By Kristy Reimers-Loader on February 15, 2020.
It’s midterm time at the College, and students are slouching reluctantly toward exam rooms and eagerly anticipating the study break that begins on Monday. My friends, the place is fairly crackling with activity, and life in the Interfaith Room is no exception.
It’s a small but vibrant community of students, staff and faculty from all programs coming from all across the campus that gathers on Wednesday mornings for Chaplain’s Coffee from 10 a.m. until the coffee’s gone or we’ve run out of things to talk about. Sometimes it’s a constant trickle of people coming and going, and the discussion runs the gamut of subject matter. Other times, it’s a quieter, more subdued affair with just a few individuals taking part in conversations priests and ministers dream of; where themes of good versus evil, heaven and hell, what it means to live under blessing, why bad things happen to good people, even death and dying. Oddly enough, given the gravity of some of the themes, we laugh a lot as we effectively, if not explicitly explore what it means to be a human being and how ridiculous life can be when we can stop ourselves from taking it all too seriously.
My work as the chaplain at Medicine Hat College often involves me meeting people in times of difficulty, if not outright crisis. How could it be otherwise? The college is a microcosm of the greater community, and every one of us has had moments when a sympathetic ear, a word of encouragement, or a prayer is needed and appreciated. But that’s not all I see when I play host for coffee, or serve free soup to students, or when I walk the College halls. I also see people (of all faiths) whose spirituality is deeply inspiring to me as a Christian and as clergy. I see them mingling with others who may profess no faith at all but whose ethical stance lets them both walk together in friendship. I see people every day whose deep commitment to student success goes far beyond outcomes as simplistic as academic achievement. I see people doing the ambitious work of forming citizens; citizens who will drive our future economy, and shape the future of our democracy. I see people helping, and I see people receiving help who are then inspired to pay it forward. In short, I see the Divine, alive and active in the world, every day. And for that, I am very thankful.
Kristy Reimers-Loader is chaplain, Medicine Hat Ecumenical Campus Ministry, Medicine Hat College and president, Medicine Hat Ministerial Association.
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