Community Life Committee and Student Groups

Community Life Committee

The Community Life Committee (CLC) is a Standing Committee of the General Faculty of the Yale Divinity School. The mission of the CLC is to create a sense of belonging and cultivate community for the YDS students, staff and faculty. The CLC organizes monthly community events to create spaces for the YDS Community to gather and build relationships. In addition, the CLC is responsible for governing the Student Groups of the Yale Divinity School.

The CLC is comprised of faculty members, administrators, and student representatives. Faculty members and administrators are appointed by the Dean, with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs serving as Co-Chair of the CLC. The other Co-Chair position is held by the CLC Assistant Coordinator. There are six additional students serving on CLC: The Associate CLC Student Coordinator, The All School Conference Coordinator, The YDSG President and three members of elected YDSG representatives: A first-year student, a second-year student, and a third-year student.

CLC Leadership for 2020-2021

Community Life Council
Jeanne Peloso, Ph.D. Associate Dean of Student Affairs (Co-Chair)
Lynn Sullivan, Director of Community Equity
Pamela Bloomfield, Student Services Coordinator
JaQuan Beachem: Community Equity and Belonging Liaison
Essence Ellis: President, YDSG
Molli Mitchell: Digital Director of Community and Belonging
Julian Sieber: Online Community Designer

Committee Life Committee:
Faculty and Staff

Emily Bruce, Director of Campus and Outreach Ministries, Andover Newton at Yale
Cathy George, Associate Dean of Berkeley Divinity School (Fall 2020)
Ned Parker, Associate Dean for Institutional Advancement, Andover Newton at Yale

Student Representatives
YDSG Student Government President: Essence Ellis
1st Year MAR Representatives: Fiona Chen MAR ‘22, Yolanda Castro-Arcé MAR ‘22
2nd Year Representative: Christy Charnel MAR ‘21, Moriah Reichert MAR ‘21
3rd Year Representative:
Andover Newton Seminary Representative: TBD

Student Groups

The following are YDS recognized Students Groups for 2020-2021

Asian Students Association (ASA)
Coordinators: Jonathan Lee, Jessica Yu
Asian Students Association (ASA) provides a place for fellowship in the sharing of an ethnic bond and common faith. ASA is an inclusive space and community for students of Asian heritage, whether domestic or international students, along with fellow YDS students that are interested in advocacy of Asian/American issues. Frequent meetings roundtable discussions on current Asian/American theological issues, academic forums for the advancement of Asian-American theology, and fellowship gatherings.

Club Creole
Martine Bruno, Sarah Menard
Club Creole’s objective is to provide an inclusive space for those who want to learn, practice, and speak Haitian Creole. Our mission is to promote Haitian culture in a positive way, as well as recognizing Caribbean neighbors and Africa. There is a need to help those who are interested in missions on the island of Haiti. This club would provide space for cultural exchange and speaking creole or patwa.

Community Justice Coalition
Jalen Parks
Community Justice Coalition serves as a community organizing and service work resource for the Yale Divinity School Community and Greater New Haven area. Centered around the core values of love, justice and non-violence, we aim to create a safe space for students, facultuy, staff, and community members to live out their callings to leadership in bringing about a more just equitable Yale, New Haven, and the world. CJC’s leadership is decentralized, ensuring everyone involved has opportunities to lead actions and meetings. CJC is also committed to a praxis model of activism where action informs discussion. To balance out the reactionary nature of activism, we engage in social analysis, power mapping, and articulation of our evolving vision.

Disciples of Christ Student Group
Kelsey Creech
The UCC/DOC group gathers to share in times of fellowship over luncheon discussions, dinner socials, worship, and community service opportunities. All are welcome.

