• Mollie Stone, Assistant Director of Choral Activities at the University of Chicago, leads a special Musical Wednesday Lunch.
  • College student Kristin Lin joins Lunch Crew members and MDiv students Walter Thorne and Erika Dornfeld in meal preparation.
  • Yoon Tae Chong (MA‘12), Daniel Owings (MA), and Anne Lynch (MDiv), during a Wednesday Lunch.
  • College student Konje Machini, MA student Nick Lowe and College student/religious studies major Jason McCreery learn a South African song during a Wednesday Lunch.

Wednesday Lunch

Wednesday is a day of community gathering at the Divinity School. Join us!


meal prep imageWednesday Lunch is a Divinity School tradition started many decades ago.  At noon on Wednesdays when the quarter is in session a delicious vegetarian meal is made in the Swift Hall kitchen by our student chefs and lunch crew.  Once the three-course meal has reached dessert each week there is a talk by a faculty member or student from throughout the University, a community member from the greater Chicago area, or a guest from a wider distance.  Many times these talks focus on various aspects of religion in public life and the academic study of religion, but not always.  Sometimes there are musical performances instead of a talk.  All are welcome (you do not have to be a Divinity School student or faculty or staff to come).  Cost is just $5.  Sign up in advance at: divinitylunch@gmail.com



Lunch topics have addressed everything from the parakeets of Hyde Park to the world of male modeling to language loss in Siberia, presented over an always-delicious meal, cooked and served that day by our creative and energetic student staff. Sit at any table and join the conversation: the programs provide a unique opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to engage one another.

Special Wednesday Lunch events include the Dean's Forum, which invites a faculty member to discuss one of his or her recent works, with formal response from several Divinity School colleagues, and our quarterly Musical Offerings.

Lunch itself is a vegetarian meal (a vegan option is available by prior request) and typically includes bread, salad, a main course, dessert, and drinks. Wednesday lunches take place from 12 noon to 1:15 pm in Swift Common Room, and cost $5 at the door. Those interested in attending should reserve a lunch in advance by emailing divinitylunch@gmail.com.

Spring Quarter 2015

April 8  

Julia Parzen, speaking on Sustainability:  A Framework for Solving Complex Urban Problems. Julia Parzen is a social entrepreneur who cofounded Working Assets, one of the first socially responsible mutual funds; the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, a renowned network of 130 North American local government sustainability leaders; and Partners for Places a grant fund that has helped local government and foundation partners to attract $4 million for sustainability projects. Julia’s career in public service and sustainability has spanned public, private, publishing and non-profit sectors, including a strong mix of strategy development and implementation. Most recently, she co-authored The Guide to Greening Cities (Island Press, 2013).  


April 15
Gender JUST: Queer Politics Outside the Mainstream.  Gender JUST is a multi-racial, multi-generational collective with a diversity of marginalized gender and sexual identities, skills, cultures, abilities, citizenship status, educational backgrounds and income levels. We seek to (1) transform queer communities by abolishing race, class, gender, age, religion and ability hierarchies in service of a multi-dimensional and powerful movement and to (2) promote innovative, community-based solutions to safety, wellness, and resource disparities that are accountable to those most vulnerable to institutional violence and harm. 

April 22 
Earth Day lunch with Jim Schaal, Sustainability Coordinator at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and coordinator of the St Paul & the Redeemer Food Garden. Since 2012, the garden has provided more than 2500 pounds of fresh organic vegetables for homeless and hungry neighbors.

April 29
Jas Elsner on "Empires of Faith."  Jas Elsner is Visiting Professor of Art and Religion and  Associate Faculty in the Department of Art History. His main research interest is in the art of the Roman empire, broadly conceived to include late antiquity and the early middle ages and including Byzantium as well as the pre-Christian Classical world. Since 2013 he has been Principal Investigator on the Empires of Faith Project, a joint project of the British Museum and the University of Oxford, which explores the visual cultures of the world religions in the Mediterranean and Asia between 200 and 800 AD.  



May 6
Richard A. Rosengarten, Associate Professor of Religion and Literature and Director of MA Studies; on "What is the state of the field?" Professor Rosengarten's lunch talk will focus on the state of the field of Religious Studies in regards to the American Academy of Arts and Science's 2013 report on the state of the Humanities and in  comparison with the 1998 AAR survey.

May 13
Matthew Barber, speaking on "An Endangered Religion and a Destroyed People: The Yazidi Undoing and the Attempt to Respond." Matthew Barber is a PhD student in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, with interests in modern Syria and Iraq, and Islamic thought. He lived in Syria at the advent of the Syrian uprising and is co-editor of the academic blog Syria Comment. Last summer, Matthew was conducting research in northern Iraq when the self-declared Islamic State ethnically cleansed the Yazidi homeland of Sinjar and began a project of mass enslavement of Yazidi women. In the following months, he became highly involved in advocacy work on behalf of the Yazidis, one of most endangered religious minorities in the world. Matthew can be followed on Twitter at @Matthew__Barber

May 20  
Olatunji Oboi Reed, speaking on the transformative power of bicycling. Oboi Reed is the co-founder and president of the Slow Roll Chicago bicycle movement – "building an equitable, diverse bicycle culture in Chicago, transforming communities as we ride" -- and is involved with groups such as Red Bike & Green and South Side Critical Mass, organized rides focused on getting more people of color biking. An organizer and advocate in many venues for communities of color and low- to moderate-income communities throughout Chicago to have access to the health, economic, and social benefits of cycling,


May 27: Annual end-of-year BBQ.