Faith and Spirituality
The university warmly welcomes those of all faiths and world views, offering spaces for exploring values, beliefs and spirituality.
A strong heritage
The University has its roots in the foundation of the Cheltenham Training College in 1847 by Revd Francis Close and others. Today we continue to be supported by our Foundation Fellows and we’re a member of the Cathedrals Group along with fifteen other universities that share a history of training teachers and were originally church colleges.
The University offers chaplaincy across all of its sites, with a team of five chaplains including those from the Christian tradition and a Muslim chaplain, and also associate chaplains from the other major world faiths.
We offer a full programme which includes discussion groups, craft activities, Mindfulness sessions, times of shared silence and prayer, a weekly Communion service, and Friday Prayers for Muslim students and staff. Every year we put on a campus-based ‘retreat’ over couple of weeks, with a number of staff and students taking part.
The chaplains support international students through the weekly World Café and other activities, and enable rich interfaith dialogue over a weekly lunch together. As part of Student Services, chaplains offer a listening ear to any students who feel that they would find this helpful.
A welcoming space
We are very fortunate to have a beautiful Sanctuary Space on each campus. In these spaces we welcome all students and staff to come and relax, play games or instruments, meet others and find community over a tea or coffee. Alongside the social and kitchen areas there is a Prayer and Meditation room – a calm space in the middle of busy university life.
The Chapel at Francis Close Hall is a historic and impressive space used for music and art, for prayer and worship, and for our weekly World Café for international and UK students. Current and former students and staff come to be married there, and we mark Remembrance Day and hold a candlelit Carol Service each year. Alongside the Chapel is a busy social space with a kitchen, sofas and a pool table – a great place to come and chill.
There are currently two student faith societies, the Christian Union and the Islamic Society, both very friendly and welcoming to new members. The chaplains are also able to offer information about the many local churches and faith centres in Cheltenham and Gloucester.
The Chaplaincy blog has more information about our activities including contact details. Do get in touch, or drop in for a coffee and a chat.