: Ben Bond, Daryl Denelle
DivineAbilities is a student group that was created to advocate and support the rights of those with physical disabilities, mental illnesses, chronic illnesses, “invisible disabilities”, temporary disabilities and neurodiversity. This is a space for both fellowship and support for anyone who falls within the disability spectrum and our wonderful allies. We advocate on behalf of current and future students, faculty and staff; through work with YDS students, administration, Yale University, we work to implement policy changes and institutional compliance with said policies. DivineAbilities hopes to provide healing and reconciliation for disabled people who have experienced systemic discrimination within faith communities. We have courageous conversations about equity and the allocation of resources towards getting rid of the barriers that still exist at Yale. Our aim is to increase the visibility of our community, while also increasing the awareness of folks or feel (or are) invisibly disabled. We train allies to utilize their privilege to work toward alleviating the labor, pain, and stress involved in fighting for disability equity. Lastly, we work with faculty and staff to create academic programming that centers and uplifts disabilities and its many intersections.

Divinity Colloquium
Coordinators: Matt Branum, Victoria Slabinski, Jericha Tumblin
Our mission is an established forum dedicated to the fostering of collective academic effort and discourse at Yale Divinity School, Divinity Colloquium, a twice-monthly plenary session, wherein a student or scholar would present their work, semi-formally, to an audience of other students and faculty. Modeled upon successful iterations downtown, the Colloquium might take the form of discussion of a pre-circulated draft, a practice version of a conference, talk, or even a guest lecture. The ultimate aim of the Colloquium will be to provide a regularly convening venue wherein students may present their work to their peers, while receiving suggestions, constructive criticisms, praise, and that overall collective academic experience that should define graduate school.

Coordinators: Mecca Griffith, Sarah Yang
Divinnovation” (a linguistic braiding of Divinity and innovation) will be an organzed YDS student-led partnership with Tsai City, that would foster the incubation of faith-based projects, or social impact work, for future leaders emerging from YDS. Leaders who are looking beyond the Divinity School to create alumni and cross-campus ecosystems to support the creation of new social initiatives.
At Divinnovation, we care to demonstrate how theology is relevant to the not-so-religious and secular world. Conversely, we also care to demonstrate the ways in which business mechanisms are relevant to the theological space, and the broader world of ministry. We also care to translate how faith-based imaginations have relevance in non-religious social or business practices, since it is commonly understood that most secular ideologies are derived from faith, religionm or some redacted version of the two. As such, we exist to mediate between the two domains of faith and business, and become honest brokers of translation for social change.

Coordinator: Skyler Keiter-Massefski, Zachary Ludwig
DivOut is a fellowship of Yale Divinity School students, faculty, and staff of all sexual orientations and gender identities dedicated to the full and equal participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, queer, transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people in faith communities and society. We are committed to care for one another, to seek justice for those who have been oppressed, and to work for the full inclusion of all people in the family of God. We provide materials on LGBTQIA issues and information to members of the community dealing with related topics. In addition to ongoing discussion groups, DivOut sponsors lectures, panels, worship services, and other educational, social, and cultural events.

Evangelical Fellowship 
Coordinator: Matei Epure
The Evangelical Fellowship strives to nurture spiritual disciplines, fellowship, and Spirit-led worship among the entire the YDS community. Weekly meetings include prayer and intercession, contemporary worship, and brief reflections from students. We invite the YDS community to join us as we seek to encounter the presence of God in our daily lives.

International Student Fellowship
Coordinators: Ike Harijanto, An Hoa Nguyen
The International Student Fellowship at Yale seeks to create both a sense of welcome for international students studying at Yale as well as a space for the faith of religiously-minded students to be cultivated and deepened. ISF is committed to providing support for the personal and academic needs of international students while creating an inclusive community and a sense of belonging.

Korean Evangelical Student Group
Coordinator: Daniel Kim
The Korean Evangelical Student Group consists of both Koreans and Evangelical students at YDS including Korean-American, Korean-Korean, and those who identify themselves as Evangelical. This group has two purposes in its foundation: To encourage and help the Korean students, so-called ‘minority group’ in YDS community, to grow and sustain their identities by the means of prayers, worship and fellowship. Also, to contribute to the YDS community,  the group will present its own ethnicity and religious identity with an open mind.

