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 invited for the 2016 Season will once again 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.
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.
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.
Chautauqua’s Programs for Clergy Development are designed to help sustain and enrich clergy leadership for congregational life. The two programs that give expression to this mission, the Interfaith New Clergy Program and the Chautauqua Leadership Program, are independently funded and are geared to two different groups of fellows based on their years of experience in ministry and the specific goals of each program.