Religious Life at Harvard
I have recently received several questions from high school students asking about religious life at Harvard. In particular, students for whom religion constitutes an important part of their life have been concerned that Harvard is not a particularly hospitable environment for religious belief. As a lifelong Christian and a member of Harvard’s largest Christian fellowship since my freshman year, I can honestly say that I have grown more in my faith about Harvard than I ever expected that I would, and I have made most of my closest friends at Harvard through HCFA events. It is entirely possible to be a person of sincere faith and a Harvard student at the same time. Without further ado, here are a few of Harvard’s many faith-based organizations:
Harvard College Faith and Action (HCFA)
What they do: The largest Christian fellowship on campus, HCFA is a nondenominational student group that aims to promote deeper engagement with the Scriptures and to foster lives of service. Events include weekly Friday night worship sessions, weekend community service projects, and biannual off-campus retreats.
Harvard Catholic Student Association (CSA)
What they do: A student-run organization within the Harvard Catholic Chaplaincy that aims to promote spiritual friendship with Christ and other students. CSA runs weekly Bible studies, weekly adoration at St. Paul’s and a weekly study break that features lots of yummy food.
Harvard Islamic Society (HIS)
What they do: HIS is a student group that aims to promote a greater understanding of Islam among the Harvard community. They hold a regular jumu’ah (Friday congregational prayer), maintain a musalla (prayer space) on campus in the basement of Canaday, and also host a variety of guest speakers to lecture on topics related to Islam.
What they do: Hillel is the center of Jewish life on campus, dedicated to educating students about the tenets of the Jewish faith. Hillel boasts a staff of rabbi that lead regular discussions on topics related to Judaism and Israel, religious services for every holiday on the Jewish calendar, and it’s own dining hall (open to all students) featuring all kosher food.
Harvard Community of Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics
What they do: HCHAA provides a welcoming community for students who do not identify as religious. They hold weekly meetings on Fridays in their office (the “Humanist Hub”), host featured speakers, and even participate in an annual debate on topics of faith with HCFA.
Note: this is not an exhaustive list of Harvard religious organizations. Students of every faith background are welcome on the Harvard campus, and if you have any questions about particular religious resources that are available to students please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!