Rev Dr Fiona Douglas, University Chaplain, introduces us to a series of blog items from our Chaplaincy Team.

The Chaplaincy is very much ‘open’ at the moment, although virtually of course. I am sorry we haven’t, as yet, worked out how to offer our Coffee Bar’s famous soup  through the wonders of Microsoft teams or Zoom!

The world has changed so much since students and staff met together. Since then, the whole University community have been finding new ways of studying, working and connecting, many of which were unimaginable only a few months ago. This continues to be the case as we make plans for the time ahead.

As a Chaplaincy, we have been  connecting with people across the University and we have noticed real acts of kindness, creativity and hope.  We have also walked alongside people going through darkness, struggle and grief. Whatever the experience, it is our privilege and our wish to be there too. All our support services have been working hard to ensure that everyone’s wellbeing – physical, mental, emotional as well as spiritual – is looked after at this uncertain time. Many too, are making difficult decisions to protect and enrich the experience of all of us who study and work here. As a community we may feel separated in lockdown, but are still connected in so many ways. Maintaining this connection, even after lockdown, is so important. This is the aim of this Chaplaincy blog: we will share stories, reflections and news that will hopefully lift our spirits and keep us feeling very much part of this community.Who are we and what do we do?

The Chaplaincy is a resource for all students and staff. We are inclusive: whatever you believe, whoever you are, whatever your background, whoever you love, whatever your doubts or your questions, wherever you are in the world.  Whoever you are, you are welcome. We have a team of Chaplains from different faith and belief traditions. You do not have to have a spiritual crisis or be religious to speak to a Chaplain: we are practiced listeners and have a wealth of experience in supporting people through relationship, work and study difficulties, spiritual and vocational issues. If we are unable to help, we often know who can. You can speak to any one of us.

To all of you, we offer our prayers from a plethora of traditions, and we urge you to connect – both with us and with one another.