Church.’No.’ ‘God.’ ‘Ah!’

The Rev. Allison Chubb
The Rev. Allison Chubb
Published August 29, 2014

Declining resources side, the cultural diversity of today’s campus can be daunting, especially for a new chaplain. “Perhaps my greatest challenge here is learning to discern what falls into the realm of spirituality when the majority of students are not Christians and will never come to the eucharist or a retreat,” says the Rev. Allison Chubb, since 2013 the Anglican chaplain of St. John’s College at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. What does is mean to be a minister of Christ in such a context? “I’ve decided that it means to journey alongside students in whatever situation they find themselves. To look for the Holy One walking amongst them and to be as Christ for hurting students.”

The growing presence of international students can also test a chaplain’s mettle. “I’ve had fun trying to explain who I am,” says Chubb. Often the conversation goes like this. “I’m the chaplain.” “Never heard that word.” “Priest.” “Nope.” “Church.” “No.” “God?” “Ah!” Their faces light up. They’ve heard that word-so that’s who she is! “Now I just tell them I’m a friend of students,” says Chubb. Ultimately, though, she feels privileged to walk alongside young adults at such a pivotal time in their lives in such a multicultural setting. “It’s the perfect context for trying new things, for discerning what God is up to, for hearing truth, blunt and raw, in the form of students. I’ve worked with students as an English teacher, but never have I been gifted with glimpses into students’ lives in this way.”


  • Diana Swift

    Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.

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