University of Calgary

Faith & Spirituality Centre celebration

UToday HomeSeptember 15, 2011

By Adriana Tulissi

Over 50 students, faculty and staff celebrated the Faith & Spirituality Centre’s (FSC) new name and 45-year history on campus. Photo by Riley Brandt Over 50 students, faculty and staff celebrated the Faith & Spirituality Centre’s (FSC) new name and 45-year history on campus. Photo by Riley Brandt Over 50 students, faculty and staff celebrated the Faith & Spirituality Centre’s (FSC) new name and 45-year history on campus Wednesday, Sept. 14. Rev. Klaus Ohlhoff, who has served for over 20 years as the Lutheran Chaplain, began the celebrations by highlighting how the centre began with only Christian Chaplains in 1966 when the campus was still a satellite of the University of Alberta.

“The centre became more diverse as Canada’s landscape changed and the first Muslim Chaplain joined in 2000. That’s when we became the Multi-Faith Chaplains’ Centre,” says Ohlhoff. “Now, as students, staff and faculty are embarking on all types of spiritual journeys, we wanted to reflect and welcome that change. Hence, we are now the Faith & Spirituality Centre which includes over twelve Chaplains from six different faith communities.”

Klaus thanked the university and the Students’ Union for their support for the centre, which sees more than 1,400 students every week. He closed his remarks by thanking the faith communities that have supported the centre throughout the years. Chaplains are not employed by the university, but by their faith communities—those communities contribute over $500,000 every year for the chaplains to be here.

Debbie Bruckner, acting associate vice-provost (student services) spoke to the FSC’s role within the Wellness Centre and the wider campus, and noted many initiatives the FSC promotes in conjunction with the Wellness Centre, such as pre-marital and relationship seminars.

Ola Mohajer, vice-president, academic with Student’s Union, concluded the celebrations by sharing how her first university experience included listening to an orientation workshop on the FSC’s Project Amigo program, where students travel to Mexico to build homes for less fortunate families. FSC is “a place for community, for meeting people from your own faith and other faiths,” she says. “The centre is truly a place that is blind to differences and where walls and barriers are dropped.”

The new secular/humanist liaison for the FSC, Dr. Marcia Epstein, said at the gathering: “This was exactly the kind of community I was looking for. I am so happy to be here.”

Learn more about the Faith & Spirituality Centre.