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2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT




2015 - 2016 1


2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT




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2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

INTRODUCTION As I write this opening paragraph and look at previous years opening lines, words like “What an incredible year of growth”, “What a wonderful year”, I can’t help but want to start this year’s annual report with a similar phrase. Instead, I will focus on some of our achievements this past year. The biggest highlight from the Faith & Spirituality Centre was the launch of our first annual Kaleidoscope Project. The development of the program was rooted in the reality and the work that the Faith & Spirituality Centre encounters on a daily basis: students need to be able to be their true authentic selves on campus and that this has been increasingly hard for them. We realized we needed to approach this from many angles: 1) Help change the climate on campus so that religion was not feared and could be openly discussed; 2) Provide skills to students who didn’t know how to support their friends and fellow students when they witnessed derogatory comments, looks and glares from fellow students and professors; and 3) Increase religious literacy for participants – so that the next time they encountered the “other” engagement wasn’t rooted in fear, but in curiosity. The friendships, the growth, development and religious understanding that took place with these students was nothing short of incredible. We are excited to welcome some of the students next year as project leaders, as volunteers in our centre and to continue to engage the community in real, sustainable change. We also celebrated the grand opening of our new multi-faith space to support spiritual wellness – the Vitruvian Space – in January 2016.



This almost 4,000 sq. ft space in the basement of the Dining Centre brings together students, staff and faculty to experience reflection, meditation and prayer. We also saw a lot of change in our centre and current multi-faith spaces with a grant from the SU Quality Money to renovate those spaces. We now have an incredible drop-in space in our centre that has seen a significant increase in students using the space, building connections and community, and learning from each other. Fostering community is a key part of who we are and we decided to launch our first annual interfaith dinner where we invited faith and secular based student club leaders and community members to a dinner where we talked about shared commitments, learned about the campus climate and built relationships with each other. We also saw an exciting move of support from the university with new positions in the centre. We now have a full-time manager, a program coordinator, a kaleidoscope project assistant, and will be hiring for new roles with a co-operative education student, as well as an education coordinator. We also continue to support strong student leadership opportunities with over 20 peer helpers this past year and also finalized and signed all of the Memorandums of Agreement with our chaplains.

2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

introduction to their tradition. We hope to use these resources to foster understanding and curiosity. We have also launched an online database for our library and members can view what we have, hold a book and receive notifications when it is due! We will also be re-vamping the Kaleidoscope Project to offer two Continuing Education courses in May and August of 2017 for the broader campus and Calgary community. We look forward to the continuing journey that lies ahead of us and are excited to have such great support staff, chaplains, student leaders and university support. We hope you all continue to walk with us as we foster positive change for pluralism on campus. Sincerely,

Adriana Tulissi, Manager, Faith & Spirituality Centre

Our departmental goals for the upcoming year are focused on sustainability, building a religiously pluralistic culture on campus, and assessment program. Some of the projects we will work on for the coming year include a student led video project called religious digs – where youth from various religious communities in Calgary lead viewers through a short video tour of different sacred spaces and a brief



2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

COLLABORATION The Faith & Spirituality Centre (FSC) had an exciting year collaborating and a commitment to achieving common goals. Collaboration is a value the FSC shares with the university as we

Relationship Seminar: The Pentecostal chaplain, along with counsellors from the SU

see the way it creates opportunities for shared experiences, learning and relationships.

Wellness Centre, hosted its annual weekend training (going for over 20 years!) on enhancing relationships and welcomed sixteen participants.

INTER/INTRA-FAITH INITIATIVES Roots of Resiliency: The Christian Reformed Chaplaincy provided Pearl Nieuwenhuis for a


joint SU Wellness Centre offering around resiliency and spiritual wellness.

We partnered with the Muslim Students’ Association to host the campus’ third annual World


Hijab Day, to raise awareness about religious observance and continue a broader conversation around freedom of choice and expression.

During this year’s UCalgaryStrong Festival, we provided a variety of activities for students, staff, faculty, and community members, including a labyrinth, rock painting, and a talking


circle hosted by the Christian Reformed and United/Presbyterian chaplaincies.