Lutheran Student Organization
Coordinators: Laura Schueler, Peter Strobel
Through worship, retreats, barbecues, and informal gatherings, the Lutheran Student Organization (LSO) provides fellowship for all students involved in the Lutheran traditions. Functioning within YDS’s Lutheran Studies Program, students plan Tuesday evening Vespers in the Henri Nouwen Chapel, joint Eucharist services with Berkeley Divinity School, and morning school-wide services in Marquand. The LSO also sponsors guest speakers and discussion forums for issues pertinent to the YDS community.

Methodist Studies
Sophia Gamber, Anna Grace Glaize
The Methodist Society is a network of YDS students, alumni, and colleagues who share in the Methodist tradition in its many diverse manifestations such as AME, Korean Methodists, and United Methodists. We welcome all who identify with the Weslyan heritage as well as new seekers searching for a circle of friends in faith. The Methodist Society provides a forum for mutual upbuilding, spiritual formation, doctrinal and polity concerns, and contact with local Methodist clergy. The Methodist Society meets regularly for fellowship, worship, guest speakers, community service, and other activities.

Coordinators: Kelsey Creech, Tori Crook, Allie Howard
Movements exists to provide opportunities for movement to Yale students. These opportunities will range from performance pieces, to structured classes, to guided meditations or prayers assisted by movement. Our objectives are to bring a sense of physicality to the spirituality of YDS students, an awareness and experience of artistic expressions of theology and religious ideas through movement, and to improve YDS students’ relationships to and understanding of their bodies.

Multiracial & Multiethnic Students
Coordinator: Taylor Lindquist
Multiethnic and Multiracial Students (M&MS) is a space for YDS students to share stories of growing up, being formed, and living in the fuzzy edges of race and ethnicity. This group was created as a sort of third place between the two worlds of each student’s ancestral or biological makeup, a third place where students can help each other undersrtand how to sit in both worlds at the same time or neither world. We aim to help students understand not only the cultureal significance but also the spiritual impact of being on the margins of social groups. We also aim to help member students understand the ownership of racial and ethnic components of our makeup, examining the products and consequences of claiming who we are as complete individuals. Advocacy is also a goal by, in the future, building visible and audible relationships with the “traditional” students of color groups. We hope to foster and accomplish this and more through regular meetings and gatherings like lunches and outings.

Native Crossroads
Wyatt Reynolds

Native Crossroads celebrates and elevates Native presence, scholarship and lifeways as Yale Divinity School. As relatives from many tribes and nations, we come together to affirm and encourage each other as we undertake diverse programs of theological and religious study. As scholars and community leaders, we open up conversations that explore the complex relationship between Native traditions and Christian faith. As teachers, healers and advocates, we seek to bring the power of Native voices into the institutional and ceremonial life of the YDS community. Overall, we seek to weave the vibrant patterns of indigenous knowledge-sharing, feasting and storytelling into the academic, liturgical and social fabric of the divinity school and the university.

PAGOD - Pilinix Association of Graduate Students of Divinity
David de Leon, Geronimo DeSumala, Victoria Slabinsky
PAGOD is a community and space specifically to members of the Pilipinx/Pilipinx American experience at the intersection of theology and religious studies, and provide fellowship and contextualized communal support for Pilipinx students at YDS.

Reformed Students Group
Nathan Leach, Kathryn Post
Reformed Studies Student Group (RSSG) offers students from reformed traditions an opportunity to build community and explore what it means to be Reformed in the 21st century. We meet weekly for evening worship and dinner and participate in monthly colloquies with the Reformed Studies certificate program. While RSSG is explicitly oriented towards the needs and formation of Reformed students, our worship services are open to everyone, regardless of religious background.

Roman Catholic Fellowship
Coordinators: Katie Rich, Kaitlyn Russo, Julian Sieber
The Catholic Fellowship is an open and welcoming student organization that fosters community and shares Catholic traditions at YDS through fellowship, liturgical celebration, and service, oftentimes in collaboration with Yale’s Catholic Center, Saint Thomas More. We host a variety of events each semester, including a student-faculty dinner, movie nights, Eucharistic adoration, celebration of Mass, reading groups, lunch with the chaplains, discussions with visiting Catholic scholars, and communal prayer. RCF helps Catholic students at YDS bring together their studies and their faith, providing a place for friendship and discernment.

