Spiritual Support & Resources

Finding Community on Campus

There are many wonderful religious communities and organizations in the Greater Boston Area and even on BU’s campus. If you are looking for a place to get involved in a religious life club or community on campus, we highly recommend looking into the list of approved BU Religious Life Groups. These groups are registered with the Religious Life office and the Student Activities Office on campus and the group and its leaders are given official BU email addresses and BU IDs. If the group is not on this list, they are NOT an approved campus group, even if they are meeting on BU’s campus.

There are groups for many different spiritual expressions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity (Catholic & Protestant), Judaism, Islam, and Jainism. The groups also range in doctrinal beliefs from very progressive to more conservative. Need help finding the right group? Ask us!

Chaplains are available via phone or email.

Rev. Dr. Jessica Chicka

The Rev. Dr. Jessica Chicka
University Chaplain for International Students

The Rev. Dr. Karen Coleman
University Chaplain for Episcopal Ministry








Finding Community Beyond Campus:

Beyond the BU Campus, Boston offers a melting pot of religious opportunities, a reality which can be both exciting and daunting. Unfortunately, we live in a world where religion is sometimes used to control, exploit, and even harm. Before getting involved in a religious group, be sure to research the group’s history and belief statements, if available.

If you or someone you know is in a religious group that feels uncomfortable or harmful and you are having trouble leaving the group for any reason, we can help. Contact a Chaplain Here.

Not sure if you are in an unhealthy religious group or a religious cult? Consider these questions:

  • Does your group show unquestioning commitment to its leader(s)?
  • Are doubts, research, and questions about the group and its beliefs discouraged?
  • Does the leadership dictate how members should think, act, and feel? How they should dress, where they should live, who they can be friends with?
  • Does the group feel they’re on a special mission to save humanity? Do they see their leader as a prophet, supreme being, or divine source of authority?
  • Does the group have an us-versus-them mentality?
  • Does the leadership induce feelings of shame or guilt in order to influence or control members? This is often done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
  • Do members of the group seem to be following you or showing up unannounced regularly?
  • Does the group require or strongly encourage members to cut ties with family and friends, or to radically alter their personal goals and activities?
  • Has the group’s leadership ever encouraged members to change their major, drop out of school, or quit a job in order to dedicate more time or energy to the group and its mission?
  • Is the group preoccupied with bringing in new members and/or making money?
  • Do you fear backlash to yourself or others if you leave—or even consider leaving—the group?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions and think you or someone you know may need help leaving a group, please reach out to one of our chaplains. They are confidential resources who can help connect you to campus and external resources. We want to help.

Other Resources on BU’s Campus:

Health and Wellbeing Resources and Contacts for BU Students, Faculty & Staff

BU Student Health Services Resources

Confidential Care, Student Advocates, and other Resources through BU SARP

BU Emergency Services and Phone Numbers

Additional Online Resources for Leaving Unhealthy Religious Groups:

Dare to Doubt: Information about Cults

An excellent and comprehensive list of resources from the Open Minds Foundation

Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741
Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.