Since 1995, Chaplain Lesley Adams has been leading the Hobart and William Smith Community in interfaith celebration, reflection, and guidance.
Chaplain Adams arranges and leads the spiritual component of all ceremonial campus events. Striving to make ceremonial events accessible yet meaningful to people of all beliefs, Chaplain Adams often incorporates the language and images of many faiths into her invocations and benedictions.
Chaplain Adams also helps students sort through their own beliefs and code of ethics. Each fall, she leads a section of Common Ground, an optional, once-a-week, non-credit course intended for entering first-years making the transition to a more independent life at college.
Contemplative prayer and guided meditation are collective terms that refer to the practice of tuning out the outside world and allowing the mind to open, not unlike Buddhist meditation. Chaplain Adams understands these practices and leads others in guided meditation.
“As part of my exploration of contemplative prayer,” says Chaplain Adams, “I have returned to the handwork of my earlier years. Each week the Hillel program professional and I host the Close Knit Handwork Club at my house to teach knitting and provide a space for the cultivation of a reflective life.
“Another avenue for contemplative prayer has been the labyrinth. I find great calm in laying out the ancient design and doing the walking meditation. Occasionally I enlarge the center so that we can walk into the space as part of our Sunday worship and make Eucharist there.”
A scholar on issues of social justice, Chaplain Adams also makes social justice issues her own. She has been an active member of the local peace movement.
Adams delivered the 2004, 2006 and 2007 Baccalaureate Addresses.
101 Reasons to be an Episcopalian
Morehouse Publishing, 2003
We Ask Your Blessing: 100 Prayers for Campus Occasions
Writers Club Press, 2003
Interview opportunities and additional background information may be requested through the Office of Communications, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York. Phone: (315) 781-3540. After business hours, Communications staff members are accessible through contact information on their answering machine at that number.
Chaplain Lesley Adams was ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1988, having earned her B.A. from Smith College, and her M.Div. from Harvard University. She joined the faculty at Hobart and William Smith in 1995 and serves as Chaplain for the Colleges’ community. She is the Episcopal Province II coordinator for ministry in higher education. She is also an affiliate of the Center for Progressive Christianity.
Chaplain Adams is currently a member of the Standing Committee for the Diocese of Rochester.
Prior to coming to Hobart and William Smith, Chaplain Adams was the dean of students and director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y., and held various other positions there, including director of women’s studies.
In addition to community service undertaken with and through the Colleges, Chaplain Adams serves on the board of directors for Rushville Health Center, an organization providing medical and dental care, outreach to migrant and impoverished families, rape and abuse crises services, and other community health programs.