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Serving a university chaplaincy is a very different thing to serving a parish.

Me at vigil.jpg

Father Jacob speaking at the Cardiff University vigil for peace. February 2022

In the first instance, a chaplaincy is not there to serve only those who are already of the Faith. It is there for everyone in the institution. It is there to support people of all beliefs and none in the face of their challenges. It is a ministry of accompaniment, and of providing opportunity for learning and encounter beyond the lecture hall and the seminar room. Its proclamation of the Good News is something that must be done through presence, action, and gentle conversation.

Whereas a parish is a liturgical community, made up of people who are already dedicated to the precepts of faith and the realities of living in Christian community, a university is a place that includes people from all walks of life, all systems of belief, and all moral perspectives.

This demands that an Orthodox chaplain be able to adapt and work with different 'languages', without diminishing the truth of the Orthodox Faith. He must have confidence that, just as the Word took on flesh and met humanity where it was, in his role as chaplain, he might be available and meet the people for whom he is called to care, where they are.

To this end, the Orthodox chaplain works as part of a whole chaplaincy team, including other Christian chaplains, as well as chaplains representing other faiths. With understanding of, and sympathy for, academic life, he works with his colleagues to support the whole university community, while making himself available in particular to those already practicing the Orthodox Christian Faith, and those who come to study from a country where it is likely they were formed in an Orthodox environment.

In addition to the general, shared work of chaplaincy - including our contributions to the wider wellbeing service of the university -  we offer a taste of the Orthodox liturgical life, and additional learning opportunities for both students and staff. Our presence on the university campus, together with all of our Orthodox activities, is made possible by the kindness and generosity of the Anglican Chaplaincy at 61 Park Place.

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