• 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.

Autumn 2014

October 1 

Our speaker for the opening Wednesday Lunch of the academic year will be Margaret M. Mitchell, Dean of the Divinity School and the Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature, speaking on "Teaching Religion and the First Amendment: The Case of the Hobby Lobby Bible Curriculum."

Dean Mitchell is a literary historian of ancient Christianity. Her research and teaching span a range of topics in New Testament and early Christian writings up through the end of the fourth century. She analyzes how the earliest Christians literally wrote their way into history, developing a literary and religious culture that was deeply embedded in Hellenistic Judaism and the wider Greco-Roman world, while also proclaiming its distinctiveness from each. Special interests include the Pauline letters (both in their inaugural moments and in the history of their effects), the poetics and politics of ancient biblical interpretation, and the intersection of text, image, and artifact in the fashioning of early Christian culture. An elected member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, l’Association internationale d’études patristiques, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dean Mitchell is currently working on a volume of translations of occasional sermons by John Chrysostom on Pauline passages for the Writings From the Greco-Roman World series, for which she has received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.
October 8

Michael W. Phillips Jr., speaking. Phillips is the founder of South Side Projections, a nonprofit organization presenting (alternative) film to Chicago's south side.

October 15 

Join  MDiv student Elijah Kindred and members of the Bright Star Church community and the Anshe Emet synagogue community to discuss their project to build interfaith understanding AND a playground in Bronzeville – from the ground up – in one day. Build day is October 12th so get ready to see some amazing pictures!
October 22

MICROBES!  Jack A. Gilbert, Environmental Microbiologist with Argonne National Laboratory and Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, speaking on "The Microbiome Revolution: Why microbes control your life!". 
Dr. Gilbert is a microbial ecologist whose ongoing research is focused on exploring how microbial communities assemble themselves in natural and human-made environments. He currently manages the Earth Microbiome Project, which is an ongoing effort to characterize the microbial diversity of our planet, The Home Microbiome Project, exploring how humans interact with the bacteria living in their homes; and the Hospital Microbiome Project, examining how adding patients and staff into a hospital building effects the development of microbial communities and important pathogens. 

October 29

Lucy K. Pick, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity, on Pilgrimage, pilgrimage, and writing historical fiction.
Lucy Pick is a historian of medieval religious thought and practice. Her current research and teaching interests include the relationships between gender and religion, connections between historical writing and theology, the development of monastic thought and practice, reading and writing as spiritual exercises, and the ways in which religion shapes lives through ritual. Her book Conflict and Coexistence: Archbishop Rodrigo and the Muslims and Jews of Thirteenth-Century Spain, discusses Jewish, Christian, and Muslim relations in thirteenth-century Toledo. Dr. Pick is currently working on a monograph studying the intersection of gender, politics, and religion in the Middle Ages by examining the careers of royal women in early medieval Spain.
Her first novel, Pilgrimage, was published this summer. It is a story about the Middle Ages that explores betrayal, friendship, illness, miracles, healing, and redemption on the road to Compostela.  At Lunch Dr. Pick will discuss how she wrote and published a historical novel and the connection between academic writing and writing for a broader audience.

November 5

"Ecumenism 101" with Aaron Hollander

Division among Christians is as old as Christianity, but from the early Church to the present day there have been sustained attempts to find understanding and reconciliation. Aaron Hollander will present a brief, casual, no-prior-knowledge-required introduction to the history and theories of Christian ecumenism, that is, the striving for unity among Christian churches.

Now in its third year, UChicago 101s offers the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics at a basic level, no prior knowledge needed or expected! 

Aaron Hollander is a PhD Candidate in Theology at the Divinity School, writing a dissertation on holiness as an ecumenical problem. Before coming to Chicago, he studied religion and environmental studies at Swarthmore College, and completed a master's degree in ecumenics at Trinity College, Dublin (and just think, after today you’ll know what on earth "ecumenics" is!). At Chicago, he has been a coordinator of sundry Theology and Craft of Teaching workshops, a bassoonist in the UChicago Symphony, and an enthusiastic devourer of Wednesday Lunches.

November 12 

Jan Deckenbach, Pantry Coordinator for the Hyde Park Kenwood Hunger Programs, will be our guest today. 

If you are able, please bring a personal hygiene products (for instance soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste) to donate.  The Hunger Programs are increasingly taking the opportunity to distribute such products.

November 19: Musical Offering.

Winter Quarter 2015
January 14
January 21
Demond Drummer.
January 28
February 4
February 11
February 18
Dean's Forum.
February 25
March 4

Spring Quarter 2015

April 8

April 15

April 22

April 28

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

May 20

May 27: Annual end-of-year BBQ.