The Chaplaincy at Bard

The Chaplaincy at Bard College engages with many different people throughout our community. In all the Chaplaincy does, the aim is to help people develop a clearer understanding of what they believe, of how they relate to their own faiths and to those of other faiths. We call upon the resources of several religious and philosophical traditions in our work, without asking others to adhere to them. Our concern is with how the individual integrates his or her own spirituality within a community of diverse faiths, and with how the community accommodates the fact of diversity.

Service to the Community

The Chaplaincy is committed to enabling students, staff, and faculty to explore and develop their own spiritual identities. Various academic programs permit us to see how religious perspectives contribute to our understanding of who we are as human beings; the Chaplaincy provides us with an opportunity to practice and experiment on the basis of different traditions of religion. By historic and active association, the College belongs to the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, but that membership is not taken to limit the scope of our religious interests. Rather, the chaplains understand that one of the greatest opportunities of learning is to see oneself and the world from diverse perspectives such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. At Bard College, these great systems of religion are practiced, not only studied.

The Chaplaincy has on staff five college chaplains: an Episcopal priest, a Catholic priest, an imam, a rabbi, and an Anglican priest. The clergy offer study on a formal and informal basis with members of the college community who are interested in learning more about their own traditions or the faith traditions of others. Each chaplain is available for pastoral care with students, administration, staff, and faculty.

It is the Chaplaincy's goal to care for members of the college community as they confront the challenges of living in an academic environment. Integration of religious practice in these arenas can enhance the lives of those individuals and that of the institution. We believe that Ňthe sacredÓ becomes manifest through addressing the whole person, their intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual sides. We work closely with both the Counseling Service and the office of the Dean of Students to reach these goals.

The Chaplaincy supports and advises the Jewish Student Organization, the Muslim Students Organization, the Christian Students Fellowship, the Buddhist Meditation Group, and the Catholic community to help students organize and celebrate regular holy observances and to develop programming for the campus. In addition, the clergy offer regular weekly worship. Evensong is observed on Sundays in the Chapel of the Holy Innocents. The rabbi offers a weekly Sabbath celebration and programming for other festivals that fall within the academic calendar. The imam facilitates regular worship through the Muslim calendar. The Catholic chaplain celebrates Mass on Sundays and holy days, in addition to providing opportunities for confession and other sacraments and liturgies. There are several churches in close proximity to the campus where students are welcome to worship, including St. John the Evangelist in Barrytown, where one of Bard's chaplains is rector.

While the Chaplaincy is deeply committed to the development of individual spiritual identity, we are also concerned to foster a ceremonial tradition that is celebrated and shared through the strata of the college so that at particular times faculty, administration, students, and staff gather together to bear witness to our common life. In addition to our denominational activities, we also coordinate and participate in a series of ecumenical events throughout the school year. These vary according to season and interests. Some examples of past events have been a Festival of Lights in early December, the building and burning of a labyrinth at the spring equinox, and a May Day celebration.


Our Staff

Iskandar Atajanow
Muslim Chaplain


Phone: 845-758-7335

Image Bruce Chilton
Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion; Chaplain of the College; Executive Director, Institute of Advanced Theology
B.A., Bard College; M.Div., General Theological Seminary, ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood; Ph.D., Cambridge University. Books include Abraham’s Curse; Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography; God in Strength; Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography; Judaic Approaches to the Gospels; Mary Magdalene: A Biography; Revelation; Trading Places; Jesus’ Prayer and Jesus’ Eucharist; Forging a Common Future; and Jesus’ Baptism and Jesus’ Healing. Editor in chief, Bulletin for Biblical Research; founding editor, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Studying the Historical Jesus series (E. J. Brill and Eerdmans). Fellowships and awards: with Jacob Neusner, Choice magazine award, best academic book (1998); Evangelical Scholars Fellowship, Whitney Humanities Center (Yale University); Heinrich Hertz Stiftung, Theological Develop­ment Fund of the Episcopal Church, National Conference of Christians and Jews. At Bard since 1987.
Phone: 845-758-7335