We started the school year with a new initiative, an annual Interfaith Dinner. We welcomed over 70 representatives from a variety of religious, spiritual, secular-humanist SU Student Clubs, our Faith and Spirituality Student Team (FASST), and community members to join together for a shared meal. The dinner provided an opportunity for communities to meet and connect with the Faith and Spirituality Centre and each other for interreligious collaboration and dialogue.

CHAPLAINCY EVENTS The Lutheran, Christian Reformed, Pentecostal, Catholic, United/Presbyterian, Baptist chaplains and Christian staff workers for SU Clubs, collaborated to offer an Opening of the Year Christian Worship Service in September, and a Christian Unity Worship Service in January. These events were places where students, staff, and faculty gathered and were welcomed by all these different partners.




2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

LEADERSHIP The Faith & Spirituality Centre (FSC) is a place where students come together in community,

religious literacy and anti-oppression training.

in practice and in learning. Part of that process involves tapping into the talents of many

Following the success of the Interfaith Dinner in September, FASST connected with the

of our chaplains who embody the gifts of mentoring, leadership, companionship and

Ahmadiyya Students’ Association to host a tour and dinner at the Baitun Nur mosque in NE

rootedness. The FSC also provides opportunities to engage in critical thinking by exploring

Calgary. They welcomed over 30 students for the event which helped bridge communities and

the relationship of religion and spirituality in the public sphere, interreligious and intercultural

foster religious literacy.

dialogue and cooperation and how we can build global citizens and leaders to create a better world for all.



Students who volunteer over 20 hours during the year in leadership roles across campus receive co-curricular credit for their work through the university’s Peer Helper Program. In

Pearl Nieuwenhuis supported numerous students in conversations around their rootedness

addition to the Faith & Spirituality Student Team, our Pentecostal, United/Presbyterian,

and how that equips resiliency. These conversations happen regularly as a part of her

Lutheran, and Christian Reformed chaplains supported student leaders within their

Spiritual Direction practice.

chaplaincies to support their communities on campus. We provided training and social

The United/Presbyterian chaplaincy continued to sponsor the SU Club “Student Rhythms”,

opportunities for the leaders and a volunteer appreciation party at the end of the school year

which with their team, offers weekly drum circles. Members of Student Rhythms received

to congratulate and celebrate all the great work the students did over the year.

training in Drum Circle facilitation. •

The United/Presbyterian and Lutheran chaplaincies partnered to offer a new student leadership opportunity called the Peer Partnership Program. A collaboration working with congregations within their denominations and intentional seminars with clergy in the city to support students exploring their faith.

Many students stepped up this year to provide leadership in direction of student prayer, leadership in worship, hospitality and administration with the Pentecostal chaplaincy. Four students engaged in a formal way to receive co-curricular credit.

The Catholic chaplaincy continues to support and nurture Catholic student leaders involved with Catholic Christian Outreach and University of Calgary Catholic Community to lead and organize faith studies, retreats, worship events, prayer groups, Bible discussions and Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults.

FAITH & SPIRITUALITY STUDENT TEAM The Faith & Spirituality Student Team – a group of student leaders through the university’s Peer Helper Program - continued into its fourth year and was a great presence and support throughout the year. FASST hosted weekly tea time on Fridays to create a welcoming atmosphere in the renovated communal space in the centre, facilitated events during Sexual and Gender Wellness Week and Pluralism and Religious Diversity Week, and participated in



2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

COMMUNITY The Faith & Spirituality Centre is a place where students, staff, and faculty come together in community and to form community. Gatherings with each other that foster sharing, connectedness, dialogue, and reflection creates an atmosphere of trust, growth, and connection.


The Christian Reformed chaplaincy extended their reach within the campus community, while also supporting our centre’s initiatives. Paul collaborated with the Department of Classics and Religion and the Faculty of Arts to present lectures for and in religious studies classes, co-led and supported the Kaleidoscope Project, mentored 4 student leaders, and offered regular social events for students. Pearl expanded her availability for spiritual direction by offering hours at the Women’s Resource Centre alongside her time at the Faith & Spirituality Centre. Pearl also presented on resiliency and mental health in collaboration with the SU Wellness Centre, supported students to explore their rootedness, and co-led the “Women’s Circle”, a safe space for women to discuss issues of life and spirituality, with the Lutheran and United/Presbyterian chaplaincies.

