Day in the Life: Henri Lock

- Stephanie Inman

Lock. Credit: UVic Photo Services

A day in the life of UVic Multifaith Chaplain Henri Lock begins with meditation—usually both yoga and sitting meditation. Since COVID restrictions began, he has taken that practice online to share with others. After that, his day might include preparing for Multifaith programming, meeting with students to talk about life’s big questions, hosting soup suppers and drumming circles, holding a multi-denominational Eucharist, organizing contemplative retreats or hosting a conscious dance event.

Henri was born in Holland and came to Canada when he was 12 years old, initially settling in Edmonton. He did his graduate work in Vancouver, where he met his spouse Leslie. They then worked in the Indigenous community of Anspa’yaxw, in the unceded Gitxsan territories in northern BC for five years, where their first child was born. After this, he and his family came to Victoria and he began his chaplaincy at UVic Multifaith.

In 28 years at UVic, Henri has seen some radical changes to the meaning and practice of campus ministry. “When I first came here, I was assigned by my faith community to serve the people who identified with my faith community—the United Church.” But this more siloed approach has transformed into a much more collaborative and interconnected community; now 14 chaplains from 12 faiths place emphasis on programming that serves students from many traditions and faiths, as well as those from no faith background.

Henri’s colleague at Multifaith, Anglican Chaplain Rev’d Ruth Dantzer, knows Henri has been a leader in this transformation.

Henri has been a colleague, a mentor, and a dear friend to me. He has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to many. Henri led with his heart, and helped shape Multifaith into a rich and meaningful resource at the University of Victoria. He poured love into his vocation as a campus chaplain, and through this, transformed many lives. The ripples of his ministry over these last decades will be felt for a long time to come.
Chaplain Rev’d Ruth Dantzer

This focus on creating a welcoming, inclusive community to all has come partly from listening closely to what students want and need. These changes involved new and fresh ways of offering spiritual support—often around environmental awareness and connection with nature. Henri heard from students that they were increasingly identifying as spiritual, but not necessarily as part of a specific faith tradition. He heard that many students were finding a lot of meaning in spiritual experiences they had at festivals, which led to the creation of Momentum Festival at Multifaith, capturing some elements from festival culture—conscious or ecstatic dance, drumming, yoga, contemplation and meditation—in a substance-free space that attracted around 150 students each year. 

These students are vocal about Henri’s impact on them and their profound experiences at Multifaith.

I am deeply appreciative of Henri’s work and presence in the time I’ve known him. I arrived at the Multifaith Centre as an outsider, yet his kindness and authenticity erased any tentativeness I had and allowed me to enter the community and further the social aspect of meditation. Henri’s love of his work and his faith is ever apparent and boundless.
Angus Townsend, third-year student in the biology-psychology program

Henri also sees a growing recognition across the university community of the integral role that spiritual wellness plays in students’ university experiences and in their personal and academic development. This recognition included Henri taking on an additional role at Multifaith, Coordinating Chaplain, which focuses on strengthening connections with faith groups in the community, deepening relationships with campus partners and administration of overall Multifaith programming. Henri was integral to the recent integration of Multifaith with Counselling and Health, as the Student Wellness Centre, with the aim of supporting students’ emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Henri’s identity has been very connected to his role at Multifaith; his children both attended UVic and integrated themselves with Multifaith while they were students. “It has been really great having part of my kids’ lives here at the university. My personal life has become woven into my role here.” His wife Leslie has also been very involved at Multifaith; for many years she offered energy healing workshops and she was a theme presenter at the last meditation retreat. 

As he prepares to retire, Henri intends to continue with his volunteer work with the Victoria Multifaith Society and the Contemplative Society. And he will have more time for his passion for cycling. “I love bicycling, maybe because I was born Dutch. We are born on bicycles.” 

Reflecting on his time serving the community at UVic, Henri expresses gratitude for the privilege of working with students.

I have so appreciated being part of the university community and to work with students who are so open to exploring their connection with the universe, with one another, their idealism and profound insights.
UVic Multifaith Chaplain Henri Lock


In this story

Keywords: Day in the Life, staff, multifaith, health, community, administrative, student life

People: Henri Lock, Ruth Dantzer

Publication: The Ring

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