Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why the Southampton Chaplaincy is Important to Me

Why Chaplaincy is important to me:

The chaplaincy is like a glorified sixth form common room on campus where people of all faiths and none hang out together. It's the only working example of a Christian community I've come across. Gay, Straight, Jewish, Christian, Atheist and Pagan organise social events, support each other and live love throughout campus. When I say anyone is welcome, I mean anyone is welcome. Which is rare in a religious organisation.

When I was really depressed after a serious of personal crisis type events the Chaplain ended up inviting me to the chaplaincy for a cup of coffee after a chance meeting in the Union pub. I have debated politics, philosophy, religion, ethics and Star Wars long into the night.

There I found this amazing group of people who loved me and looked after me and helped me. One of the Chaplaincy Groupies as they're known sat up late with me into the night till 4am when I was going a bit manic. Others helped me deal with my demons about church leftover from an awful relationship by walking out of services with me, talking with me about why I couldn't face church. People cooked meals and brought flowers. Invited me out dancing and to the pub.

And when I became an active member of the community I did the same. It's the reality of Christian living. It's something I would want everyone to experience.

The chaplaincy raises money for local charities, has cooked breakfast for £1 for anyone who wants to come in and eat it during freshers week feeding hundreds of homesick new and old students. Simon, the Anglican chaplain has sat talking with me for three hours and tested me on my revision. I have met friends there that will last me a life time. I met my future husband there. I learnt the importance of social action there, about the Student Christian Movement.

The idea of this place not being there for other students horrifies me. All the people who don't feel like they fit in anywhere else seem to end up at Chaplaincy where they are welcomed in with open arms and included. People like me.

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