Minutes – December 12, 2014

Carleton University Interfaith Chaplaincy Council
meeting December 12, 2014
in the Interfaith Chaplaincy Centre

1:30 pm informal time of visiting the new Centre and visiting with each other
2 pm Call to Order and Introductions

Scott Goldstein Jewish community
Rev. Dr. Meg Illman-White Ecumenical Chaplaincy
Leslie Macdonald Hicks Ecumenical Chaplaincy
Fr. Tim McCauley Roman Catholic Chaplaincy
Michael Perkin Ecumenical Chaplaincy
MaryAnne Pomainville Executive Assistant to the President
Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte President, Carleton University
Rev. Dr. Tom Sherwood Volunteer Interim Coordinator
Sandra Slater Administrative Assistant, President’s Office
Adil Tahseen Vice President Student Services, CUSA

Kristin Konieczny Roman Catholic Chaplaincy
Fr. Michael Sakran Orthodox Christian community
Dr. Aisha Sherazi Muslim community
Imam Sikander Hasmi Muslim community

Opening devotion – Tom Sherwood led an eyes-wide-open devotional exercise, letting the five fingers of his left hand remind us of people and responsibilities related to campus chaplaincy: vulnerable people (the little finger), relationships (ring finger), leaders (middle finger), teachers and guides, advisors and counsellors (index or pointing finger), and work, careers, vocational decisions and volunteer activity (the opposable thumb that allows us to hold tools).

Opening remarks – President Roseann O’Reilly Runte thanked everyone for their generous willingness to be involved, and to take on the leadership and student advisory roles in the months ahead.  She gave some background to the decisions resulting in the ICCentre and ICCouncil, reviewed the reasoning behind the design, her hopes for the future, and her willingness to offer support.

Review of Agenda for this meeting
The agenda was agreed to as circulated.

Schedule of office hours
A Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 calendar was passed around and volunteer chaplains were encouraged to sign up for office hours in the ICCentre for the Winter Term beginning Monday January5th..

– Meg volunteered Tuesdays 10 am to noon
– Tim has been maintaining Wed-Thursday office hours 10 am to 2 pm, and will continue
– Scott indicated that Monday and/or Tuesday afternoons would work for him
– we assumed that Fr. Michael would continue his Thurs late-afternoon schedule (4-6?)
– Tom offered to open the Centre at 8:30 am Mondays and Tuesdays and stay till 10-ish

This initial response results in the Centre being open and staffed by a volunteer chaplain every day from Mon-Thursday in the new term:

8:30 – 10 – Tom
afternoon – possibly Scott

8:30 – 10 – Tom
10 – noon – Meg
afternoon – possibly Scott

10am – 2pm – Tim

10am – 2pm – Tim
4 – 6pm – Michael

Keys were distributed to:
Scott Goldstein
Meg Illman-White
Tim McCauley
Tom Sherwood

Tom has one more key, and will communicate with Fr. Michael about his plans. It is hoped that several other members of the ICCouncil can be recruited, and that some of them will volunteer office hours as well.

Schedule of future meetings
It was quickly determined that Thursday afternoons at 2:30 pm would get the best attendance, and it was suggested that we establish monthly meetings on the second or third Thursday. Reviewing January, we determined that the next meeting will be the Third Thursday – January 15th in the ICC at 2:30 pm. No decision was made about February. The third Thursday is in Study Break (February 19th) which may or may not be a factor. Second Tuesday is February 12th.

Program ideas

  1. Pause Table

Michael and Meg reported on the December Pause Table, every day of exams Monday-to-Friday

Free nourishing food for students in the Atrium of the UniCentre from 10 am till early afternoon, provided by a schedule of parishes and congregations with participation by the Muslim and Jewish communities – 1000-1500 students served per day.

Meg volunteered to coordinate the Pause Table again in April 2015.

Tim offered ways in which the RC Chaplaincy will be more involved and supportive.

  1. Interfaith observance of International Women’s Day, March 8

This is a Sunday this year, but Adil said that CUSA and the Womyn’s Centre are already thinking of a program that might go over several days.  It could certainly include a multifaith panel or prayer service or arts event.  Meg suggested a variety evening with skits and/ormonologues, planned presentations and possibly open-mike. Two off-campus groups of Carleton graduates (Faith House and SCM Ottawa) would like to contribute.

