life together

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Chapel House is an 8-bedroomed Georgian building in Bath with a difference:  the students who live there commit to pray together and support one another alongside their studies at either Bath university.  Life together is not always easy, but the students who chose to have a go at living in community have said that it was worth it.  At the end of its first year, students shared some of the blessings they’d experienced by being a part of the Chapel House Community:

“…having a group of people you can come home to, depth of friendship.  It’s exceeded my expectations.  I felt supported and encouraged and dialogue has been good, the people God orchestrated.”

“I had a whole community of people praying and supporting me during a time when I needed it the most.”

“Church is only once a week and so it can take time to create relationships but this house is so special in that there is opportunity to cultivate relationships every day.”

“I liked going home and looked forward to it at the end of the day. It has been fun and mealtimes have been good.  I’ve learned more about people and community.”

“Chapel House has taught me how to go deeper in relationships, how to be vulnerable with people, to be authentic and not put on a front, and how to trust people who want the best for me.”

We have a new community in place for 2019/2020 but anyone is welcome to join us for our monthly community meals.  Get in touch if you’d like to come along and see what it is like.

…and relax

Student life sometimes feels like quite an extreme contrast between times of intense hard work and times of relaxation.  The chaplaincy teams at both universities in Bath want to support students though all of this, going with the flow and being there when students want us to be.

The balance between work and rest is something that most of us struggle to get right but our wellbeing depends upon us finding a pattern that works for us.  In the sixth century, St Benedict wrote guidelines to help those in his community to live life together with a good balance of worship, work, study, relationships and hospitality.  I have a sense that true community is what helps us to focus on the priorities that we want to keep.  On our own we can quickly get too tied up in our work, or procrastinate fulfilling our commitments but a Spirit-filled community can call us back to who we want to be.

At Bath Spa University, we experimented this year by setting up a marquee with mocktails and relaxing activities on their beautiful grounds during the exam period.  It was a simple idea but welcomed by many:  a reminder to breathe and relax, to smile and engage with others and a celebration of all that has been achieved.

Monday Night Meals

IMG_7954Every Monday night a group of students get together from both Bath Universities to share food and conversation.  We all have different backgrounds and stories and it’s been brilliant to get to know each other and to explore what we think is important about life and faith and our place in the world. This term we’ve been talking about Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 and we’ve also been challenged to try to live it out in different ways each week.  There is always room around the table for new people, so get in touch if you’d like to try it out.

Cake and Community

What a week!  Freshers has been a fantastic week of getting to know lots of new people and sharing mountains of cake donated by generous Methodists in Bath.  It’s also been the start of the new Chapel House Christian community where 8 students have committed to live for one year together, sharing meals, prayer and service.  With such a hope and joy-filled start to the year, it will be exciting to see what comes next!

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If you are visiting one of the Bath universities on an Open Day and would like to chat to a student, a local or a chaplain, please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.  You might also find this website, written by students and for students to be useful reading : Christian Student Guide.

grace

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I read recently that ‘one of the greatest things we must unlearn in the kingdom of God is the concept of mine’.  The concept of ‘mine’ is an easy trap to fall into when we forget that everything is from God.  In the words of a song, ‘life is a gift and the giver is good’.

At the end of the academic year it’s good to look back and recognise the ways that God has been with us, in the hard times and in the celebrations and to give thanks in particular for the beautiful people who have been our companions on this bit of the journey.  I know they have been evidence of God’s grace to me.