Food for body and soul…

My retreat this summer was magnificent! For me, it is important to literally turn away from busy-ness and turn off the devices. It isn’t an escape but a healthy choice for re-energizing.

And go figure, UPEI offers a whole building to help us all make healthy choices for re-energizing. For some it is the gym, the pool or the library. And for others, it is the Chaplaincy Centre, building #14 on your campus map, offering “food for body and soul”. Whether it’s the usually clean microwave, the food bank or the clothing cupboard, the piano, the drum or the guitar, the two “close the door” prayer spaces or the comfortable chairs in one of our two lounge areas … don’t walk by, walk in!

Last year’s Soup for the Soul for healthy eating and mental health has grown (pardon the pun), to include physical activity with Saint Dunstan’s Gardens sites on campus and at The Mount. Inter-disciplinary meets inter-generation and we all win. Our project will be sustained by locally grown vegetables and herbs. Donated bowls and spoons will be washed, sanitized and re-used thanks to the outreach on campus and generous response of the UPEI community and PEI Department of Health and Wellness. Check out the garden signs to learn of our other collaborators who donated seeds and plants that got us growing last June.

Students, staff and faculty from various faith traditions can join seekers in a safe, peace-filled environment, accentuated by our Peace Pole.  As chaplain and campus minister, I get rather protective of the faith journeys of those on campus. This is not the space for groups to come and recruit (proselytize) on campus. Current students, faculty and staff are welcome to use the space with the one condition that they remain open to other.  Dialogue, not debate, runs this ship!

Someone said once as I was praying aloud at a campus event that they could not decide which religion I would land in.  I took that as a compliment. Praying with one particular faith group or a group of various people from different spiritual homes (including no home), I pray differently. I believe in one God who knows and loves me. I also believe that God knows and loves the other and has a relationship with the other that is unique to that person. Why would I impose on that unique gift?

The Chaplaincy Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island stands on a rich tradition that precedes all of our European understanding, except of course our Mi’kmaq ancestors. May we know better today that we did in the past how to welcome the newcomer in our midst and may that learning be embodied here, today.