Relationship with CUSA
Relationship between the Interfaith Chaplaincy Centre and Council
and the CUSA Multifaith Centre
Adil Tahseen, Vice President Student Services, CUSA expressed CUSA’s enthusiasm for the new Interfaith Chaplaincy Centre and the Council, and reviewed how the CUSA Multifaith Centre has been operating in its first year of existence. He told Council members how the room can be booked, what sorts of program and events are happening there, and how the ICCentre and ICCouncil might connect. One point is that no food is allowed in the MFC. We do expect people to eat in the ICCentre. In fact, we hope it will become a place where lunch-time programs and informal lunch-time conversations will take place. It is possible that Adil will refer booking requests to the ICCentre, and that the ICCouncil will seek to book times in the MFC. We’ll continue to discuss these relationships in the months ahead. And Adil intends to come to the January 15th meeting.

Review of Agenda for the period to June 30, 2015

  1. establishing the Council
    1. a) membership
    2. b) terms of reference
  2. establishing terms of reference for use of the space


Membership in the Council and Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference for the Space

Terms of Reference for Activities and Behaviour in the Space

Tom presented resources related to the administrative and organizational tasks before us. There are models for ICCouncils and ICCentres at other Canadian universities and at other universities around the world. He highlighted the University of Victoria (B.C.) website and the websites associated with the multifaith centre and the interfaith chaplaincy council at the University of Toronto. There are several other relevant articles, websites and links that may help us do our uniquely Carleton work in the months ahead. They are appended to the Minutes.

We did a brief inventory of our gifts and diversity as a start-up interfaith council. We have some clergy and some lay people, women and men, Jewish, Muslim and Christian members. There is a need to go beyond the Abrahamic religions – Dr.Dehejia of the Carleton Hindu Centre could be approached. The Buddhist, Sikh and Baha’I communities also, perhaps a conservative, evangelical Christian representative. Scott volunteered to help the Council communicate more effectively through social media, possibly a website.

Meg emphasized that a vision of the hoped-for community and activities must precede both organizational design and room design, so we talked about that in general and specific ways. One idea seemed to be agreed to by consensus: that religion-specific programs could take place in the Centre if they were open to all… So the Roman Catholic mass would take place down in the MFC, but a discussion on Liberation Theology could take place in the ICCentre – open to people of all faiths or none. A Jewish discussion group – open to attendance by non-Jews – could be located in the ICCentre. We have a vision of the Centre as a place where people of different religions and diverse spirituality will meet each other, get to know each other, engage each other in informal conversation, and engage each other in planned conversations. In our discussion, we emphasized the importance of the listening part of conversation. We spoke of the Centre as a place where diversity would be celebrated, where faith questions could be brought – not necessarily to be answered in definitive ways, but to be wrestled with in relationship and community – and where Safe Space was assured even as differences were brought forward and engaged. We hope to develop the ICCentre as a place where common humanity is apparent in the religious diversity. We spoke of the envisioned ICCentre as “an open place” (where people seek to listen and understand), a “place of peace” (not confrontation), a place of “community and conversation” (not proselytization).

The group asked Tom to post the links to resources that will help us see how other people at other universities have worked to achieve these goals.

3:45 pm The meeting closed with thoughts of candles being lit in the next hour as the Jewish Sabbath would begin and in churches on the weekend as Advent would continue. The metaphor of the candle inspires our hope that the ICCentre will be a place of warmth and light for students in the months and years ahead.

December 2014 Pause Table – Meg and Michael managing it, Scott and the Jewish community participating on Monday December 15th, Tim hoping to connect the RC Chaplaincy, St. Margaret Mary’s and other resources

Office hours – the commitments and schedule as outlined in the minutes
Tom to connect with the following people about this:
Fr. Michael Sakran – Orthodox Christian community
Dr. Aisha Sherazi – Muslim community
Imam Sikander Hasmi – Muslim community

Programming – Adil to consult with CUSA and the Womyns’ Centre, Tom to get back to the off-campus alumni who would like to do something (Faith House and SCM Ottawa), everyone to be prepared to discuss this in January

Membership – Tom to follow up with the suggested Hindu leader, the people who missed today’s meeting, and the Buddhist community; everyone to give thought to recruiting appropriate people for the ICCouncil and test their ideas by email.

NEXT MEETING Thursday January 15 at 2:30 pm in the Interfaith Chaplaincy Centre.