Tell us about the Chaplaincy team
The Chaplaincy is made up of three staff members and a number of volunteers and faith advisors. We’re based at No. 41 University Road, where the doors are open from 09:00 to 16:30 each week day in term time.
Most people come simply to work, chill out or drink tea.
We also offer a listening ear one step removed from the University if you need to talk. Sister Valentina and Virginia are Catholic Sisters while I’m an ordained minister within the Baptist church.
We have a wide experience of life in different cultures and contexts and have all been through appropriate training within our traditions. We are not employed by the University but are offered as a ‘gift’ from the churches.
How do you cater for all faiths and none?
While all the chaplains come from a Christian faith tradition, we cater for people of all faiths and none. We have a number of faith advisors from the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist faith traditions and are hoping to recruit a Humanist faith advisor in due course.
Once a term we bring the presidents of the faith societies and the faith advisors together at the Chaplaincy to share in a meal and conversation.
It’s great to see people of different faith traditions happily come together, when in so many parts of the world difference seems to lead to conflict.
The Chaplaincy is also a sponsor of the yearly interfaith week in November, which brings together the different faith traditions in joint activities such as a peace walk. We run weekly events, such as pasta night and the soup lunch, which are open to people of all faiths and none. Many people who come and need to talk are not worried about a label; they simply appreciate being listened to and accepted for who they are.
What does your team enjoy most about its work?
Working across different traditions, being available to listen to people, cooking and hospitality!
What are the biggest misconceptions about your team?
One misunderstanding is that you have to have a problem to come to the Chaplaincy. While we do offer a listening ear to people with problems, most people using the Chaplaincy simply use it as a space to chill out, work or simply be.