What does it mean to be a church-affiliated University?
Let’s begin by talking about what it doesn’t mean: being affiliated with the Methodist Church does not mean that students have to be religious, go to chapel, or take a course on religion.
What it does mean is that there is an official Methodist presence on campus. Dr. Steve Rankin, a United Methodist Elder, is Chaplain to the University. In addition to being placed here by the University, he has been appointed to serve this campus by the United Methodist Church. Part of the Chaplain’s job is to oversee opportunities for Christian worship. Underground, a weekly service for praise, prayer and encouragement takes place in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Additionally, there is a Chaplain in each residential commons called a Residential Community Chaplain.
Being a Methodist university also means that all faiths and those of no faith are welcome at SMU. In addition to the numerous Christian campus ministries, the Chaplain’s Office is also home to SMU Hillel, Sikh Student Association, Muslim Student Association and others.
Being affiliated with a church means that we encourage students to think about how faith informs our lives. In fact, our Faith and Learning Scholars do just that.
Lastly, being a Methodist-affiliated university means that we value faith and the freedom to express that faith. So you shouldn’t be surprised to see a Friday afternoon Jummah, hear the praise and worship band of a Christian campus ministry or be invited to wear a turban.