The week-long conference is hosted every four years in different locations throughout the world. The chaplains at the 2016 conference came from all corners of the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK, Africa, Europe and Hong Kong. They gathered to share their experiences of chaplaincy in different universities, polytechnics, colleges and education institutions.
Rev Jay Robinson is youth minister at High Street Uniting Church in Frankston and chaplain at Monash University Peninsula Campus. She is also national president of the Tertiary Campus Ministry Association, who coordinated the 2016 conference alongside the Aotearoa New Zealand Tertiary Chaplains Association.
“Most people would agree that Bendigo in the middle of winter is a cold place.
“However, the atmosphere was definitely not cold at LaTrobe University Bendigo campus during the Global Chaplaincy Conference,” Ms Robinson said.
The chaplains came together under the banner of the International Association of Chaplains in Higher Education. It is a multifaith association that also welcomes chaplains with no faith backgrounds.
“As you can imagine, it was a wide breadth of experience that was shared,” Ms Robinson said.
“The theme for the conference was ‘Digging, Dialogue and Diversity’ and all you had to do was watch and listen to the conversations over morning and afternoon tea, lunch and dinner to see this theme in action every day.”
For many, the highlight of the week was the multifaith panel held at the Ulumbarra Theatre in Bendigo, which discussed the topic of ‘Formation vs Radialisation: Impacting Society through Education, Religion and Spiritual Expression.’
“This panel had input from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist faiths as well as input from University deans,” Ms Robinson explained.
“It was a great night of discussion and learning.”
Ms Robinson thanked the various churches, universities and councils for making the event possible.