Campus Chaplains Hold the Center When Things Fall Apart

From Lab colleagues Celene Ibrahim, Elizabeth Aeschlimann, and Nancy Fuchs Kreimer in Harvard Divinity Bulletin:

THE CAMPUS CHAPLAIN’S job is a peculiar mix of the mundane and the ineffable. Some days, it requires placing just the right-sized catering order, and others it requires emotionally supporting—sometimes physically—an inconsolable parent who has received a nightmarish word of a child’s death. At the outset, a chaplain can only guess which kind of day it may be and show up for the unfolding of the profane or the arrival of the sacred. Campus chaplains are some combination of spiritual guides, trusted confidants, coordinators of meaningful activities, and public intellectuals. Chaplains have to know how to walk with people of very diverse backgrounds through loss, protest, mass casualties, and more. They must know how to support the students who regularly experience racism and other forms of bigotry while also being skilled at the task of helping white-identified students, economically well-off students, and other privileged groups understand how their backgrounds confer privilege that other students cannot take for granted.

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