The diverse campus ministry at WPI is created and provided by the students themselves. The relationships and spiritual friendships developed in their groups and clubs are the outward evidence of that ministry. Students worship and work together, developing sustaining bonds that guide and hold them throughout their time on campus.
Some groups also have members of their clergy, funded by their religious denominations or congregations, who serve the clerical needs of that specific group.
At WPI those clergy currently also serve as chaplains to the campus community. Chaplains serve beyond their own faith tradition. They tend to the spiritual needs of a multi-faith and often transient community on site. The chaplains are here for students in time of spiritual need, regardless of their faith affiliation. They also coordinate the events with the multiple groups at the Campus Religious Center (CRC) to help maintain a thriving multi-faith and educational campus religious community.
For Chaplain office hours please see below, or make an appointment to meet.
Father Juan Echavarria
Catholic Priest and WPI Campus Chaplain
Fr. Juan, originally from Colombia, is a Catholic Priest in the Diocese of Worcester. He came to the United States in 2008 to study English and finish his Theological studies, which he had started in his country, in order to be ordained to the priesthood. He was ordained in 2011 and assigned as the Associate Pastor at St. Patrick's Parish in Whitinsville where he served for two years. Now he works as the Catholic Campus Minister at WPI accompanying the Newman Club as their Chaplain. He also helps with the Hispanic Ministry at St. Peter's Parish in Worcester.
"Working on Campus Ministry is definitely a new experience for me; an experience that is going to help me grow in faith and love for God and my priesthood. I love being in academic settings, and WPI is a great opportunity for me to grow as person and as priest. I look forward to getting to meet students, faculty and staff, and share the diversity faith brings about. Know that I am here to walk with you along the journey of faith."
Fr. Juan is available on campus Monday to Wednesday afternoon and evening, Thursday morning, and Saturday and Sunday by appointment.
"Feel free to stop for a chat at the Religious Center or anywhere you see me on campus - including the gym."
Rev. Cheryl Leshay
Unitarian Universalist minister and chaplain
Rev Cheryl is available to students of any faith for spiritual support and faith development.
Her expertise is in religious education, faith development and pastoral care. At WPI she shepherds students in Unitarian Universalist, Atheist, Humanist, Jewish, Wiccan, Pagan, Native American/Christian and emerging faith groups.
Office hours: Tuesdays by appointment, Wednesdays and Friday afternoon.
Pastor Matt James
Associate Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church and a WPI campus chaplain
Pastor Matt James is originally from northern Colorado, and after graduate school and seminary in Pennsylvania, he moved to Worcester. Eventually, Matt was called as Associate Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church (the big yellow church across from the Art Museum). It was while pursuing a master’s degree at the Pennsylvania State University that Matt began to sense God calling him to ordained ministry. Since then, Campus Ministry has always figured highly in Matt’s sense of call to the ministry and he is pleased to able to be present with the students, faculty, and staff of WPI. Matt enjoys hearing people’s stories especially of those places and moments where faith and everday life connect. He is passionate about what he believes to be God’s call of Christians to work for justice, peace, and dignity of all people. Matt still holds a high interest in his previous career path, communications and media studies. He is especially interested in the ways in which the church and Christians are portrayed in mainstream media. For that reason, and more, he spends a lot of his free time sifting through shows saved on his DVR and his extensive movie collection.
Feel free to stop and talk to Matt during his Office Hours on Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m. by the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Campus Center, or contact him to make an appointment.