I am in Charge of Religion
The best part of my job is meeting so many different people.
Being a Student Chaplain for International students you meet people from all corners of the world and people from very different backgrounds. I’m also privileged to work together with the good people at the External relations office at Lund University.
These are the people handling all contacts with foreign students and contacts with Universities abroad. Twice a year they organize the General Information Meeting where newly arrived International students come to get information about Lund and the University. My job at these gatherings is to help Students with information about places of worship in Lund and around Lund. I’m a minister in the Church of Sweden, but since Students come from all over the world and have very different backgrounds when it comes to religion I help the University by being an “all religion consult”. What this means is that whenever the University needs information about religion in Lund or get questions from students regarding religion I help them out.
For some Student I act as a religious detective. Say you are a Quaker looking for a community to belong to or are a Muslim wondering where to pray – if you study at Lund University I am your man. I am myself a Christian and work as a minister in the Cathedral, but as a Student Chaplain working in collaboration with Lund University I am a Multi-faith consultant.
Sometimes standing in front of 2000 students it is hard to know if someone is listening – in the beginning I felt out of place. This has changed however, as Students have helped me to understand how important my job is in this respect. First there was the Student from India whose first priority was to find a Church to belong to while she was here in Lund. Her whole family was praying for her, that she would find someone to guide her right, and she was herself quite worried. How on earth was she going to find a religious community to belong to in this strange land? Later she told me how happy she had been to see me at the General Information Meeting.In her eyes I was an answer to her own and her family’s prayers. It is not a bad feeling to be the answer to someone’s prayer!
Recently another thing happened. A few days after GIM I was walking in Lundagård as a young man from China called out to me – Excuse me Sir! I recognize you – you are the one in charge of religion – I have something to ask you. Yes! I am the one in charge of religion!