The Rev. Jane Gould, MIT's new Episcopal chaplain, represents something new for the area as well as for MIT-she is the first full-time female Episcopal chaplain at any Boston or Cambridge college or university. And MIT is a change for her as well, coming from a position as associate rector at Grace Church in Lawrence, Mass.
Some of her work there involved developing outreach programs for inner-city Hispanic youths, and few in her congregation had attended college. (She also worked part-time as the director of resources and development for the Episcopal City Mission in Boston). Compared to Lawrence, "the people I'm working with here are radically different," she said. "But in terms of the church's mission, it's similar. the church responds to the hunger people feel that they may not be defining as spiritual or explicitly religious."
Although this is her first position as a university chaplain, the Rev. Gould isn't new to campus ministry; she taught history at Phillips Andover and Milton Academy, and she filled in for a year as the Protestant chaplain at Andover. She lives on that campus with her two children and husband, who is a member of the faculty there.
One of the challenges facing the Rev. Gould is succeeding the Rev. Scott Paradise, who retired last summer after 16 years at the Institute. But it's a challenge she welcomes, since she shares his approach and is especially interested in issues of development, both urban and Third World. Those who knew and worked with the Rev. Paradise came to expect a chaplain who is "an articulate advocate for justice, and a questioner," she said.
From him, she also inherited his "techno-cross," a crucifix made from metal and a T-shaped circuit board from an old computer, and the directorship of the Technology and Culture Seminar. Under the Rev. Paradise, that program, for which she must seek funding in the wake of Institute budget reductions, emphasized issues including peacetime defense conversion, which has become "more mainstream" recently, she noted. The task is now to look to other areas of social, moral and political concern, finding "that edge that needs to be pushed," she said.
The Rev. Gould has already begun a new program in which a different MIT graduate comes to campus each month to discuss with students "how to balance scientific knowledge and technical talents with a faith commitment," she said. Her mission, as she sees it, is to promote the church's goals of "community and collaboration" to students at a place that encourages academic competition against each other-"to find ways to put themselves in partnership with those around them and around the globe," she said.
A version of this
article appeared in the
September 28, 1994
issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume