The Chaplaincy offers support and guidance to all students and staff regardless of their faith or philosophy of life.
Hi, my name is Donald MacEwan and I'm the Chaplain to the University and it's lovely to be able to welcome you to St Andrews, to your student experience, whether you're a new or returning student, undergraduate, postgraduate, for whatever reason, it's lovely to say welcome. This is a fantastic town, a great university and congratulations on coming here.
So as I said I'm Donald and I work as the Chaplain. What's a Chaplain? Well, other Chaplains and I do our best to look after you. We try to enhance the experience of students in all sorts of ways and that's for students who have religious faith and for students who follow different paths or philosophies of life, who come from different cultures and traditions.
We're there for everybody. So how does that work in practice?
Well, alongside me there's Samantha Ferguson and there's Bill Shackman.
Sam has a particular care for looking after students, for helping students when things are really difficult and also for leading some worship in two beautiful medieval chapels, St Salvator's and St Leonard's Chapel and I also am involved with leading worship in those beautiful chapels. We have fantastic choirs that sing in those services, a range of different speakers. Everyone is welcome, whether you share the faith of those chapels or do not.
The services start on 3rd of September, a Sunday, and the Sunday services, they are followed by the Pier Walk, a brilliant tradition of students heading out along the pier and heading back.
We also have Bill Shackman. He's another Assistant Chaplain and he is responsible for interfaith and digital and environmental endeavours that we in the Chaplaincy are involved with.
Now we also support faith societies. These are led by students and cover a range of experiences like Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, the Queer Faith Community, then there's Muslim, Jewish, Sikh. We also have honorary chaplains from many of those traditions, also Pagan and Humanist and between the faith societies and the honorary chaplains, we try to support students regardless of the faith tradition that is important to you.
We also offer discussion groups, sometimes meeting in my house, sometimes in the Chaplaincy, which is right here in the middle of St Andrews, St Mary's Place, right across from the Students' Union. We have discussion groups like Thinking Aloud to explore faith and society. There's textual reasoning, bringing people together to do look at scriptural texts from across different traditions and there are more groups you could find out about as well.
Now sometimes things just don't go so well and there are lots of places that you can get support during your time here and the Chaplaincy is one of those.
Sam and I in particular but also Bill and also the honorary chaplains will see students one-to-one, usually in our office right here in town but also on Teams or on the phone and we will listen without judgment and in confidence to whatever you're facing and help you understand it and help you find a good way forward, and that might take just the one visit with us or it might take more and that's okay.
Now how would you get in touch with me or with any of the other chaplains? You can find us on the university website under Chaplaincy and you'll find all our contact details there. You could follow us on Instagram or like us on Facebook where you'll get regular updates. You could drop into the Chaplaincy, come say hello. Friendly secretaries will be happy to meet you.
You could even bump into me in the street. I'm very tall. I'm one meter ninety-eight, that's six foot six and I have bright red hair so I'm hard to miss. I'm also wearing this uniform of Christian ministers, this collar. So come say hello, say you saw this video and it's nice to meet me in person.
I really hope and we all do here in the Chaplaincy that you have a terrific time as a student in St Andrews. Congratulations and it will be great to get to know you.
Bye for now.
The Chaplain to the University is the Revd Dr Donald MacEwan. He is supported by the Assistant Chaplains, the Revd Samantha Ferguson and Mr Bill Shackman, and a group of Honorary Chaplains representing a wide range of faiths and beliefs.