Thursday, November 19, 2009

Petition Against the Closing of the Chaplaincy at the University of Southampton and the removal of the Anglican Chaplain

If you have trouble viewing or submitting this form, you can fill it out online:

Petition Against the Closing of the Chaplaincy at the University of Southampton and the removal of the Anglican Chaplain

If the latest Budget is passed by the Dioceasan Synod (the council that runs the CofE in the Winchester area) all ministry that is not Parish ministry will be cut to help decrease the deficit. This will see the following posts being abolished:

1. Chaplain to the Deaf
2. Chaplain to the University of Southampton
3. Chaplain to Southampton Solent University
4. Chaplain to FE Colleges in Bournemouth and Poole.

We would like to express our objection to this motion in the budget. Whilst we cannot comment on the ministry of 1, 3 and 4, cutting the Chaplin to the University of Southampton will do the following:

1. Make the Reverend Simon Stevens redundant and homeless with a young family of a wife and three small children. We consider this a highly un-Christian thing for the church to do, and
indeed unacceptable by any moral compass.
2. Make the University of Southampton, a prestigious and large university one of two universities in the country without an Anglican Chaplain(the other being Southampton Solent university.
3. Have serious ramifications on the provision of any Chaplaincy on the University of Southampton grounds as the Anglican community provides the largest part of the financial backing.
4. If Chaplaincy leaves the University, important links and relationships will be lost. It would be hard for the Chaplaincy to return to the University at this level.

The work of the Chaplain and the Chaplaincy are inseparable. The Chaplain has saved many lives directly and indirectly, has brought many people to new, renewed or strengthened faith though his work, and the chaplaincy work, which has come about because of his ministry. There have been thousands of students on campus today touched by the work of the Chaplain and/or Chaplaincy, who otherwise would have no contact with the church, and may have had no where to go for support. There are many more Alumni who have know this, and we would hope, many future students who could be similarly touched

The end of the Ecumenical Chaplaincy at the University of Southampton would see the end of a vibrant and growing ministry amongst students at the University. The following groups would be without a suitable venue for various activities:
The Christian Union
The Student Christian Movement
The Jewish Society
The Catholic Society

The Chaplaincy is used by a large community of students of all faiths and none as a safe space on campus and as a a venue for social events. On any given day during term time, students can be found working and socialising the Chaplaincy or using the services of the Chaplains such as bible studies and confidential conversations on spiritual and emotional matters. Vulnerable students are often referred to the Chaplaincy as the Chaplaincy community is a welcoming space for them. In recent years user groups have had to find alternative venues for large meetings as the community has grown through the work of Rev. Stevens and the other Chaplains. Perhaps more prevision for the Chaplaincy should be being sought not less!

We recognise that in these tough times a compromise needs to be met. Suggestions include
merging the Southampton and Solent Chaplains Roles
making the Role of Chaplain part - time
merging the currently vacant Free Church Chaplain role with the Anglican role to make a single Protestant Chaplain.

Please sign your full name and leave your email address if you would like to express your support for the Chaplaincy at the University of Southampton.

Posted via email from Alex E Jones

No comments: