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2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT


ANNUAL RE P O R T 2014 - 2015

u c a l g a r y. c a / f s c



2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT




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2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

INTRODUCTION This past year has been an incredible year of growth, change and development. As the University of Calgary continues its Eyes High goal by becoming one of Canada’s top five research universities, we saw a focus this past year in student services on continuing to strengthen and grow mental health supports, student engagement and intercultural competencies. The International Strategy was also rolled out in March 2013 and we began reflecting how we can best support the increase of diverse students, staff and faculty. The Faith & Spirituality Centre has made a concerted effort this past year to support these strategies. Some broad updates from this past year include the Faith & Spirituality Centre to becoming its own department under the newly formed Student Wellness, Access and Support, which includes the Women’s Resource Centre, Student Accessibility Services, the SU Wellness Centre and the Faith & Spirituality Centre. This move was done to recognize the uniqueness of the services, support and programming the Faith & Spirituality Centre offers to the campus community and to help build a vibrant and sustainable department. The Faith & Spirituality Centre partnered again with the Department of Classics and Religion to host our second annual Pluralism & Religious Diversity Week from March 23-28, 2015. This year’s week focused on opportunities for learning, engagement and dialogue. We had daily discussions, film screenings, a keynote address with famed cartoonist Nina Paley (http://, and an all-day summit exploring “What Does a Pluralistic Campus Look Like?” with a panel, activities and working groups. Those activities and student recommendations will be included in a report the Faith & Spirituality Centre will provide to senior campus leadership. The Faith & Spirituality Centre received SU Quality Money in 2013 to develop and implement an interreligious & intercultural program. We hired a full-time Faculty of Arts co-op student, Sydney Erais, who has done a tremendous amount of work researching, connecting, collaborating and learning everything she can to roll out the Faith & Spirituality Centre’s first ucalgarycares program in 2015-16. Check out page 10 for more details! Looking forward, after years of consultation and support, the Faith & Spirituality Centre is



excited to announce new multi-purpose space scheduled to open September 2015 in the Dining Centre which will be used for interreligious programming and religious observance to support a pluralistic and inclusive campus. The space will be called Vitruvian space – a coming together of strength, functionality and beauty – a space where meaning is created beyond words and images alone. Additionally, the Faith & Spirituality Centre has received financial support from the University of Calgary to support international students on campus and we will hire a full-time program coordinator who will be supporting international students; but also the broader student body with interreligious & intercultural programming, leadership, training and other offerings. The Faith & Spirituality Centre has also continued to broaden its community outreach and has connected with the Ismaili, Unitarian, Sikh and Jewish communities to work on programming together as well as explore possibilities to establish new chaplaincies in our Centre. We successfully received SU Quality money to renovate our existing multi-faith prayer and meditation spaces to enhance student spaces and experiences on campus and hope to complete those renovations over summer 2015. The goals for the Faith & Spirituality Centre for 2015-16 will focus on: Intercultural competencies 1. The FSC will launch the first ucalgarycares program out of the FSC called the Kaleidoscope Project. The FSC will apply for ethics approval for the project so we can present the findings of the program and the impact on intercultural competencies using the Intercultural Development Inventory which will be implemented pre and post program. Enhance student support and build community 2. The Faith & Spirituality Centre will expand its community outreach this year by connecting with international students, religious and faith based clubs, chaplains and external organizations to establish and initiate relationships and build upon existing ones. 3. Through identifying gaps and needs from students, staff, chaplains and community organizations and research, the FSC will develop 1-2 training and workshop opportunities to support living and engaging in a Canadian, democratic, secular and pluralistic society.

2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

Leadership 4. We will enhance our student leadership opportunities and support by strengthening and streamlining the peer helper team by having our Program Coordinator organize ongoing training, retreats, and help build interreligious and intercultural understanding and action. We hope you will continue to join us in our journey towards building a more pluralistic campus. We are continually thankful for the communities that support the chaplains being here and are almost done the process of establishing a memorandum of agreement with the chaplaincies and the university. We hope for yet another year of growth in our Centre to emphasize the importance of supporting the religious and spiritual lives of our students and working towards building understanding and inclusion on our campus. Sincerely,

Adriana Tulissi, Community Engagement Manager



COLLABORATION The Faith & Spirituality (FSC) had an exciting year collaborating and a shared commitment to achieving common goals. Collaboration is a value the Faith & Spirituality shares with the University as we see the way it creates opportunities for shared experiences, learning and relationships.

CTP – SEPTEMBER 2014 - APRIL 2015 The Communal Table Project began Fall 2012 at the University of Calgary with the dual mandate to empower students with basic cooking skills while fostering a sense of community and connection. The CTP hosted six meals this past year with an average of 2030 students attending each meal, bringing support from across the University of Calgary 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 food and 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 Community Engages Learning, the Faith & Spirituality Centre, and Meetings & Special Events. The CTP hosted many local speakers ranging from Chris Prefontaine, owner of Analog Coffee House and Corbeaux Bakehouse to Julie Van Rosendaal, local food writer, author, stylist, journalist and food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One. We are very thankful for the financial and in-kind donations from Students’ Union Quality Money and Meetings & Special Events, and the additional support of two student leaders with the Peer Helper Program: Miranda and Robyn. These students helped the program run successfully throughout the year and brought lots of great energy and ideas. We also had the great support of our Christian Reformed Chaplain, Paul Verhoef and our co-op student Sydney Erais who helped make this year a success! Our three-year “pilot” for the Communal Table Project has now come to an end. While we are sad to see it go, and hold out hope that resources might allow the project to be revived in the future, we are left with an awesome sense of satisfaction at how much can be accomplished when a community cooks together, eats together, and learns together.

2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

Inter/Intra-faith Initiatives

WORLD HIJAB DAY – FEBRUARY 2 We partnered with the Muslim Students’ Association again this year to host the campus’ second World Hijab Day, raising awareness about religious observance and continuing a broader conversation around freedom of choice and expression.

INTERFAITH WEEKLY MEETINGS This past year, the Faith & Spirituality Student Team was fortunate to continue an important initiative on campus, the interfaith group. The group met weekly during the Fall and Winter semesters to share a meal together, get to know one another and engage in meaningful conversations around topics such as social justice, shared values, and religious beliefs.

CHAPLAINCY EVENTS The Lutheran, Christian Reformed, Pentecostal, Catholic, United/Presbyterian and Baptist chaplains and Christian staff workers for SU Clubs, collaborated in offering 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.

WELLNESS CENTRE COLLABORATION Relationship Seminar - The Pentecostal chaplain, alongside with counsellors from the Wellness Centre, hosted its annual weekend training (going for over 40 years!) on enhancing relationships and welcomed thirty two participants. Roots of Resiliency – The Christian Reformed Chaplaincy provided Pearl Nieuwenhuis for a joint Wellness Centre offering around resiliency and spiritual wellness.

UCALGARYSTRONG • The Pentecostal chaplain, Kelly Johnson, co-chaired the inaugural UCalgaryStrong Festival and also sat on the Advisory Committee for the Brentwood Memorial. Over 2700 participants



in the Festival and a social media reach of over a million people and was trending nationally on April 15th! • Christian Reformed Chaplain Paul Verhoef and Lutheran Chaplain Margaret Propp spoke on behalf of the chaplains at the one year anniversary of the Brentwood Tragedy.

UCALGARYCARES • The Christian Reformed chaplaincy provided a project leader for the NOLA ‘Building Healthy Communities’ service-learning project. That project leader, Paul Verhoef, coordinated with the other project leader, project assistant, and the Centre for Community-Engaged Learning office, the selection of participants, the four pre-service workshops, the program in New Orleans for eight days, and a final gathering.

2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

LEADERSHIP The Faith & Spirituality Centre 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. The FSC also provides opportunities to engage in critical thinking by exploring the relationship of religion and spirituality in the public sphere, interreligious and intercultural dialogue and cooperation and how we can build global citizens and leaders to create a better world for all.

STUDENT LEADERS AND STUDENT RETREATS • Our Christian Reformed chaplains Paul Verhoef and Pearl Nieuwenhuis also supported students as they led in various capacities. Four of these students joined them and the Christian Reformed Chaplaincy Chaplain and students from the UAlberta, for their annual Student Leadership Retreat in Banff in January 2015. Paul Verhoef also supported six student leaders who took the lead for the Christian Medical and Dental Society, a Christian club that is officially recognized in the UCalgary Medical School. These student leaders participated in an annual student leadership retreat with medical school students from across Canada, in an annual Western Canadian student retreat (along with 100 other students), and in the Canadawide CMDS annual conference, which gathers both physicians and students to wrestle with questions of faith and medical practice. Pearl Nieuwenhuis also supported numerous students in conversations around their rootedness and how that equips resiliency. These conversations happened regularly as a part of her Spiritual Direction practice. • The United/Presbyterian chaplaincy continued to sponsor the SU Club “Student Rhythms”, which with our team, offers weekly drum circles. Members of Student Rhythms received training in Drum Circle facilitation. • 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 recognition on co-curricular record. • 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.



• The Lutheran chaplain, Margaret Propp continued to support the Faith & Spirituality Student Team with leadership, facilitation of discussion and providing a weekly meal and also organized the two ecumenical worship services held on campus as a Christian community in the fall and winter semester. The Lutheran chaplain also organized the volunteers required to host the Ten thousand Villages fair trade sale and organized the annual Lutheran Campus Ministry fundraiser dinner, which draws funds to support the chaplain position on campus.

FAITH & SPIRITUALITY STUDENT TEAM The Faith & Spirituality Student Team – a group of student leaders through the university’s Peer Helper Program - continued into its third year and was a great presence and support throughout the year. While continuing to hold weekly interfaith meetings that brought a diverse group of students together, FASST also participated in hosting a weekly tea time on Fridays to create a welcoming atmosphere in the Centre. Additionally, the group held a book study in the fall semester, and for the second semester, looked at interfaith case studies developed by the Pluralism Project at Harvard University and the Interfaith Youth Core.

PEER HELPER PROGRAM 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 addition to the Faith & Spirituality Student Team, our Christian Reformed chaplain Paul Verhoef served as the mentor for two peer helpers this year who were involved in the Communal Table Project. Our Pentecostal and Muslim chaplains also supported student leaders within their chaplaincies to support the work that the chaplains do on campus.

2014 - 2015 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.

CHAPLAIN ACTIVITIES AND WEEKLY EVENTS • The Christian Reformed chaplaincy offered Arise, where Paul gathered with a small handful of students weekly to explore some historic and rooted Christian practices in an open, reflective, and risky way. Paul supported the Pentecostal chaplaincy in the regular offering of Worship at the U and Paul also offered a 7 week conversation called “For the Life of the World” on how our Christian faith is oriented to bring goodness and life to the world. “How can we exist for the common good?” was the overriding question of the series. This series gathered 5-8 people regularly for conversation. The CRC chaplaincy also helped support A Simple Supper for the fall of 2014 – a joint gathering of food and discussion along with the Lutheran, Anglican and United/Presbyterian chaplaincies. • The United/Presbyterian chaplaincy collaborated with other Chaplains and with the Department of Dance to offer two Labyrinth experiences, one during each exam period. The chaplaincy also collaborated with the SU Wellness Centre in offering drumming workshops. The chaplaincy also worked with the Anglican and Lutheran chaplaincies to offer worship services and a weekly “A Simple Supper” along with talking circles in which students share their life experiences and learn to tell their stories. The chaplaincy continued to work with the Native community by offering two Sweat Lodge experiences for students. The chaplaincy has also provided leadership amongst the religious communities by making space for LGBTQ people and providing education around their inclusion in religious life and also demonstrated leadership on women’s issues by sponsoring the “Women’s Circle”, a safe space for women to discuss issues of life and spirituality. • An amazing part of the Pentecostal chaplaincy’s work over the years is bringing students together from different faith backgrounds to serve in tangible ways through Project Amigo. A trip to the Dominican Republic to build a home and connect with some other community development projects initiated by UCalgary professors this past year was a highlight.



Encouraging community through a hockey pool, intentional relationship building with staff in Wellness, Student Services and faculty continues to be a strong offering of the Pentecostal chaplaincy. • The Anglican chaplaincy worked closely with the Lutheran and United/Presbyterian chaplaincies to offer A Simply Supper and with the Lutheran chaplaincy to offer a weekly joint Communion service. • 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 would also offer 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 out, BBQ, and community services to foster community and connection especially to Catholic international students. • The Buddhist 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. Each Tuesday evening, they 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. Other offerings over the school year included welcoming Norman Fischer, a Zen priest, to speak on good and evil. • The Lutheran chaplaincy worked with the United/Presbyterian, and Anglican chaplaincies to offer a simple supper with an intentional talking circle every week and provided a worship service with Holy Communion once a week with the Anglican chaplaincy. Margaret also collaborated with the United/Presbyterian peer facilitator and Christian Reformed Chaplain to offer a women’s circle twice a month. This gathering was a group of women who came together as a community to have an intentional talking circle.

2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

ICE CREAM GIVEAWAY & OPEN HOUSE • The Faith & Spirituality Centre hosted its annual ice cream giveaway on the first day of classes to welcome students to campus and kick-off the year handing out over 1200 scoops of ice cream and hosted its Open House on the last day of the Fall semester to celebrate the semester in a fun and communal way!

HOME AWAY FROM HOME • The Pentecostal Chaplaincy was thrilled this year to continue to serve international students with a friendship program helping them adjust to life in Canada. The program has over 125 students and more than 50 families that are connecting and making the transition easier. This also helps the Calgary community by giving them an opportunity to offer hospitality and share their culture with international students and in the process gain a deeper appreciation of other cultures.

BOOK STUDIES • We were proud to continue to partner with Dr. Wayne Holst as he hosted two book studies this past year with the support of two of our chaplains, Kelly Johnson and Paul Verhoef.



EXCELLENCE Religious pluralism involves moving beyond the acknowledgement of differences to understanding, action & respect. The Faith & Spirituality Centre is committed to developing global and cross cultural competencies and increasing the diversity of our campus community. As part of an institution of higher learning, the Faith & Spirituality Centre actively works with academic units to encourage greater understanding and awareness of cultural and religious difference in the context of an inclusive and pluralistic campus open to all viewpoints.

THE KALEIDOSCOPE PROJECT The Faith & Spirituality Centre is very excited to have received Quality Money from the Students’ Union to start an Interreligious & Intercultural Diversity Program on campus from 2014-2017 called the Kaleidoscope Project. The program, the first to be offered in the FSC, uses a multi-faceted and collaborative approach and will focus on researching, developing and implementing an interreligious and intercultural diversity program, called the Kaleidoscope Project, that brings together diverse groups of students from different religious, spiritual and secular viewpoints to work together to build a more inclusive and pluralistic community on campus and in Calgary. In 2015-16, the program is hoping to be a part of the ucalgarycares program on campus – a service-learning initiative bridging service projects and academic learning. Our project will have pre-service learning workshops that will introduce students to what the public sphere and secularism are, exploring models of pluralism, learning how to communicate personal values and engage in productive dialogue to affect change. Students will then participate in an intensive week long immersion program visiting a variety of sacred spaces in Calgary, learning about the religious observances from those traditions, examining a variety of case studies on how religious observances interacts with the public sphere and learning how to critically engage on those issues. Throughout this past year, the initiative also worked on building a community of students dedicated to fostering a more inclusive and pluralistic campus community at the University of Calgary by hosting three meet and greet events, a guided tour of the Jewish Community

2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

Centre, and a Lunch and Learn organized in collaboration with the United/Presbyterian chaplaincy and the Q Centre around the topic of gender and sexuality in religion.

PLURALISM & RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY WEEK The Faith & Spirituality Centre and the Department of Classics and Religion were pleased to offer the second annual Pluralism and Religious Diversity Week. This year’s week focused on opportunities for learning, engagement and dialogue through daily discussions, film screenings, a keynote address with famed cartoonist Nina Paley (http://sitasingstheblues. com/), and an all-day summit exploring “What Does a Pluralistic Campus Look Like?” with a panel, activities and working groups. The highlight of the week was on Saturday, March 28, where current students were encouraged to attend an all-day summit exploring the broad question: What does a pluralistic campus look like? The day began with a panel of key stakeholders which included Dr. Valerie Pruegger, Director, Office of Diversity, Equity and Protected Disclosure, University of Calgary, Rev. Paul Verhoef, Chaplain, Faith & Spirituality Centre, University of Calgary, Jonathan Napier, Ph.D. student, Department of Classics and Religion, University of Calgary, Sabrina Afroz-Islam, student, who shared their perspective on what a pluralistic campus may look like. In the afternoon we did a series of activities that focused on building skills as we modeled how to facilitate difficult conversations. We then did a campus mapping activity that focused on five areas on campus: academics (in the classroom), student life, spaces, Faculty/administration, residence and then mapped situations in each of these areas and whether they fostered conflict, tolerance, co-existence or pluralism on campus. At the end of the day, we had ideas, stories, feedback and input from students to create a report to give to key campus leadership for action on how to build a more pluralistic camups. We are very thankful to Inspirit Foundation and Danny Richmond, Program Manager with Inspirit Foundation, a national grant-making organization that supports young people (aged 18 to 30) in building a more inclusive and pluralistic Canada, who facilitated the summit and provided Danny to us for the day!

TRAINING & WORKSHOPS The Faith & Spirituality Centre supported the Alberta Human Rights Commission’s public forum series and facilitated two workshops in Edmonton and Calgary on religious accommodation in the workplace.



PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT • Tim and Zoe with the United/Presbyterian chaplaincy received training in “DrumBeat”, a protocol for using drumming as a tool for health promotion amongst Youth and Young Adults. Tim also received training, supported through Mount Royal University, in conducting intergroup dialogue. • Margaret, Paul and Kelly all attended the Working Mind Training an anti-stigma and mental health resiliency training program offered by the SU Wellness Centre. • Adriana became a Qualified Assessor for the Intercultural Development Inventory – a tool that assesses intercultural competence - the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities.

2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

SPIRITUALITY & RELIGIOUS PLURALISM COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE • Adriana continued to work with the National Post-Secondary Chaplaincy Administrators Network this past year and build the network to include over 20 different post-secondary institutions. Members of our group met in Toronto (with financial support from the Inspirit Foundation) in August 2014 for a day and a half and affirmed our original goals. We shared many of our experiences, highlights and lowlights from our work in a safe and supportive environment. Many also realized how isolating the work can be, as we had not had a network up until now. Over the course of the gathering, many people expressed the same sentiment: it is so wonderful to have colleagues to share with! It is so empowering to know we are not alone in our work. Some of the key issues that arose were: how to get chaplains involved with each other (inter-faith action); concerns over space and process for equitable access to multifaith prayer and gathering spaces; campus understanding of what chaplains do; the unique roles of chaplains as volunteers and the accountability and expectations of them; chaplains not feeling valued by the institution; lack of structure for chaplains (documents, contracts, training – qualifications vary); the public relations we as coordinators have to deal with (represent diversity, damage control, relationship with external/university relations); funding issues and how to spend it. • We also discussed how we would continue to structure the group. At this time, CACUSS (the Canadian Association of College & University Student Services) was also re-vamping their membership and structure models and were opening a call for proposals to form either a network or a community of practice. The group decided to apply to become a community of practice within CACUSS and were formally accepted in January 2015. • We had our big launch at CACUSS’ annual conference, held in Vancouver this year where we offered a pre-conference, two presentations, a networking opportunity and a poster session. • Our next steps – again, with many funding thanks to Inspirit Foundation – will be to meet in Toronto in June 2015 to have a three day strategic planning meeting. We are so excited to be at the forefront of providing input, recommendations and professional development opportunities to the broader student service community to bring religion and spirituality to the mainstream on campuses across Canada.




2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

TEAM University and community committees with representation from the Faith & Spirituality Centre for 2014-15: •

SU Wellness Centre Social Committee – Paul Verhoef

The Communal Table Project Advisory 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

Left to right. Father Mihn Doan (Catholic Chaplain), Art Kung (MRU Chaplain), Rev. Paul Verhoef (Christian Reformed Chaplain), Adriana Tulissi (Staff), Sydney Erais (Co-op Student), Pearl Nieuwenhuis (Christian Reformed Chaplain), Rev. Kelly Johnson (Pentecostal Chaplain), Dr. Wayne Holst (guest), Jef Tsui (Baptist Chaplain), Rev. Margaret Propp (Lutheran Chaplain), Zoe Say (United/Presbyterian Peer Facilitator). Missing: Rev. Tim Nethercot (United/Presbyterian Chaplain), Rev. Tim Sampson (Zen Buddhist Chaplain), Fayaz Imam Tilly (Muslim Chaplain).



2014 - 2015 ANNUAL REPORT



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Faith & Spirituality Centre Annual Report 2014-15  

Faith & Spirituality Centre Annual Report 2014-15  

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