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2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

2013 - 2014 faith & spirituality centre

annual report




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Introduction Collaboration Leadership Community excellence Professional Development Growth Team

2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

Introduction As we wrap up the academic year for 2013-14 and look back on the wonderful year we had, the word “reflection” seems appropriate. The chaplains spent the academic year reflecting on who they are as individual chaplaincies, who they are communally, and how they connect to the wider campus and community. We are still finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding with the chaplaincies and the university and are very excited about the new ways to engage and will continue to enhance the existing programs and supports we offer. This year’s Annual Report incorporates the University of Calgary’s “Eyes High Strategy” and “Academic Plan”. Concepts such as “collaboration”, “leadership”, “community” and “excellence” are highlighted throughout this report to show that the Faith & Spirituality Centre (FSC) values and supports the vision and values of the university community it is a part of. Some highlights from the past year include our collaboration with the Department of Religious Studies to host Religious Literacy, Diversity & Transformation Week by hosting Chris Stedman, an interfaith and social justice activist. We were also part of a collaborative effort called the Communal Table Project (CTP) – an opportunity for students to come together around food, by learning basic cooking skills, eating together and learning about food culture, sustainability and justice. Additionally, we continued to host a variety of weekly events to support students in their spiritual journeys, create community and help students feel welcomed and included as they navigate their academic lives on campus. We were also involved in developing student leaders by participating in the Leadership & Student Engagement Office’s Peer Helper Program, fostering leadership and engagement opportunities with our Student Leaders with our various chaplaincies and the growth of our Faith & Spirituality Student Team (FASST). Through our events and programs, we continue to refine and explore who we are and what we do. The chaplains have committed to intentionally working together to offer something for students on campus and we were fortunate to receive Quality Money from the Students’ Union to launch an Interreligious & Intercultural Diversity Program for three years beginning in Fall 2014.



Some goals for 2014-2015 are: • Hiring a cooperative education student to research, recommend and implement an Interreligious & Intercultural Diversity program out of our centre • Strengthening our involvement in developing and supporting student leaders with the Faith & Spirituality Student Team and Chaplaincy Student Leaders • Continuing to support the campus community with weekly offerings and special events such as the Ice Cream Giveaway, Ten Thousand Villages Fair Trade Sale and Open House • Engaging the chaplains regularly to plan and develop intentional programming together I would like to thank the chaplains and the communities who support them for their support during the Brentwood tragedy. The chaplains were – as they always are – available immediately as they supported students, staff and faculty during this time of crisis. Whether simply being present with members of our community, sharing supportive and calming words at the memorial or providing in person or over the phone support when the SU Wellness Centre was open 24-7, the chaplains have been, and will continue to be, a critical component to supporting student wellbeing on campus. I am truly thankful to work with such a compassionate group of people who are so caring and know that their presence and their gifts of listening and walking with people through their journeys of healing are an integral part of why the chaplains are here. On behalf of the University of Calgary, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the chaplains, their supportive communities and the Multi-Faith Advisory Council for their continued commitment to providing an open, supportive and challenging place for students to feel welcomed, heard and cared for. Sincerely,

Adriana Tulissi, Community Engagement Manager SU Wellness Centre


2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

Collaboration Collaboration is a core value of the FSC. Through many initiatives over the past year, we see the way it creates opportunities for shared experiences, learning and relationships.

Communal Table Project ▶▶ The Communal Table Project (CTP) began Fall 2012 with the dual mandate to empower students with basic cooking skills while fostering a sense of community and connection. The program hosted seven meals this past year with an average of 34 students attending each meal, bringing support from across campus. Students prepared a meal together, ate the meal together and learned about a variety of topics ranging from how to cook healthy meals to using local, fresh ingredients to deepening cultural understanding through international cuisine. We are grateful for the support for the CTP which came from faculty and staff from the Department of Communication and Culture, the Centre for CommunityEngaged Learning, the Faith & Spirituality Centre and Meetings & Special Events. ▶▶ The CTP hosted many local speakers including Jerremie Clyde (an urban farmer) and Tony & Penny Marshall from Highwood Crossing Farms and international author and speaker Dr. Will Tuttle. Our outreach on campus continues to grow and we are very thankful for the financial and in-kind donations from Students’ Union Quality Money and Meetings & Special Events. ▶▶ We welcomed three student leaders with the Peer Helper program: Jamie, MJ and Nuri. These students helped the program run successfully throughout the year and brought lots of great energy and ideas. We have hired two Peer Helpers for next year and look forward in seeing how the program will continue to expand.

Inter/Intra-faith initiatives ▶▶ World Hijab Day – January 31 •• We kicked off the winter semester with a partnership with the Muslim Students’ Association to host the campus’ first World Hijab Day, raising awareness about religious observance and a broader conversation around about freedom of choice and expression.



▶▶ Spirit of Social Change – March 13 •• The Faith & Spirituality Student Team (FASST) partnered with the Couchiching Institute for Public Affairs with their youth led national conversation series “The Spirit of Social Change”. The students hosted a roundtable conversation encouraging students from all backgrounds and perspectives to share how their religion/spirituality/viewpoint affects and influences their activism and engagement in social justice. ▶▶ Weekly Interfaith Meetings •• FAAST hosted weekly interfaith group meetings and led a diverse group of students through two book studies: Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation and Chris Stedman’s Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious. ▶▶ Chaplaincy Events •• Our Lutheran chaplain collaborated with the United/Presbyterian and Anglican chaplains to offer weekly communion services. •• Many different Christian communities at UCalgary – everything from IVCF, Navs, Power to Change, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Catholic Community, Korean Campus Ministry, Staff Bible Study, Graduate Christian Fellowship – came together for gatherings of prayer, praise and reflection. They started the year off with an Academic Year Opening service of Prayer and Praise. In January, they celebrated ‘The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ with another similar gathering. After the tragegies on April 15, they had another one – ‘Jesus Wept: mourning with those who mourn’ – as a time to gather distinctly as Christians (there were other public gatherings too) to pray together, to mourn together, to find ways to share the burden and express care and name God as God in the midst of the storm.

Relationship Seminar ▶▶ The Pentecostal and Lutheran chaplains, alongside with counsellors from the SU Wellness Centre, hosted their annual weekend training on enhancing relationships and welcomed 32 participants.

Bermuda Shorts Day (BSD) hydration station ▶▶ The Pentecostal chaplaincy led a hydration station during BSD with support from Student & Enrolment Services, Residence and Ancillary Services and the SU Wellness Centre as they supported students with water and food during the year-end celebration.


2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

Craigie Lectures ▶▶ Our Christian Reformed chaplain Paul Verhoef sits on the Cragie Lectures committee and is able to provide input for the Craigie Lecture series, an annual lecture on ‘religion as engagement with life.’ This year, Dr. Peter Falk came as the lecturer to talk about the Dead Sea Scrolls and how the community at that time saw their religious practices as encompassing all of life. Next year we will welcome speaker John Stackhouse from Regent College.

Chair of Christian Thought Lectures ▶▶ Paul Verhoef also sits on the committee for the Chair of Christian Thought out of the Department of Religious Studies, which brings four annual lectures to Calgary. Visit the Department’s YouTube channel: for recorded lectures.



LEADERSHIP The FSC is a place where students come together in community, in practice and in learning. Part of that process involves tapping into the talents of many of our chaplains who embody the gifts of mentoring, leadership, companionship and rootedness.

Student Leaders and Student Retreats ▶▶ The Pentecostal chaplaincy led eight student leaders who took on extra responsibilities in worship music, 30 Hour Famine and Home Away From Home program leadership. The students also helped initiate a program which will see the chaplaincy connecting more with aboriginal communities and forming relationships with the Stoney Indians in Eden Valley. ▶▶ The Lutheran chaplaincy led a young adults retreat with five other Lutheran campus ministry groups at Sylvan Lake. ▶▶ The Catholic chaplaincy, giving direction and guidance to Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) staff and the University of Calgary Catholic Community (UCCC), helped in organizing, planning and leading activities and events such as their yearly retreats, summits, social events and faith studies. ▶▶ The Christian Reformed chaplaincy led many opportunities for student leadership with mentoring, retreats and one-on-one conversations. They had five student leaders in all (Carol, Dustin, Jordan, Anya, and Justin). It was a great year that included a retreat to Banff in the fall and a three day retreat to Banff with University of British Columbia - Okanagan and University of Alberta students in January. This led to the formation of a graduate group, Arise, as well as a monthly gathering around ideas and a summer camping plan.

Faith and spirituality Student team ▶▶ FASST continued into its second year. This team of students who identified as Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Pagan held weekly interfaith meetings, read two books and also hosted a weekly tea time. They have also started an Interfaith Student club


2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

and have filed for recognition with the Students’ Union starting in the fall of 2014. We are very thankful to Brandie, Laura, Theresa, Laura and our Lutheran Chaplain, Margaret Propp for their time and help to build supportive communities on campus.

Peer Helper Program, Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) ▶▶ This year we also welcomed new and returning student leaders with our Pentecostal, Christian Reformed and Baptist chaplaincies. We continued those student leader opportunities with the University’s Peer Helper Program, where students gain valuable leadership development and co-curricular credit. ▶▶ Additionally we supported the Emerging Leaders Program by mentoring first-year and secondyear students as they transitioned into university life.

Orientation Week ▶▶ Our Pentecostal chaplain provided facilitation during orientation for first-year students and the Common Reading Program.

StrengthsFinder ▶▶ Many chaplains are trained StrengthsFinder coaches, a program out of the Leadership & Student Engagement office to support students during the academic year with one-on-one coaching and mentoring.



Community The FSC is a place where students, staff and faculty come together in community and to form community. Gathering with each other fosters sharing, connectedness, dialogue and reflection and creates an atmosphere of trust, growth and connection.

Chaplain events and activities ▶▶ Several chaplains with the FSC hosted weekly events to bring students together in faith, song, prayer, study and community. Weekly events included weekly worship services, drumming, meditation, book and Bible studies and prayer groups. ▶▶ The Buddhist chaplaincy focused almost all efforts towards offering practice opportunities to the university community. This included two “Meditation for Beginners” sessions each week, typically during lunch hours. New-comers to meditation practice were welcomed and instruction was available if requested. Often these would be attended by regulars who would simply share the opportunity to sit together. Once a month, a women’s meditation session was also available. Each 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 were available and accommodating to first-time visitors. Other offerings over the year included monthly campus meetings to explore the “precepts” (the ethical foundations of Zen and Buddhism), meditation opportunities for staff members of Student & Enrolment Services, an on-going collection for the student food bank and personal support from the Buddhist Chaplain, Tim Sampson. ▶▶ The Lutheran chaplaincy supported the FASST team, met and counselled community members connected with the university and visited with students coming into the common area. Margaret Propp, our Lutheran chaplain, was also involved in hosting weekly dinners with students who attended the Simple Suppers on Wednesdays. She held ongoing meetings with students to address issues of grief, friends, addictions, sexuality and stress.


2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

▶▶ In addition to the constituents of Catholic identity such as celebrating Mass, administering Sacraments, prayer service, spiritual direction, faith formation and retreats, the Catholic chaplaincy held other social events to nurture communal growth such as outings, hiking, movie and popcorn night, fall dance, a Formal Christmas dinner and dance, year-end BBQ, monthly sandwich making for the homeless during fall and winter semesters, community service at Mustard Seed and other activities to support the Feed the Hungry program. ▶▶ The Christian Reformed chaplaincy hosted Arise, a contemplative weekly gathering. Paul Verhoef, our Christian Reformed chaplain, started it with one of our student leaders a year ago, and it has grown into a small and faithful group of people who want to live deeply into life, and do it together through vulnerable conversation and engagement with God’s Word. This year, they were led by a different student leader, Carol. As a second year student, she led other undergrads, grad students, chaplains, staff and even faculty members through a variety of Christian contemplative disciplines both traditional and newly created. She invited us to lectio; she invited us to dance; we sang and we sat still. The chaplaincy also hosted a Graduate Christian Fellowship. This year, our graduate group grew together, both in wisdom, fellowship, and even in numbers. Dustin, a graduate student leader, took the main leadership for this group. We read Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer over the course of this year. The chaplaincy was also involved in the Christian Medical Student Community (with Christian Medical and Dental Society) at Foothills campus. Through these three initiatives, they have continued to gather more and more into this community. They have begun to shape plans for next year, as well as find ways to welcome the new class in August.

Ice Cream Giveaway & Open house ▶▶ The FSC hosted its annual ice cream giveaway on the first day of classes to welcome students to campus and kick off the year. We hosted our Open House on the last day of the fall semester to celebrate the semester in a fun and communal way.



Home Away From Home ▶▶ This year, the Pentecostal chaplaincy served international students with a friendship program that helped them adjust to life in Canada. Over 125 students and more than 50 families participated in this program offering hospitality and sharing their culture with international students and in the process gain a deeper appreciation of other cultures. The program looks forward to working with the Graduate Students’ Association in this coming year to expand the program.

Book studies ▶▶ We were proud to continue to partner with Dr. Wayne Holst to host two book studies this year with the support of our Pentecostal Chaplain, Kelly Johnson.

excellence As part of an institution of higher learning, the Faith & Spirituality Centre partnered with the Department of Religious Studies to offer Religious Literacy, Diversity & Transformation Week. The week welcomed renowned speakers in the areas of religious studies and interfaith activism and hosted two academic conferences in the area of religious studies.

Religious Literacy, Diversity & Transformation Week May 7 - 11 ▶▶ The week showcased two international academic conferences, keynote speaking events and workshops. One academic conference, University of Lethbridge’s Research in Religious Studies Undergraduate Conference, is the only religious studies undergraduate conference of its kind in North America. The second academic conference, the Pacific Northwest’s Regional American Academy of Religion Conference is the most prestigious academic conference for scholars in the area of religious studies. Dr. Peter Beyer also spoke at two lectures about Religion in the Public Sphere and the research he is doing with the Religion & Diversity Project in Ottawa.


2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

Chris Stedman – May 7 ▶▶ The FSC was excited to lead the kick-off event to the week by hosting renowned activist Chris Stedman. Joined by President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, Stedman shared his personal journey towards inclusion and social justice. In his book Faitheist, Chris Stedman makes a passionate argument that atheists should engage religious diversity respectfully. Becoming aware of injustice, and craving community, Stedman became a “bornagain” Christian only to encounter staunch homophobia at a time when he was slowly coming to realize that he was gay. The great suffering he experienced might have turned Stedman into a life-long “New Atheist.” But over time he came to know more open-minded Christians, and found that his disdain and hostility toward religion was holding him back from engaging in meaningful work with people of faith. As someone who has stood on both sides of the divide, Stedman is uniquely positioned to present a way for atheists and the religious to find common ground and work together to make this world—the one world we can all agree on—a better place. ▶▶ Following his lecture, we encouraged all attendees to engage in dialogue at their tables and to reflect on the message shared by Stedman. FASST was fortunate enough to host Chris for dinner preceding the event where they were able to engage in further dialogue. To view Chris’ lecture at the University of Calgary, click here,



