Saturday, December 23, 2006

2006 and the RMIT Chaplaincy

Dear Friends and Associates of the RMIT Chaplaincy,

As we come to the end of the year and the beginning of a well-earned time for reflection, recreation and renewal, I wanted to write a bit about our chaplaincy in 2006.

To put it simply and to quote Frank Sinatra, “It was a very good year”. So we look back fondly as we look forward to the year ahead. This year we began a variety of educational, pastoral and prophetic offerings with a number of programs and activities that will continue in somewhat different forms for the autumn semester. Opening Scripture will merge into Opening Conversation, Morning Prayer will move into the celebration of the weekly Eucharist. Our Friday offering, RMIT Prays, will transmute into a weekly “Peacemakers” meeting and hopefully connect with a local group of Amnesty International. Opening Silence, co-ordinated with Philomena Holman and Lyndon Medina, expands from two weekly meetings with offerings at the Business School and at the Bundoora campus. In addition, there are plans for a quiet day or two during the year, some short courses on the Enneagram, Thomas Merton on the Christian-Buddhist connection, and a series of meeting on Group Spiritual Formation.

So it has been a busy year and it is important to note the help and support received from our chaplains: Robert Miller, Tony Salisbury and Peter Collins; as well as Agus Effundy, Okie Tranupradja and Libby Austin during this year. Our numbers will be growing next year as we welcome Chi Kwang Sunim and Father James Grant to the Bundoora campus. Chi Kwang was born in Western Australia, trained as a sculptor, and worked as an art teacher before spending 19 years living as a Zen Buddhist nun in Korea. She returned to set up the retreat centre "The Seon Centre" in King Lake, where she is currently Abbess. At this point we are hoping that she will be involved in “Opening Silence” on the Bundoora campus. James Grant will be working with staff and students at Bundoora as well as supervising a deacon, a member of the Sundanese community who will be a presence on the campus. In the coming year we will also be welcoming Riad Galil, the Imam of the West Heidelberg mosque and a member of the Victorian Board of Imans. With a long history in multi-faith concerns, Riad will be a coordinator of the Jewish- Christian-Muslim conference in 2007 and has been nominated by the Islamic Council of Victoria to sit on the Council for Chaplains in Tertiary Institutions. His ministry will be a real boon to the whole RMIT community.

And if I thanked everyone who supported the chaplaincy by friendship, attendance, meeting over a cuppa or a coke sharing questions and answers, then this letter would be far too long. But please know that you have made a difference in who we are and what we do on the ground floor of Building 11, in the Spiritual Centre, and all around RMIT.

We wish you well during this holiday season, and a very good new year.

Merry Christmas!


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