Wednesday, December 02, 2009

#savesotonchap The next stages

The diocese voted to remove funding for both the Chaplain and the Chaplaincy at the University of Southampton.

To be honest I feel betrayed. This actually hurts personally, as it says what the Diocese of Winchester feel about students. I quote Rev. Simon Stevens ( who was there to defend his job:

"There was then several people who responded. Everyone who stood spoke in favour of the retention of posts, and I had hope of success, but when a woman from Romsey deanery spoke about the fact that we were just going to 'have to pass' the budget I realised that it was going to be almost impossible to secure the funding for my post. Over coffee I overheard one person saying "There are 24,000 students and we're paying for them to have a chaplain, there are 22,000 people living in our deanery and we have 6 vicars and the students aren't paying a penny for one of them."

'Cock' I thought."

A lovely aquaintance, Rachel Hallam (who I hope one day to be better friends with) put it eloquently on the Facebook Group:

" Students should be subsidised by the adult church who have had a lifetime to earn money. We should be cherishing the students, young people and children." and "An earning individual should subsidise supply of religious leadership of those who don't work. Or should we make all those in sunday school leave the church until they can contribute. Pah"

Students are richer than they ever were, but with top up fees and mounting loans, they are still counting the pennies. I have recently moved from being a poor student to a graduate job. To be honest, the money is extremely exciting! Attending a church as an adult where they are building to provide better community facilities, I have been giving to my church regularly.

Students are supposed to become graduates with higher wages. By alienating them as student they are cutting a possible supply of future money. How shortsighted!

So now, feeling like we can't trust the diocese to stick to their word on finding alternative funding, a group of students and alumni have set up the University of Southampton Chaplaincy Trust and we're going to be lobbying the University to fully fund the chaplaincy, like the rest of UK universities do, approaching the Local Free Church Chaplaincy Council to put their half time chaplain money towards a full time Protestant chaplain, and convince the Cof E that if we can do at least some of this, they should let the chaplain's house remain.

We're willing to speak to any press person who's interested. We're going to protest. We're going to go on the road and talk to deaneries about what Chaplaincy means to us.

The diocese were supposed to contact us to let us know the results of the vote and what their next steps would be. The diocese were supposed to involve students in any discussion they were going to have with the University.

Not a word on any of them.

So we're taking matters in our own hands. We're setting up a bank account and people are pledging regular amounts. We're going to ring fence the money and make sure it can only be spent on a Protestant Chaplain at the Uni.

If you feel moved to pledge a regular amount, please go to:

and please please please keep forwarding on the petition:

We need support and prayers now more than ever.

Please write to the following people:

Vice Chancellor of Uni of Southampton Professor Don Nutbeam c/o Executive Officer: Andrew Wilson
University of Southampton
University Road
SO17 1BJ

Head of Student Services
Student Services Centre
George Thomas Building (37)
University of Southampton
University Road
SO17 1BJ

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