Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Farewell from the Senior Chaplain

Dear Friends of the RMIT Chaplaincy,

The season of Advent is a time of great tension and creativity within the Christian community. Culminating with the birth of a new relationship between the most sacred and most mundane in a very surprising way and place, it is both an end and a beginning. It is also a time when new ways often come clear. This has been especially true for me this year.

I have decided that 2008 will be my last year as Senior Chaplain: there are several reasons. First, the job has changed remarkably as the number of chaplains has increased from 3 to 8, and while I have deeply enjoyed recruiting and coordinating a collegial community of professional religious volunteers who bring considerable gifts to RMIT, it has changed the focus and scope of the work. New rooms in the Spiritual Centre and increased relations with student clubs and societies embedded within faith, wisdom and justice traditions have also brought new responsibilities and duties. To juggle all these, along with increased and welcome requests and referrals for pastoral care from other University areas, within the existing and limiting structures and budget, has proved both difficult and frustrating. At this time I will likely request a year “on leave” as an Anglican Chaplain on this campus, but I will consider that option over the summer as I reconsider the priorities of my work at The Merton Centre and Trinity College, University of Melbourne.

There are so many people to thank: Chaplains Jo Dirks, Riad Galil, Rob Miller, Yvonne Poon, Simon Rande Tony Salisbury and Chaplain Soma (plus Linda Kent as our able assistant) have made the job a real pleasure. Working with Sergio Fabris as the Wellness manager was a privilege and joy, and I wish Kitty Vivekanda well in that interim position. Jane Stewart was remarkable in her oversight and we shared some happy moments. So many more should be thanked, but I must stop here.

“Opening Silence”, our regular meditation sessions, has been a bright spot for me in the last few years, and it might be good to gather one more time. I know it is late in the semester, but I will be sitting in the regular place at the regular time (Spiritual Centre, Thursday, starting at 12:30) I hope to see you there,

In any case, please know that the good people of RMIT, past and present, have given me much joy in this time, and to quote the American poet, e.e. cummings, “I will carry you in my heart.”



PS - if you wish to keep up, check my website: themertoncentre.org or visit my blog, chaplinesque.blogspot.com

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