In acts of worship that continue beyond the walls of the Chapel, the Duke Chapel community seeks to pray with its hands and feet on Duke’s campus and beyond. In that spirit, the Chapel fosters connections with the wider Durham community by partnering in ministry with local churches and nonprofits, as well as nurturing relationships across social, cultural, and political divisions.
By maintaining a visible presence in the West End and other Durham neighborhoods, the Chapel facilitates interactions between these neighborhoods and the Duke community, and engage with issues of wider community, national, and international concern. We rely on relationships with community partners to accomplish this important work that allows us to be with our neighbors in word and deed.
Students interested in community engagement can get involved in one or more of the Chapel Student Ministries.
We believe the Christian life is an invitation into the redemptive life of the triune God. As participants in God’s life, we are called to embody and witness to Christ’s love in our community and world. We do so through building and deepening our relationships in the community as we work at the intersections of faith and justice to bridge the differences that divide humanity.
- Achievement Academy of Durham
- Carolina Peace Center
- Catholic Charities
- Church of Philadelphia
- Coalition for Affordable Housing & Transit
- Community Empowerment Fund
- DCIA (Durham Congregations in Action)
- Duke Community & Family Medicine Division of Community Health
- Duke Office of Durham & Regional Affairs
- Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations, Neighborhoods)
- Durham Clergy Anti-Racism Witness Group
- Families Moving Forward
- First Calvary Baptist Church
- Habitat for Humanity
- HomeShare Durham
- Housing for New Hope
- Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance
- Longball Durham
- North Carolina Council of Churches
- One World Market
- Open Table Ministries
- Partners for Youth Opportunity
- Partners in Caring
- Pregnancy Support Services
- Reality Ministries
- Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham
- Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South
- Restorative Justice Durham
- Self-Help Credit Union
- Senior PharmAssist
- Society of St. Andrew
- Student Action with Farmworkers
- Union Baptist Church
- Urban Hope
- Urban Ministries
- Village of Wisdom
- Walltown Chilrden's Theatre
- West End Community Foundation, Inc
- World Relief
- Youth Life Foundation of the Triangle
If you would like to be involved in another way or have any questions, please contact our community minister.
The Chapel fosters connections with the wider Durham community by partnering in ministry with local churches and nonprofits, as well as nurturing relationships across social, cultural, and political divisions. These Community Highlights focuses on some of those partners.
Commissioning of the 2021–22 PathWays Fellows
In this time of division, learning to respect one another's humanity while addressing our deep communal needs for dignity, housing, food, healthcare, and inclusion is vital. To promote that kind of learning, Chapel Scholar Lizzy Kramer will teach a half-credit house course in the Fall 2021 semester titled "A Just Faith" (HOUSECS 59.28), with support from Chapel Community Minister Rev. Breana van Velzen. In the course, students read academic work, engage with guest speakers, write analytical and reflective essays, and discuss topics such as human sexuality and activism across faith traditions. This class engages with thinkers and practitioners from multiple faith traditions, such as Thich Naht Hahn, Alice Walker, Howard Thurman, Lama Rod Owens, and Shadaab Rahemtulla, who connect their traditions’ theologies with social practice—or in many cases, selfless service and communal liberation. Students will have opportunities to explore and examine their own traditions and cultures around justice topics and movements, learn from one another, and learn from the greater Durham community through local practitioners.
Housing Justice Event
Community Ministry Adapts During PandemicWorking@Duke story describes how the "Faith Team" ministry adapted during the pandemic. A collaboration among the Chapel, The Congregation at Duke University Chapel, and the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, the ministry supports people returning from prison to the community.
“Often, people recently released from prison don’t have a community around them,” Chapel Community Minister Rev. Breana van Velzen says in the article. “The whole point of this program is to become that community for someone.”
Online Series on Local Efforts to Seek Justic
Urban Hope Helps Students Grow Healthy Neighborhoods
Durham Eviction Diversion Program Helps Keep People in Their Homesmain of office of Legal Aid of North Carolina or Robbie Breitweiser in its Durham office.
Humanitarian Service Award Recipients to Be Recognized Jan. 24
Online Workshop Oct. 22 to Explore Faith, Art, and JusticeRESIST COVID / TAKE 6! public art exhibition at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art as a starting place to reflect on issues of faith and justice in Durham. The outdoor exhibition and public awareness campaign by nationally renowned artist Carrie Mae Weems emphasizes the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the lives of communities of color, through large-scale banners and window clings, posters, street signs and more.
The first part of this workshop will include a presentation by Marshall N. Price, PhD, chief curator and Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum. A community leader and a student will also each speak about connections among art, faith, and justice. The second part of the workshop will allow participants to share their own reflections. To learn more and receive a link to participate, email the Chapel’s community minister, the Rev. Breana van Velzen.
Humanitarian Service Award Nominations Are Open
Nominations for this year's award are due by November 13, 2020.
Meet the New PathWays Scholars
Online Study of 'The Christian Imagination'The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race by the Rev. Dr. Willie Jennings, associate professor of systematic theology and Africana studies at Yale Divinity School. The group is co-organized by Duke Chapel and DurhamCares, a nonprofit that seeks to foster collaboration, develop leaders, and educate the people of our Durham to care for their neighbors in holistic ways.
The first online meeting is Tuesday, August 18, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. and the following meetings will be on the first and third Tuesdays of each month; the final meeting will be on Tuesday, December 15. Anyone may join the group at any point in the semester. To receive a Zoom link to participate in the discussion, register for free. For more information, email the Chapel’s community minister, the Rev. Breana van Velzen.
‘Just Mercy’ Online Film Viewing and DiscussionJust Mercy followed by an online discussion on Wednesday, June 24, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. The film tells the true story of a man sentenced to death in Alabama in the 1980s whose claim of innocence is taken up by the (then) young lawyer Bryan Stevenson. It is based on Stevenson’s memoir of the same title. The conversation following the viewing will focus on the film, experiences participants would like to share, and the legacy of anti-black racism in the United States and in faith communities. This online event is free.
To receive a Zoom link to participate in the film viewing and discussion, please email the Chapel’s Community Minister Rev. Breana van Velzen at email@example.com.
A Call to Share COVID-19 ReliefBull City Stimulus Redistribution Collective website. "I am called as a minister and a person of the Christian faith to be in solidarity with those in poverty and made invisible by society," she writes. "I encourage my neighbors who find themselves in my position to help those who need relief."
Helping from Home
Resources for Worship, Prayer, and Community Connection
Uneven Ground Exhibit Highlights Injustice, Hope in Durham Housing
World Relief Durham
The Chapel supports World Relief in their mission to serve the most vulnerable around the world. Locally, World Relief Durham (WRD) works with immigrants, churches, and the community to help vulnerable immigrants thrive. They do this in three ways. First, they resettle people fleeing persecution and violence abroad to begin new lives of healing. Second, they provide immigration legal services to help families stay together in a rapidly changing immigration landscape in the United States. And third, they partner with local schools to fill in the gaps by providing vulnerable immigrant youth the academic and social support they need to navigate and flourish in their new community.
Community Empowerment Fund
Bridging faith and learning does not stop with graduation—the PathWays Fellowship not only gives recent alumni the tools they need to discern their vocational and spiritual direction, but it also gives them opportunities for exploration, leadership, mentorship, service, and formation deeply rooted in the local community and their Christian traditions.