In 1968, the Diocese of Niagara partnered with the United Church to hire Ritchie McMurray as the University of Guelph’s first full-time chaplain, who served until 1983. Since that time, additional Anglican clergy that served the university campus have included Dorothy Barker (1983-1990), David Howells (1990-1993), and Lucy Reid (1993-2008).
Countless students have been served and nurtured in their Christian faith because of the visionary leadership of these chaplains. Life on campus has changed for the better, because of the legacy of Christian witness offered by the Ecumenical Campus Ministry.
That impact is still being felt today. Two recent Ecumenical Campus Ministry graduates began studies towards a Master of Divinity this Fall, and another recent grad served at this past summer’s World Council of Churches Assembly in Germany. Ecumenical Campus Ministry offers the only explicitly LGBTQ2IA+ affirming ministry on campus, and has become an important space to consider the church’s role in decolonization and social justice.
Most importantly, campus ministry comes alongside students during an important season of their lives—where questions of faith, identity, and vocational discernment are being answered. Campus ministry at Guelph—and other campuses—is good missional value, and has a proven track record of success.
In the early years of diocesan support for campus ministry at the University of Guelph, the diocese’s annual investment in campus ministry at Guelph was just over $8,000. This served a campus with enrolment under 5,000 students.
The current annual contribution from the Diocese of Niagara to the Ecumenical Campus Ministry is $8,500. The University of Guelph now serves more than 30,000 students, and this Fall welcomed its largest-ever class of first-year students—just under 6,000 new Gryphons.
Over the past 55 years, the needs of our campus have grown exponentially, but the support of campus ministry has not kept pace.
That is why the Ecumenical Campus Ministry is asking parishes and individuals to sponsor our 55th year on campus. Identify a sponsorship level that works—Red, Black, or Gold—and submit a pledge form by the end of December.
The only way to be able to serve the University of Guelph campus community for another 55 years is to have all the partners fully on board.