Student Life

CTS is not just a seminary, it is a community – a living, breathing, organic community. Whether you join a student organization, attend a worship service, share a post or encourage a classmate, community life is a major part of the CTS experience.

On campus or online, community life is where learning intersects with living. It is where faith begins to shape into praxis. The CTS experience is more than academic, it is the relationships we build with one another and how we learn from each other.

Beyond the classroom, our students meet, bond, challenge, and grow with one another at a number of intersections. Weekly Chapel Services. Lectures. Special events and conferences. Fall and Springs Fests. Community Lunch. Online Worship. Town Hall Meetings. Fireside Chats. Online chat rooms where the entire community can exchange ideas and concerns.

Rev. Lisa M. Goods portait

Rev. Lisa M. Goods

Director of Community Life

Office of Community Life:

The Director of Community Life, Rev. Lisa M. Goods, is commissioned to “help the CTS community befriend itself,” working with students, faculty and staff to nurture and coordinate opportunities for building community at CTS.

An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Rev. Goods is responsible for helping to facilitate the spiritual, professional and community formation of the CTS community. She serves as the chair of CTS’s Spiritual Life Committee and is the lead on most spiritual life activities including our weekly worship services. Rev. Goods is also available to help students with spiritual care and wellness needs.

The Office of Community Life maintains a resource center of information on spiritual direction, long-term counseling, religious communities, retreat facilities, and skilled care services available in the surrounding community. It fosters safe spaces for conversation and counsel, while also representing student interests on the Administrative Council, Academic Council, and the Anti-Harassment/Anti-Discrimination Task Force.


The CTS campus is located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. It is a desirable, racially-diverse neighborhood, which includes the homes of many notable Chicagoans, including President Barack Obama. Hyde Park is also the home of the University of Chicago. There is a quaint downtown area with trendy shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and markets. Its central location means that it is also well serviced by public transportation. A community imbued with culture, you are just steps away from wonderful museums such as The Oriental Institute, The DuSable Museum of African American History and The Museum of Science and Industry. And let’s not forget the beauty of Lake Michigan, 57th Street Beach and the view of Chicago’s iconic skyline from Lake Shore Drive, all of which are just steps away from CTS. Also, bordering the historic Woodlawn neighborhood, CTS is not only centrally located, but resides within a community rich in both cultural diversity and diverse housing options.

  • CTS does not maintain its own residence hall: Each student is responsible for finding, applying for, and securing her/his own housing. However, for the convenience of our students, CTS has entered into an agreement with the University of Chicago which affords CTS students the opportunity to reside in University of Chicago graduate residences. Apartments ranging from studio to 2 bedrooms are typically available. Individuals, families, and students wanting to share an apartment are welcome. A benefit to this housing is that it does not require the typical sizable deposits or fees of other apartments, only a $200 application fee which is refundable should you not secure suitable housing. For more information about how to apply for this housing, see our information brochure: “CTS & University of Chicago Graduate Student Housing.”
  • Other Housing Options: There are a plethora of wonderful rental opportunities in the communities surrounding CTS. Because this is an area in high demand, we suggest you begin your housing search soon after your acceptance. Some of the ACTS Cluster Seminaries offer housing to CTS students, as well.
  • For more housing information including temporary housing please contact the Office of Community Life at

Student Organizations:

Every student brings her or his own passions and experiences to the Seminary. There are several organizations and programs to meet your needs and interests. Here is a list of active groups;

  • Bayard Rustin Society: Seeks to serve the unique needs of Black LGBTQ students.
  • Charles Shelby Rooks Society: Celebrates Diasporic ties to Africa, academic excellence, cultural, community, spiritual and social cognizance, and activism.
  • Business of Ministry Action Plan: Business of Ministry Action Plan seek to help students build a foundation for business success in ministry.
  • CTS Table Tennis Club: Aims to build friendship among students and to contribute to students’ school life.
  • Deirdre Jackson & DeMarcus Jones Center for Hip-Hop Thought & Activism: To use Hip-Hop music and culture as a source of intellectual reflection, engagement, civic participation, and resistance.
  • Fine Arts at Chicago Theological Seminary (FACTS): Seeks to incorporate fine arts and artistic ability in the worship and everyday community of CTS.
  • Heyward-Boswell Society: Serves as the outreach and support group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community and their supporters at CTS.
  • International Student Organization (ISO): Mission is to build religious leadership from the multi-diverse cultural and denominational perspectives, nurturing a global understanding.
  • Latin@ Comunidad Accion Ministerios (LCAM): Promote Latino/a leadership and ministry and the prophetic transformation of local and global communities.
  • PhD Student Association: Fosters a community of learning among Doctoral students.
  • Student Government: Consists of elected representatives of the student body who serve as liaisons and advocates to the faculty, administration and Board of Trustees.
  • Womanist Group: A covenant community and space for Black women’s experiences, stories, issues, and scholarship to be exchanged and nurtured.


Worship is central to community life and spiritual formation at CTS. Through worship we encounter the divine and celebrate the many gifts we have each been given. The central worship event happens in the 4th floor Main Chapel each Wednesday at noon during the fall and spring semesters.

We are intentional about making our Wednesday Chapel as diverse and different as our community.  While one service might be a formal academic convocation, another might be a traditional African American or Latin@ service, while yet another might be an interfaith worship including elements from Islam, Judaism and other religions.  Wednesday Chapel services are streamed and archived to allow our online and evening students to participate in the experience.

Aside from Wednesday Chapel, there are other times when the community comes together in worship. Our smaller chapel space – the Clark Chapel on the 1st floor – is the home of our Tuesday Chapel services. Tuesday Chapels are less formal, student-led worship and prayer. It is a time when you can test those worship skills you are honing, as well as experiment with more creative, non-traditional forms of faith expression.

The second Thursday of every month we host Online Chapel at 6:00pm. Online Chapel includes all of the elements of our other worship services, but is held in a virtual gathering space via WebEx Conferencing.

Worship at CTS is a collaborative effort of students, faculty and staff. The Director of Community Life administers the various aspects of weekly worship and other aspects of spiritual life.

Learning Commons:

Research is a critical part of your graduate school experience. That’s why CTS has amassed one of the finest libraries and literary collections anywhere. What’s more, you have access to the collections at a number of other ACTS resources. Click here or more information on the Learning Commons and other research resources available to the CTS Community.

Language & Writing Center:

Another benefit CTS offers students is our Language & Writing Center. This is a free program set up to help, support or tutor students in academic writing. So if you have been away from school for a while or just would like someone to look over your work, we have you covered. This is especially beneficial for students whose first language is not English and may want a little extra help.