The Word at Yale
Christy Stang
The goal of this preaching group is for students to learn from each other and to think about the process of preaching outside an academic context. It is challenging to get into the intro preaching class, and there are not many preaching opportunities for students who are not third-year MDivs, so this group aims to fill the gap by expanding preaching opportunities and opportunities to talk about preaching at Yale. YDS has a rich abundance of individuals passionate about preaching the Word from a wide array of different Christian traditions, and this groups taps into that by providing a space for preachers to collaborate. This ecumenical group strives to provide students with opportunities to discuss preaching and to prepare sermons in community. The primary event of this group so far has been the weekly Preachers’ Hour, which is essentially office hours with fellow students to talk about preaching, either through workshopping sermons that people are currently working on or through discussing topics relevant to preaching in general. Past conversations have revolved around the difference between preaching and teaching, how to incorporate social justice messages effectively into a sermon, and brainstorming ways to preach on problematic passages in the Hebrew Bible. The ultimate vision for this community includes more events and opportunities beyond just discussions, including events to practice improv preaching and sermons prepared under time constraints.

Unitarian Univeralist Student Group
Coordinators: Tara Humphries, Ann Kadlecek, Ethan Loewi
The Unitarian Universalists Student Group provides support, denominational fellowship, and opportunities for education and theological reflection for Unitarian Universalist students at YDS, as well as Unitarian Universalist workship for the wider YDS community.

YDS Anglican Fellowship
Coordinators: Ben Crosby, Phoebe Oler
YDS Anglican Fellowship seeks to live out the unity of the Church while recognizing and examining its divisions, especially those in the Anglican tradition. We seek to be the Church in its humble brokenness rather than win over fellow Christians to our own theological positions.
We seek to listen, learn and pray together, thereby witnessing to the YDS community what reconciliation can look like in local communities. All Christians interested in learning to navigate theological difference are welcome.

YDS Interfaith Club
Coordinators: Basya Gartenstein, Alicen Roberts
The Interfaith Club hopes to work with students of all and no faith at YDS and across the larger Yale and New Haven communities to promote religious literacy and the development of the methodological skillsets that are necessary to function as leaders in multifaith contexts.

YDS Women’s Center
Coordinator: Sarah Ambrose, Leah Snavely
The central mission of the YDS Women’s Center is to provide a safe, supportive community for discussion and reflection on experiences in ministry, academia, related fields, and our personal lives. All cis women, trans women, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming individuals are welcome in our safe space. The YDS Women’s Center also hosts events open to the entire divinity school community, typically with the focus on raising awareness about the persistence of gender-based discrimination and injustice against women. We aim to empower students to stand together in the work towards gender equity in their relationships, academic and sacred spaces, work places, and the wider world.

See our website for additional information.

Yale Adventist Campus Fellowship
Coordinator: Stephen Erich
The Yale Adventist Campus Fellowship inspires Seventh-Day Adventist Christian students and faculty members to be disciples of Christ and empower them to share the everlasting gospel on campus. The group provides fellowship, spiritual guidance, and relationship-building as well as service opportunities for the YDS community. Activities include: bible studies, worship services, Community service and socials.

Yale Black Seminarians
Coordinator: Jalen Parks
Yale Black Seminarians is a faith-based, student-led organization committed to enhancing the lives of black students at Yale Divinity School. The mission of the Yale Black Seminarians serves the entire Yale Divinity School community with a committed focus on mobilizing the presence of black students through advocacy, faith and the pursuit of justice. Activities have included the Fall Revival, the Martin Luther King Day Worship Service, the Angel Tree Project at Christmas, and the Parks-King Lecture in the Spring. As an integral part of the YDS Community, the Yale Black Seminarians remain committed to diversity among both students and faculty.

Yale Divinity Drama
Coordinators:  Matthew Blake, Phoenix Gonzalez
Yale Divinity Drama is intended to act as a forum for new writers, actors, directors, producers and drama enthusiasts. YDD is committed to bringing performances of new dramatic and poetic works by students to the larger YDS community.



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