In September students at three British Columbia universities were welcomed by Christian Reformed chaplains. Two of the chaplaincies are newly established. All three campuses have new chaplains.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond and The Tapestry Christian Reformed Church have established an unusual partnership initiated by the university.
Sam Lee in conversation with Home Missions Western Canada team leader Rev. Martin Contant.
The relationship began with casual conversations between The Tapestry’s Rev. Albert Chu and university staff and included a number of meetings with the administration. However, after months of not hearing anything further, Chu was surprised by a phone call in the spring, letting him know that the university had dedicated office space for a chaplain. “They asked when we wanted to begin,” said Chu.
The wheels immediately went into motion to orient to the campus and the students. The campus has a large number of Asian students, many of whom come from overseas.
Prayers for a chaplain who would be a good fit for the students were answered in Sam Lee, a native of Vancouver and second-generation Korean. Lee will divide his work between the half-time chaplaincy position and work with at-risk youths.
“I find it a great privilege to be a part of the chaplaincy and a church that has a missional heart for the city of Richmond and at this secular university,” Lee said.
A multifaith center has also been created, and Lee hosts weekly gatherings to encourage inter-religious and spiritual dialogue.
The University of British Columbia-Okanagan welcomed its first Christian Reformed chaplain this summer as well. Sam Gutierrez moved to Kelowna in time to greet students in September. Gutierrez served a number of years ago as an intern for The Well CRC, Kelowna, a congregation supported by Christian Reformed Home Missions.
Sharing its name, The Well Campus Ministry hopes to build a shared ministry between the church and the campus, strengthening and supporting both.
Finally, the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George took the opportunity to have both the newly-appointed and retiring chaplains on hand for new student welcome and orientation. Neil and Virginia Lettinga have served as CRC chaplains at UNBC since it was established in 2003. They pass the baton of service to Rev. Alan van der Woerd.