I am an Atheist…
…Just thought I ought to reiterate that before taking a step away from Professor Dawkins for this post.
Yesterday (saturday 28th November 2009) was the Diocese of Winchester’s emergency Synod Meeting to approve thier budget for 2010, and it was a brilliant display of institutional betrayal by the Diocese toward the University of Southampton’s Chaplaincy, whose funds will now be withdrawn next year, despite the good work of Rev. Simon Stevens (the anglican chaplain), Sister Catherine Cruz and all the volunteers who have worked with him over the past four or so years.
There are about 24,000 students at the university of southampton, and whilst the majority of them are probably not Christians, let alone Anglicans, the Chaplaincy is a place for anyone, of any denomination, religion, or indeed those students like me who are of no religion. The Chaplaincy is a place where anyone can get pastoral care, in the true ‘christian’ spirit.
Having met Simon (some of you may know him as “Yellow”) on at least one occasion, and seen his involvement in many student societies and with the SUSU.TV station at the union, I for one think it’s a damnable disgrace to be making such a jolly good chap redundant, especially when the Diocese knows damn well that neither the University nor the Students Union are in a position to help because of secular constitutions.
Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems like the high and mighty of the church would rather line their own nests than support people who really do work for the good of their communities!
You can see Simon’s account of what happened at the synod on his blog: – http://darksidechaplaincy.blogspot.com/2009/11/diocesan-synod.html
You can find more details of the SaveSotonChaplaincy campaign at their website: – http://www.savesotonchaplaincy.co.uk/
Or for information on just the Chaplaincy, here’s their site: http://www.chaplaincy.soton.ac.uk
So in the interest of a jolly good chap, please take some interest in the campaign and show your support, even if it just means popping in to the chaplaincy to give some words of encouragement.
Benjamin David Brooks