Spiritual & Mental Health

Student Chaplains

Name: Chris Allaun (He, him, his)
Contact: [email protected]
Program, Concentration: MDiv
Religious Affiliation/Spiritual Orientation: Pagan, Indigenous, Earth-based, Inter-religious 

Approach to Spiritual Care: My approach to spiritual care is that I approach each person with an open heart and an open mind. We all come from different backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences and each of these things is sacred. I connect to each person through how they connect to the divine. This individual connection gives spiritual meaning to us and should be celebrated. 

More about Me: I am a second year MDiv student at CTS. I am an ordained minister with The Fellowship of the Phoenix, a Queer spiritual/pagan church in Chicago. I am also a massage therapist, Lakota pipe carrier, and energy healer.


Staff Support

Name: Ms. Rachel Payden

Contact: [email protected]

Program, Concentration: BA ’06 in Theatre Arts (IWU); MDiv ’20 with a Concentration in Chaplaincy Studies (CTS)

Religious Affiliation/Spiritual Orientation: Rooted in and a current Member in Discernment (MID) with the United Church of Christ (UCC) Christian tradition; committed to lifelong learning to experience how people make meaning and form relationships through both religious and non-religious guidance, story-sharing, and embodied practice.

Approach to Spiritual Care:
Full presence. Attentive listening. Respectful curiosity. Compassionate response. A reminder that none of us journey alone.

More about Me: As of Fall 2022, I am grateful to be reconnecting with the CTS community in the role of Manager of Student Formation and Community Engagement. It excites me to have the opportunity to work directly with students through their course of study here. I have particular interests in person-centered care, nonviolent communication, and building connection through creative arts engagement

Name: Minister Deneen Y Collins (she/her/hers)
Program, Concentration: MDiv ‘16
Religious Affiliation/Spiritual Orientation: UCC
Contact: [email protected]

Approach to Spiritual Care: My approach to spiritual care is to listen intently with a compassionate heart, connect them with the divine and serve without expecting anything in return. Additionally, I believe one of the best strategies for spiritual care is the ministry of presences. The power of presence can be a source of strength and comfort to a person who is hurting.

More about Me: I am the Assistant Director of Recruitment and Pastoral Counselor at CTS.


Spiritual Care & Mental Health Resources Handbook

Below you will find the CTS Spiritual Care & Mental Health Resources handbook. Theological education demands a great deal of its students – mentally and spiritually as well as intellectually. This community strives to provide the care and support that each of us needs as we confront matters of faith, theology, ethics, ministry, scholarship and vocation. However, CTS’ ability to attend to the needs of each individual is far outpaced by our wide-ranging diversity.

Recognizing that we cannot meet every need that emerges, we have gathered together a list of community resources to compliment and expand upon the support systems in place at the seminary.

Looking for a local church community? Check out the “Congregations and Clergy” section. Believe you would benefit from pastoral counseling? There is a list of organizations and individuals to get you started. Need a mental/physical/spiritual break? Consider taking a weekend to visit one of the locations listed in the Retreat section.

We hope you will let us know what resources prove most helpful, and what others we have left out. We will continue to refine and update the handbook in an effort to reflect the interests and feedback of the community.

Here are the list of sections to help you get started:

Area Congregations & Clergy • Spiritual Direction & Pastoral Counseling Resources • Other Low-Cost Counseling Centers • Individual Pastoral Counselors Serving CTS Students • Spiritual Directors • Retreat Centers • Psychologists/Psychotherapists • Domestic & Sexual Violence Resources • Addiction Support Services

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