The United/Presbyterian chaplaincy collaborated with other chaplains and with the Dance Department to offer two Labyrinth experiences during each exam period. The chaplaincy in cooperation with the Lutheran chaplaincy also continued to offer weekly drum circles followed by “A Simple Supper” and talking circle where students shared their life experiences and learned to tell their stories.

The Lutheran chaplain Margaret worked alongside the United/Presbyterian chaplaincy to provide a Contemplative Worship Service once a month, collaborated with the United/Presbyterian peer facilitator and Christian Reformed Chaplain to offer a women’s circle twice a month.

The Lutheran chaplaincy also hosted an annual retreat alongside all of the Lutheran campus ministries in Western Canada. They gathered at Sylvan Lake and welcomed Christian Chavarria from El Salvador where he shared his story as a survivor of the massacres in El Salvador and his journey to become a religious artist.

The Lutheran and United/Presbyterian chaplaincies continued to offer monthly BBQs over the summer to gather students in community and fellowship.

The Lutheran and United/Presbyterian chaplaincies welcomed Elder Casey Eaglespeaker as he hosted a sweat lodge in Calgary for students and the community.



Our Pentecostal chaplain, Kelly hit a ministry milestone this year as he reached 20 years at

2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

Fayaz continued meeting with 20-25 students and families per week and provided the Faith

the university and continued his work on campus to support students, staff, and faculty. Kelly

& Spirituality invaluable support and consultation to Muslim students through ensuring they

continues to work with the Cumming School of Medicine to support the bi-annual service for

have adequate space and facilities to offer prayers individually and in congregation.

those who donated their bodies to science. He assisted two first year students in the Emerg-

The Sikh student representatives Vishi and Harleen kept fairly regular office hours support-

ing Leaders Program, provided leadership opportunities to nine students, and took another

ing students and were both involved in hosting events with Sikh Students’ Association such

team of 15 in February to the Dominican Republic where students from different faith back-

as Simran and discussion, Diwali Night, Why Guru course, and were involved in planning Sikh

grounds served in tangible ways through this service learning trip. Additionally, Kelly moder-

Awareness Week and helped host a table at the Interfaith Club Dinner.

ated a UReason Conference event in Fall 2015, participated in the Sexual & Gender Wellness Week panel called “Sex and Faith” with our Muslim chaplain Fayaz Tilly and Dr. Harjot Singh,


a community Sikh representative, and continued with the ministry’s Home Away from Home •

program, which now has over 200 students and 100 families participating.

The Faith & Spirituality Centre hosted its annual ice cream giveaway on the first day of

The Anglican chaplaincy worked closely with the Lutheran and United/Presbyterian chaplain-

classes to welcome students to campus and kick-off the year handing out over 1200 scoops

cies to offer A Simple Supper and with the Lutheran chaplaincy to offer a weekly joint Com-

of ice cream and hosted its Open House on the last day of the Fall semester to celebrate the

munion service.

semester in a fun and communal way!

The Catholic chaplaincy provided daily prayer service and Mass for students, staff and faculty. Father Minh also offered sacraments, particularly anointing the sick to family members of students, staff and faculty and offered confession when needed. Father Minh offered spiritual direction and advice to students, staff, and faculty. The Catholic chaplaincy also provided social activities for students such as outings, hiking, lunch and cook outs, BBQ, and community services to foster community and connection especially to Catholic international students.

The Buddhist (Zen) chaplaincy focused almost all efforts towards offering practice opportunities to the university community. These included two periods of “Meditation for beginners” each week typically during lunch hours. As the name suggests, new-comers to meditation practice were welcomed and instruction was available if requested. Often these would be attended by regulars who then would simply share the opportunity to sit together. Once a month, a women’s meditation session was also available. Every Tuesday evening, we offered a more complete Zen practice opportunity. These sessions included chanting, bowing, meditation (sitting and walking) and either a presentation or discussion on various aspects of Zen and Zen practice. These too were available and accommodating to first-time visitors.

The Baptist chaplaincy continued to host the Equation and a men’s group on a weekly basis. This helped support student faith development, accountability and fellowship.

