As well as our regular events, we also host a number of annual and one-off events, from tours of different faith centres to services. All these events are run by the Chaplaincy team. Here is a list of our annual and one-off events that the Chaplaincy has run in the past.
Death Cafe (Monthly)
A death café is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a sharing group rather than a grief support or counselling session. The aim is to create a comfortable and safe space for peoples to talk and share personal experience and feelings about death. To find out more about Death Café, click here. At the Chaplaincy, we host a Death Cafe for staff and students at the university every month during term time.
Faith Crawl (Biannually)
The Faith Crawl is one of our most popular events of the year. As a group of between 10 to 35 people, we travel around to different local faith centres in Bristol. Every time we run the event, we switch up which faith centres we visit, to allow us to visit a range of centres from different faith groups. At each centre, we have a short talk from representatives of that local faith community about how faith is lived out. This is followed by an opportunity for the staff and students to ask any questions that they have. To end the evening off, we all head back to the chaplaincy for a vegetarian curry and an opportunity to reflect on the day. You can watch a video of our 2014 Faith Crawl here:
Welcome/Wisdom Talks (Biannually)
Twice a year, in the Autumn and Spring term, the Chaplaincy team hosts a series of discussions based on faith and spirituality. Typically, we hear a short 5-minute talk from one or two chaplains about their take on a specific topic, then open into a conversation in which everyone can contribute. In the past, we have covered: Wellbeing, finance, mental health, relationships, poetry, politics and activism. This is a great opportunity for any staff or students to explore faith and spirituality in a relaxed and safe space.
Spirituality Retreats (Annually)
These are opportunities for any student, regardless of their religious views, to enjoy a weekend of fun and relaxation whilst learning about aspects of Christian spirituality. The retreats often include short talks, country walks and an oppeotunity to socialise with other students, often from different universities. In the past, we have visited Cold Ash retreat centre and Worth Abbey.
Carol Service (Annually)
Every December, the Chaplaincy team organises the University Carol service, held in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building. The theme is different every year and includes a mixture of carols, readings and reflections. The service ends with the traditional mince pie!
For 2020, the Carol Service moved online and premiered on Youtube on 16 December. In the midst of everything that has happened this year, and potential changes to the way we are able to celebrate, the theme for the service was ‘This year, Christmas means...’. If you missed the service or would like to watch it again, you can do so here. You can also download the order of service booklet here: Carol Service booklet (PDF, 9,641kB)
Anne Spencer Memorial Lecture (Annually)
Every year in the Spring or Summer team, the Chaplaincy team hosts a guest speaker to give a lecture on a topic that they are interested in. Recent lectures include:
- Sami Awad on peacemaking in the Holy Land
- Ruth Hunt on LGBT inclusion and faith
- Linda Woodhead on the rise of 'no religion'
- Kalwant Bhopal on BAME experiences in HE
Unfortunately, in the current context, we don't yet know when the next Anne Spencer Memorial Lecture will be. However, you can access talks from previous years on our Youtube Channel.
Christmas events (Annually)
For the first time in December 2019, the Chaplaincy team offered staff and students an opportunity to gather for a meal and walk during the Christmas week. This included the group sharing a meal together on Christmas eve then attending a Christmas service together at Bristol Cathedral on Christmas Day. After the service, the group then went on a long walk around the city centre. The aim of these events were to ensure that staff and students who are staying in Bristol over the Christmas period, had the chance to share Christmas with a group of people.
For Christmas 2020, the brief relaxation of the lockdown restrictions meant that the Chaplaincy team could invite students to the Chaplaincy building in person, to share Christmas Treats & Traditions from all over the world. In small groups of 6 at a time (all masked and socially distanced), we came together to share our thoughts on music, decorations and some much loved food that we all enjoy at Christmas time. The warm fruit punch was a winner and the gift bag filled with cakes, sweets and treats from all over the world contributed to a warm and festive feeling!
End of year celebration (Annually)
To celebrate the end of the academic year, in June we invite all students and staff to join the Chaplaincy team for an end of year celebration. This is a great opportunity to celebrate and say goodbye over some good vegetarian food!
10th Anniversay Celebration, 2016
In 2006, we celebrated ten years since becoming a Multifaith Chaplaincy. This included running a sucessful academic symposium on interfaith issues, with guest speakers including Professor Tariq Modood and Professor Grace Davie. The celebration then continued with a party in the Chaplaincy and a performance by the Bristol Suspensions, a student acapella group.