But there are also so many new things I am discovering here. Though I have been interested in multi-faith work for a while this is the first time that I have been in a truly multi-faith setting where different religions work together under one roof to serve a single population of people. It's quite wonderful really. There is so much that is shared between the major faiths that it isn't really so hard to find common ground and a shared purpose of serving the student body, of all faiths and none. This seems to bond people in a special way as they go for a shared vision.
The chaplaincy here is like a little hub of life with everyone popping in. I've chatted over a cuppa with atheists, Muslims and Catholics in the space of a few days - to name but a few. As well as just hanging out a huge range of people use the space to pray and it strikes me that there is something wonderfully ideal about a room where people of all the major faiths, and of no faith at all, come to pray or meditate. It feels to me like something we should be aspiring towards more in society. Not an abandoning of our differences but an understanding of our shared humanity. Seeing that difference, rather than being a hindrance to relationship, can be creative and inspiring.
It also reminds me of how important a space is to reconnect with what it means to be a human being rather than an employee or a role or a grade. Having just emerged from the higher education bubble I know how easy it can be to get sucked into evaluating your worth on the basis of your last essay grade. Likewise whatever stage of life we are in it can be so easy to equate our value with our latest appraisal. We're just worth so much more than that though, right? And all these things are temporary and nothing compared to the real value we have as people. It's great to be part of a place, even for a little while, that seeks to remind people of that.
Another great placement, another great adventure of Summer (can I still say that now its gotten so grey!?) This really is the vacation that keeps on giving!