What is a Chaplain?

What is a Chaplain?

A Chaplain is a minister of religion who works in an institution, in this case a university.

The word ‘Chaplain’ goes back centuries and refers to a Latin word ‘cappella’, which means ‘cloak’. The story is told about St. Martin of Tours, a compassionate fourth century soldier, who encountered a shivering beggar on a cold winter’s night. Having no money in his purse, this soldier took off his cloak and slashed it with his sword to give half of it to the beggar. The cloak became a symbol of care and now represents the role of a Chaplain.

The Role of the Chaplain.

The Chaplain provides the following support:

  • Pastoral care: Being available to students and staff, counselling, crisis support, hospital visiting, hospitality and celebrating students’ achievements
  • Spirituality: Liaising between faith groups and fostering mutual respect and understanding, providing information about faith communities, accompanying those who are exploring questions of faith and spirituality, providing opportunity for worship, study and prayer, and offering a place for silence, space and reflection
  • Ethics: Contributing to discussion of ethical and social justice, participating in and organising lectures
  • Community building: Developing opportunities for networking with local faith communities and strengthening the links between BU and the community.

Facilities at Bournemouth University’s Campus
About University Chaplaincy