
Sharif Rosen, Muslim Chaplain and
Assistant Director, CLiA
Here at Williams, I aspire to accompany students faithfully in their personal discovery (or rediscovery) of higher meaning in their lives. While much of my interaction will be in service to the campus’ Muslim community, all students and colleagues are welcome to consider me a helping resource, and friend.
Nancy Luczynski, Assistant to the Chaplains
Assistant to the Chaplains
39 Chapin Hall Drive, Paresky Center
Williamstown, MA 01267
Religious advisors at Williams include The Reverend Richard E. Spalding, Chaplain to the College; Fr. Gary Caster, Catholic Chaplain; Sharif Rosen, Muslim Chaplain, and Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, Interim Jewish Chaplain. The chaplains provide spiritual direction and counseling, and seek to support and facilitate the growth and development of all students. See our Staff Directory for more contact information.
Regular worship services are conducted by many religious communities, including Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish and Muslim. The Williams Meditation Society organizes daily meditation sessions, while Buddhist, Hindus, Baha’i and others gather for occasional religious devotion. All student religious groups sponsor speakers, discussions, and workshops which are open to the College community. There is considerable interfaith fellowship among the religious associations.
The Chaplains work closely with the Center for Learning in Action to support student efforts in community service and other needs in the surrounding community.The Chaplains’ Office handles requests for the use of the Jewish Religious Center and Thompson Memorial Chapel, including the Interfaith Common Room.