About us

Multifaith Services is based out of the UVic Interfaith Chapel
Multifaith Services is based out of the UVic Interfaith Chapel

Who are we?

We are a culturally diverse and multi-faith community.

Chaplains and representatives are appointed by local faith communities. Our team includes Bahà'í, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian appointees.

Why we are here

The mission of Multifaith Chaplains Services is to provide religious support and spiritual care for the students and staff at the University of Victoria. We offer pastoral counselling, prayer and meditation groups, learning circles, religious education, retreats, and workshops on a variety of topics in order to support the faith development of the campus community. We also serve as a liaison between the campus and religious groups in the greater Victoria area.

What do we do?

  • We can connect you with a student group for an experience of community and support with others who share your religious tradition or spiritual interests.
  • We offer opportunities for learning about different world religions and enhancing your own spiritual practices.
  • We facilitate discussion groups on a wide variety of theological, ethical and justice-related concerns.
  • We provide personal counselling, emphasizing spiritual wisdom and faith perspectives for coping, healing and reconciliation.
  • We are here at critical moments to facilitate rites of passage in your denomination or religion, including weddings, funerals, and memorial services.
  • We will journey with you as you develop your whole person: intellectual, social, physical and spiritual.

How did we begin?

The University of Victoria was established as a secular University in 1963 and no consideration was given to meeting the spiritual needs of the University community. During the late 1960's and early seventies, the Catholic, Anglican, and United Church began to discuss the possibility of establishing a joint ministry at the University of Victoria. In 1972, Father Leo Roberts (Catholic) provided pastoral services informally to students at the University. In 1973, Dr. Marlowe Anderson (Anglican) began to work with Fr. Leo, and in 1974 Clare Holmes (United Church) joined their ministry team. They provided pastoral care to the University community as a whole, not just to their denominational communities.

However, these early chaplains did not have a formal location on campus. As students asked repeatedly for a place to meet with them on campus, the University recognized the value to this service and responded by entering into a more official relationship with the ministers. Documents were submitted to the Board of Govenors in 1973 requesting establishment of a joint chaplaincy on campus.

The Chaplaincy was established with a Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the three original faith communities in 1977. At this time, it was called the Ecumenical Chaplaincy.

How we grew

The Ecumenical Chaplaincy's first home was Office 103 in the Lansdowne Residence.

In 1977, it moved into the University Centre. During the eighties a variety of religious traditions sought membership and associate membership on the team: Christian Science, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal and Presbyterian. During this period of time, friendships with a variety of non-Christian communities developed. In 1991, Buddhist and Muslim chaplains joined the team and the Ecumenical Chaplaincy became the Interfaith Chaplaincy. After several years of association, the Wiccan community appointed a chaplain in 1997.

After a move to the Campus Services Building, the team continued to grow. The year 2000 was an important year at the Chaplaincy. The Bahà'í and Jewish communities in Victoria formalized their long-standing relationships with the Chaplaincy with the appointment of two Jewish chaplains (Conservative and Reform) and a Bahà'í representative. In 2001 The Salvation Army also appointed its first Chaplain. In the fall of 2002, The Orthodox Church in America appointed the first Christian Orthodox representative to the Chaplaincy.

To better reflect and support the diverse faith traditions represented to serve the university's faculty and students, Interfaith Services was renamed Multifaith Services from August 2010.

The support staff position at the Chaplaincy began on a volunteer basis. As the team grew, so did the need for reception, records management, bookkeeping and general organizational assistance. Judy Strother and Jane Brett held this position in the early 90's followed by Elizabeth Kuhr (1998-2002) and Sabine Teetzel (2002-2010). Rafael Oei currently holds this position.

On 28 April 2016, the chaplains' offices of the Multifaith Centre was relocated to the newly renovated Interfaith Chapel.

Annual reports and handbook