The Baptist chaplaincy participated in the university’s Trick or Eat event collecting non-perishable food items for the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank. The Baptist chaplaincy continued to foster community through food and friendship.

The Muslim (Sunni) chaplaincy supported and attended many events hosted by the Muslim Students’ Association such as the Iftar Dinner, welcome back and year end dinner, Muslim student orientation, and Islamic Awareness week.




2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

Each day of the program focused on one religious community: Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam. For each religious community, the students heard an introductory lecture given by a leader and then visited local sites associated with that community. Over the week, the group visited 12 sacred sites, exploring the diversity even within each faith. Meals together also played an important part in experiencing different cultures. Students sometimes ate meals seated on the floor, shared common plates familystyle, or ate with their hands.

Religious pluralism involves moving beyond the acknowledgement of differences to understanding, action & respect. The Faith & Spirituality Centre is committed to developing

The students explored recent case studies where religious practice intersected with the

global and cross cultural competencies and increasing the diversity of our campus

public sphere. What are some of the perspectives around having a Sikh kirpan worn in a

community. As part of an institution of higher learning, the Faith & Spirituality Centre actively

junior high school? Who might be invested in a decision to allow the Muslim Call to Prayer to

works with academic units to encourage greater understanding and awareness of cultural and

be projected in a small, historically Polish Catholic town? Should the government be allowed

religious difference in the context of an inclusive and pluralistic campus open to engaging all

to force a blood transfusion to be given to a young girl whose religious devotion makes her


unwilling to receive it?


As part of a research project approved by the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board, students completed the Intercultural Development Inventory. Results showed that

The Faith & Spirituality Centre is very excited to have received Quality Money from the

participation in co-curricular programs such as this demonstrate an increase in cultural

Students’ Union to start an Interreligious & Intercultural Diversity Program on campus from

competence, increased knowledge and understanding of diversity, as well as enhancing

2014-2017 called the Kaleidoscope Project.

intercultural engagement skills.

The Kaleidoscope project envisions a more pluralistic and inclusive campus community and


invites students to engage in learning, conversation and action with others who may have a different background or viewpoint. Through conversation and action we can begin to build a

In March we collaborated with the Q Centre to bring the #ItGetsBitter Tour to Calgary.

more engaged and diverse community on campus and in Calgary – a community that works

DarkMatter is a trans South Asian duo who perform a hybrid mixture of art and activism,

together, regardless of religious tradition, spirituality, culture, identity, sexual orientation,

poetry and polemic, giggles and gasps. This evening of poetry, politics, and healing was well

gender, and personal or political views.

received by students, faculty, and community members. The event offered an opportunity for dialogue, critical thinking, and imagining new ways of being and resisting together.

Kaleidoscope Project welcomed 16 students during its first year from a variety of academic programs, including business, nursing, social work, kinesiology, and astrophysics. As an immersion program that took place during the 2016 Reading Break, the students of Kaleidoscope took part in diverse religious practices, engaged in interreligious dialogue, and reflected on Kaleidoscope’s vision of cultivating a more inclusive and pluralistic campus community through the development of religious literacy. Students learned from members of different religious traditions about their daily practices, history, beliefs, and customs.



2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT



The Faith & Spirituality Centre was pleased to offer its third annual Pluralism and Religious

The FSC was very excited to open the doors to an almost 4,000 sq ft multi-faith

Diversity Week. This year’s week focused on opportunities for learning, engagement, and

space to support spiritual wellness on campus in January 2016 in the basement


of the Dining Centre, called the Vitruvian Space. With four multi-purpose rooms, yoga mats, yoga cushions, prayer mats and ablution stations ready for campus

We continued to host a series of events, activities and discussions related to fostering a

use, the space is the only truly quiet place on campus designed for meditation,

pluralistic campus community. A group of students compiled a great video on “What does

reflection and prayer. We are very thankful to the University of Calgary for

pluralism mean to you?”. We partnered with the Centre for Community-Engaged Learning,

supporting the renovation to make this happen! Read more here.

