Three students wearing masks while standing outside at a chaplaincy event.

Chaplaincy Provides Support During Pandemic

December 7, 2021

Since COVID 19 first began impacting campus life at the University of Richmond in March of 2020, the Office of the Chaplaincy has worked to maintain a sense of support and normalcy for our students. In the earliest days of the Pandemic, when campus life shifted online, we continued to offer all of our weekly programs on Zoom. Students, faculty, and staff gathered virtually for Midday Prayer, Shabbat, our Kairos contemplative worship service, Sacred Pause and many of our other programs as we all worked to make sense of our new reality. As life shifted and changed for our campus, the Chaplaincy provided consistency and a place to gather and process the events unfolding around us. With over 10 virtual programs offered most weeks of the spring 2020 semester, Spiders found hope and encouragement from the Office of the Chaplaincy when many of them needed it most.

As students joined us back on campus in the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021, the Chaplaincy was ready to greet them! We offered modified, COVID-safe versions of many of our programs including Study Break for the Soul, our Sylvester lecture series, and the continuation of our robust weekly schedule. Many of our student communities gathered in outdoor spaces, continued to use Zoom, and found creative ways to join one another in person for worship, learning, and community building. Despite the new challenges presented each semester, our Spider community came together and fostered strong relationships, a deep faith, and engaged in meaningful dialogue about our values, ethics and deepest held commitments.

Throughout the fall 2021 semester, we have continued to provide rich opportunities for engagement and community building. We led our first pilgrimage since fall of 2019, inviting twelve students to explore meditation, silence, hiking, and yoga as a part of Pilgrimage: Arizona. We hosted Claudia Rankine as our lecturer for the 34th annual Weinstein-Rosenthal Forum on Faith, Ethics and Global Society, and offered at least 12 weekly events for students to connect and find support throughout the semester. We hosted several meals as a part of our "Consider This" dinner series and we continue to host meaningful worship and prayer services, all planned in light of University of Richmond COVID policies and precautions.

While life has certainly changed for all of us since March of 2020, some things remain the same: the Office of the Chaplaincy is still here to offer support, opportunities for engagement, and meaningful worship and spiritual exploration. We look forward to all that is in store, next semester and beyond!