In a double celebration at Bradford University, both a new chaplain and a new chaplaincy space have been commissioned by the Bishop of Bradford.
The Revd Andrew Howorth joined the University’s Interfaith Chaplaincy team at the start of the academic year seven weeks ago and will co-ordinate a team which includes Roman Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist colleagues.
Andrew (pictured second from the left) was commissioned by Bishop Toby Howarth (far left) in a short ceremony at the new Faith Centre in the University. Leading the event was Prof. Udy Archibong (third from left) Professor of Diversity and a Lay Canon at Bradford Cathedral. The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain (also pictured on the right) spoke about the importance of building peace and understanding. Also present were colleagues, local clergy, university staff and students.
Andrew, previously Assistant Curate at St Peter’s Church, has also been a Methodist chaplain at High Royds Hospital, and later Senior Chaplain for the mental health trust in Leeds.
Speaking of his new role, Bishop Toby said, “Andrew has been doing this for a long time in different roles and in different ways and it is just so exciting. You will be building on the work of previous chaplains and bringing all your experience, especially of mental health as well as other areas to this role.”
The university’s new inter-faith space was also dedicated. What was an engineering store room is now the 'Faith Zone' which offers pastoral support, counselling and a place for prayer for members of the University.
Bishop Toby told the gathering, “This is a geographical shared space - a space where anyone can come in. But actually the point is how we make spaces like this more than just a physical shared space. That’s what the chaplaincy is really about. It is recognising that in a great world university like Bradford people are coming and mixing from many different backgrounds. The trouble is, in our world it is very easy to exist in our own little ‘echo chambers’ where we just relate to the people who are like us. But universities of all places are where we should be engaging with people who are different.
“Medical science has shown that when you engage with people who are different your brain works differently”, he added. “It’s actually good for you!”
“I am very excited about this post”, said Andrew. “It presents many opportunities to share the gospel news and offer the hand of friendship and hospitality to students, many of whom are a long way from home.”