Image Ginger Grab
Ecumenical Chaplain
The Rev. Ginger Grab, an Episcopal priest, is assistant chaplain at Bard and curate at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Barrytown. She received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.A. from Columbia University, and an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. She also completed a year of Anglican studies at General Theological Seminary. For the past 10 years she has been the editor of The Living Pulpit, a professional journal for preachers. An associate with the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard, she has been developing an Evensong program for the College and the surrounding community; during the academic year, this service of candlelight and music takes place at the Chapel at 7:30 p.m. every Sunday.
Phone: 845-757-4309

Nicholas Alton Lewis
Assistant Dean of the College; Community Life Chaplain
B.F.A., M.M., Carnegie Mellon University; M.Div., Institute of Sacred Music, Yale Divinity School. Orchestral experience with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra (RSO), Bard Conductor’s Institute Orchestra, Williamsburg Symphonia, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Opera, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, among others. Concerto soloist appearances with Soulful Symphony, Williamsburg Symphonia, RSO (world premiere of Anthony Kelley's Jass Days from Coda), and others. Performed the role of Rucker in a production of Regina, conducted by Leon Botstein, at Bard SummerScape 2005. Independent projects include BLAK: New Blues Ensemble; Souls Intertwined, a commision by RSO; and Conjure Bearden: Long Ago Faces, a video by Tom Whiteside with music by Kelley. Has previously taught at Howard University, Duke University, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and Virginia Union University. He has also served as consultant to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and as founder and director of Manchester Music Exchange, a dedicated space for music performance and education in Richmond, Virginia. At Bard since 2013.
Phone: 845-758-4775

Image Joseph Mali
Catholic Chaplain
B.D., Pontifical Urban University, Rome; M.A., St. John’s University (Biblical Studies); Ph.D., Fordham University (specialization in the New Testament). Author of The Christian Gospel and Its Jewish Roots: A Redaction-Critical Study of Mark 2:21-22 in Context (Studies in Biblical Literature 131; New York/Berlin/Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009). In addition to being Catholic Chaplain at Bard, he is also the Director of Pastoral Care and Mission Effectiveness at Saint Francis Hospital, in Poughkeepsie, New York. At Bard since 2010.
Phone: 845-594-6845

Image David Nelson
Rabbi; Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion
B.A., Wesleyan University; M.H.L., rabbinic ordination, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion; Ph.D., New York University. Associate director, ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America; 2005– ); director, Jewish Life Connection, Washington Township, New Jersey (2001–05); rabbi and principal, Garden City Jewish Center, New York (1980–85). Has taught at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, New York University, Adelphi University; guest lecturer at University of Virginia, Wesleyan University, St. Andrew's Presbyterian College, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Vassar College. Contributing editor, Shma (1995–2000). Author of Judaism, Physics and God: Searching for Sacred Metaphors in a Post-Einstein World. At Bard since 2008.
Phone: 845-758-7438

Image Tatjana Myoko von Prittwitz und Gaffron
Buddhist Associate Chaplain; Visiting Assistant Professor in First-Year Seminar; Special Projects Adviser
B.A., University of Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany; M.A., Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; Ph.D., University of Saarland. Essays in many exhibition catalogues, journals and newspapers, with research particularly focusing on Joseph Beuys. Monograph on the main art critic of Beuys: "Kreativit ät als allgemeines Menschenrecht!" Georg Jappe. Formen angewandter Ästhetik ["Creativity as a human right!" Georg Jappe. Forms of applied aesthetics]. Curatorial Researcher, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (1999-2008): Establishment, development, and organization of a collection of archives on the history of exhibition since 1960. Has curated exhibitions of contemporary art, was an art guide at Art Basel Miami Beach and worked in various German and French interdisciplinary festivals. Visiting Assistant Professor in First-Year Seminar since 2009. Student of Zen Buddhism since 1998, with training also in Japan. Buddhist Associate Chaplain (2013- ). At Bard since 1999.
Phone: 845-752-4619





For more information contact:
Bard College Chaplaincy
PO Box 5000
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000
Phone: 845-758-7335