International Student Services, and Hillel Calgary to provide Mitzvah Day! ‘Mitzvah’ is a Hebrew for commandment, good deed done or act of human kindness. Inspired by the idea of service, students, staff, faculty, and community members made 500 sandwiches for the Calgary Drop-In


Centre and entered a discussion about what “service” means to many religious communities. Our Program Coordinator Sabrina Islam and our Kaleidoscope Project Assistant Syd Erais

The Community of Practice (CoP) continued to connect over the past year and

hosted Queer(y)ing Faith. It was an evening of listening to personal stories and experiences of

created a lot of momentum after our in-person strategic planning meeting in June

LGBTQAI+ people and their relation to a faith community and discussion around the navigating

2015 and after launching our CoP at CACUSS in Vancouver. The CoP highlighted

of faith and queer identities.

some key deliverables over the next while such as compiling resources, expanding membership and working on emphasizing the importance of supporting

Supported by funding from the Office of Diversity, Equity & Protected Discloser, we hosted our

religiously diverse experiences on campuses.

first performance night. Emceed by SU VP Student Life representative Kristy McGowan, we welcomed over 30 talented students incorporate elements of spirituality with lived experiences as they performed spoken word, poetry, music, and dance! We had wonderful contributions from a variety of spiritual backgrounds and thank those students for participating.

TRAINING & WORKSHOPS Over the past year the Faith & Spirituality Centre offered a variety of training and workshops for students, staff, and faculty. Our program coordinator worked with the Women’s Resource Centre to present Anti-Oppression Training to the Peer Helper volunteers of the Women’s Resource Centre, Q Centre, and the Faith and Spirituality Centre. Workshops like “Each 1 Teach 1: Navigating Relationships, Sexual Identity, and Faith in Canada”, “Surviving Canada”, and “Engaging in Courageous Conversations” were also made available for students, staff, and community members to participate in, engage with, and/or develop new intercultural skills.




2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

TEAM PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Both of our Sikh Student Representatives (Vishavdeep Singh Warring and Harleen Kaur Virk) completed Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.


SU Wellness Centre Social Committee – Paul Verhoef

Student & Enrolment Services Leadership Council – Adriana Tulissi

Interfaith Council of Calgary – Adriana Tulissi

Spirituality & Religious Pluralism Community of Practice with CACUSS – Adriana Tulissi

Diversity & Equity Network – Adriana Tulissi


We are very excited to have celebrated Kelly Johnson’s 20th anniversary as a chaplain here on campus. Congratulations!

We welcomed Vishavdeep Singh Warring and Harleen Kaur Virk as Sikh Student Representative

Kelly Johnson received an “Oh My Gosh” What Would We Do Without You? Award, from Student & Enrolment Services.

Adriana Tulissi received a U Make A Difference award from the University of Calgary.

Photo opposite page. FSC Team: (L to R): Back: Kelly Johnson (Christian – Pentecostal chaplain), Paul Verhoef (Christian – Christian Reformed chaplain), Fayaz Tilly (Muslim – Sunni chaplain), Pearl Nieuwenhuis (Christian – Christian Reformed chaplain), Minh Doan (Christian – Catholic chaplain), Sabrina Islam (Program Coordinator), Jordan Lyons (student leader with Pentecostal chaplaincy), Robert Massey (staff with United/Presbyterian chaplaincy) Middle: Vishi Warring (Sikh Student Representative), Margaret Propp (Christian – Lutheran chaplain), Zoë Say (staff with United/Presbyterian chaplaincy), Syd Erais (Kaleidoscope Project Assistant), Nicole Bowal (student leader with Christian Reformed chaplaincy), Daniel Mok (student leader with Pentecostal chaplaincy) Front: Adriana Tulissi (Manager), Theresa Kenney (Team Organizer, FASST), Ryan Hofer (student leader with United/ Presbyterian chaplaincy), Tim Nethercott (Christian - United/Presbyterian chaplain), Jef Tsui (Christian – Baptist chaplain) Missing: Roy Darcus (Christian – Anglican chaplain), Harleen Kaur (Sikh Student Representative) 21


2015 - 2016 ANNUAL REPORT



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2015-2016 Faith & Spirituality Centre Annual Report  

2015-2016 Faith & Spirituality Centre Annual Report  

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