2020 Annual Meeting

Your AAR staff continues to work toward holding the Annual Meeting in Boston, Nov. 21-24, 2020. We are aware of the uncertainty and contradictory projections related to the COVID-19 pandemic and with health and safety as a priority, we will continue monitoring the guidance of governments and health experts as we plan and make decisions. Should any changes need to be made related to the 2020 Annual Meeting, we will promptly notify you.

2020 Regional Meetings

Open Registration:

All remaining regional meetings for 2020 have been canceled

Chaplaincy Program: Overview

AAR-CERP Annual Chaplaincy Conference

Governmental Chaplaincy and Religious Diversity (G-CARD): Toward Best Practices

Dancers at Fall Powwow

The American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism (CERP) cosponsor G-CARD training for senior officials who oversee chaplaincy in governmental institutions, including statewide and federal prison chaplaincy directors, senior military chaplains, and those who oversee military chaplaincy endorsements. The training focuses on religions in all their diversity, especially on religions that tend to be less familiar. The conference also provides updates on the law affecting chaplaincy, as well as opportunities for attendees to share best practices across jurisdictions.

Jewish Chaplain Iraq

Since 2004, G-CARD training has been offered to state and federal correctional institution chaplaincy directors. In 2015, we began to offer programming specifically focused on military chaplaincy, along with our usual programming focused on chaplaincy in correctional settings. Trainings generally take place Friday afternoon and all day Saturday of the conference, which is held in various cities in the United States. In 2019, the conference is in San Diego, CA, November 23–26. There is no fee or membership requirement to attend. AAR Annual Conference hotel discounts are available to attendees.

Sikh Soldier

The session topics vary from year to year, based on the needs of those expressing interest in attending. Always included is a basic primer on understanding the legal issues involved in providing religious accommodation and the chaplain’s role in ensuring such accommodation takes place—including an update on recent court decisions. Most of the rest of the program consists of sessions with leading religious studies experts on religious groups the attendees have encountered, but whose practices may not be familiar. In the sessions, attendees learn about adherents’ beliefs, ritual objects, worship space, garments, holidays, literature, dietary or grooming restrictions, and more. Most sessions are about an hour and a half in length and include lots of time for participants’ questions and discussion. Session time is allotted to best practices discussions among the attendees about various religions on topics such as accommodation of religious attire and artifacts/items, diet, and communal rituals, security threat groups or accommodating chaplains’ religious rights. After consulting those interested in attending, a specific agenda is posted on the AAR website in early-to-mid October.

Man Behind BarsOver the years, more than 30 leading religion scholars and chaplaincy directors from 26 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have participated. Although the sessions’ content is based on academic scholarship, the language used is geared toward anyone, regardless of what post-secondary education an attendee may or may not have. The sessions have received considerable praise from previous G‑CARD participants. Here is a description of the Sponsors and Presiders for 2018.


2019 Overall Chaplaincy Conference Schedule



San Diego 2019 AAR-CERP Chaplaincy Conference Schedule

Friday, November 22nd



Afternoon Sessions

1:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Moral Injury and Identities in Crisis

Zachary Moon, Chicago Theological Seminary


Orthodox Christianity: History & Practices

Cyril Hovorum


Interfaith Leadership & Legal Trends

Barbara A. McGraw




Evening Hosted Drinks

7:00 p.m.

Location TBD

All Attendees




Saturday, November 23rd



Morning  Sessions

8:00 a.m. - 11:25 a.m.


Todd Green


Kemetic Religion: History & Practices

Salim Faraji

Lunch Together - Not Hosted

11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Location TBD





Afternoon Sessions


Understanding the Differences between Racism, Bias, Discrimination, and Racial Prejudice

Gaston Espinosa



Vasudha Narayanan


Closing Thoughts & Attendee Main Take-Aways Discussion

Barbara A. McGraw




Saturday Evening Program


Formation and Training in Contemporary Spiritual Care

Chaplaincy Innovation Lab Inaugural Session. Location: Hilton Bayfront-Indigo



On Our Own



Sunday through Tuesday noon: Regular AAR sessions are available to you with your free membership, as well as the book display, which is the largest on religion in the U.S.

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