Professional Development ▶▶ This past year, the chaplains participated in a winter retreat by travelling to Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre, where our Muslim Chaplain Fayaz Tilly teaches. We received a tour of the centre and school, observed a mid-day prayer and had lunch together. It was a meaningful opportunity to connect with the community and spend time together as colleagues. ▶▶ Almost all chaplains successfully completed the University of Calgary’s “Respect in the Workplace” program. ▶▶ Our United/Presbyterian Chaplain, Tim Nethercott was partially financially supported by the SU Wellness Centre to attend “HealthRhythms”, a program that trains participants in the benefits drumming may be used to create a health promoting environment, empower people to move beyond their perceived limits, bring to the surface what is difficult to express in words alone, draw people together, and enhance communication and morale. ▶▶ Our United/Presbyterian Chaplain, Tim Nethercott and the Faith & Spirituality Centre Coordinator, Adriana Tulissi also attended – with financial support from the SU Wellness Centre – “Encounter World Religions” – an eight day intensive experiential learning opportunity in Toronto. They learned about various religious and spiritual traditions, visited numerous sacred sites and participated in services, communal gatherings and meals together. ▶▶ Our Catholic Chaplain, Minh Doan, completed Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training and Armatus Sexual Abuse Risk Management training. ▶▶ Our Pentecostal Chaplain, Kelly Johnson attended the Student & Enrolment Services Professional Development Day, attended several University of Calgary Advisory Network Professional Development opportunities and networking events, attended the Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction and attended Companioning/Grieving seminar with Dr. Alan Wolfelt.


2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

National Post-Secondary Chaplaincy Administrator Network ▶▶ During a trip to Montreal, Adriana Tulissi, Faith & Spirituality Centre coordinator, connected with Ellie Hummel, the chaplaincy coordinator at Concordia University. They decided to start the National Post-Secondary Chaplaincy Administrator Network, with over 20 members from across the country. The network has started building a community through online forums and teleconference calls by sharing best practices and how each centre operates relative to their institution. ▶▶ The network was very fortunate to connect with Inspirit Foundation, a national grant-making organization, who provided them with funding to launch the network. We are excited to see what comes from this meeting and hope to continue connecting as a community of practice.



Growth â–śâ–ś The FSC has seen a steady increase in students accessing our centre, our managed spaces and programs. In 2013-14, the FSC saw an average of almost 1600 students each week. The chart below summarzies the numbers of students accessing our centre through weekly offerings, special events (pro-rated on a weekly basis) and student club bookings of our managed spaces.


2013 - 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

team ▶▶ The FSC staff and chaplains are represented on many university and community committees and are as follows: •• Peter Craigie Memorial Lecture Steering Committee – Paul Verhoef •• Communal Table Project Advisory Committee – Paul Verhoef and Adriana Tulissi •• Student & Enrolment Services Leadership Council – Adriana Tulissi •• Metro-Alliance for the Common Good – Adriana Tulissi •• Interfaith Council of Calgary – Adriana Tulissi •• SU Wellness Centre Social Committee – Paul Verhoef •• National Post-Secondary Chaplaincy Administrator Network – Adriana Tulissi

Top row (left to right): Jef Tsui (Baptist Chaplain), Adriana Tulissi (Community Engagement Manager), Dr. Wayne Holst (Liaison), Rev. Kelly Johnson (Pentecostal Chaplain), Jackson O’Brien (Intern, no longer with us), Oren Steinitz (Jewish Chaplain, no longer with us), Rev. Tim Sampson (Buddhist Chaplain), Pearl Nieuwenhuis (Christian Reformed Chaplain), Karl Snyder (Intern, no longer with us) Bottom row (left to right): Debbie Bruckner (Director, Wellness Centre), Rev. Margaret Propp (Lutheran Chaplain), Rev. Paul Verhoef (Christian Reformed Chaplain), Rev. Tim Nethercott (United/Presbyterian Chaplain), Imam Fayaz Tilly (Muslim Chaplain), Shaista Hasham (Marketing Assistant, no longer with us) Missing: Minh Doan (Catholic Chaplain), Christine Shellska (Liaison), Marcia Epstein (Liaison), Klaus Ohlhoff (Liaison)

We were sad to say goodbye to our Jewish chaplain, Oren Steinitz, who left to complete his PhD program and Rabbinical studies.



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Faith & Spirituality Centre 2013-14 Annual Report  

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