My Licensing Service

It is a very great pleasure to welcome you to the licensing service for Mark Dean as a Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser for University of the Arts London

Welcome, on behalf of the University, to Dr Richard Chartres, Bishop of London

Welcome also to the Reverend Stephen Williams, Senior Chaplain of the Chaplaincy Service for London Universities and our key liaison person who worked with us in appointing Mark

Welcome to friends and colleagues of Mark, here to support him

And welcome to students and staff of the University – thank you also for being here to support Mark

I wanted to take this opportunity to say a few words about the University’s commitment to Chaplaincy and an Interfaith Advisory Service

Our Chaplaincy helps us to reflect on the spiritual and emotional aspects of our life as a University community and on our own lives as individuals in that community

It supports us and challenges us in thinking about our purpose as a University and as members of staff and students, and as creative practitioners, and as people

Of course, faith and belief are a central element and influence in our subject areas, in the arts, in design, in fashion

and I would argue chaplaincy has a central role in a specialist arts institution like ours

Our chaplaincy is also central to our efforts to fulfil our goals around Equality and Diversity

Faith and Belief is a key strand of our Equality and Diversity framework

In our Equality scheme we commit to creating a welcoming and inclusive culture where people of all religions, faiths and beliefs are valued and celebrated

Our Inter-faith chaplaincy is at the heart of fulfilling that commitment

My own belief system is the product of large doses of Celtic Roman Catholicism and of Socialism and Marxism, so the fact that I’m a key participant in this service seems to me to be a nice example of the diversity and plurality that we seek to foster as a University

So finally, a couple of words about how our chaplaincy manifests itself in the day to day and week to week life of the University

Our Chaplains carry out specific functions including:

Offering pastoral care – a service available to all staff and students regardless of faith

Supporting students who feel a long way from home

Organising multi-faith advice

Putting on meditation sessions

Looking out for the welfare of faith communities in the university

Arranging trips to places of spiritual/artistic interest (Watch their webpage)

Responding to crises

And initiating projects bringing together art and spirituality – Mark pioneered pop-up chaplaincy at sites across the University

And Chaplains are also bridge builders – forming links between people and groups, having conversations – at any opportunity – about work, meaning, art, values, intolerance, belief, hope, interreligious understanding and sometimes just the weather . They have flexibility and a freedom to roam that most staff do not have

Our message to staff and students is:

Use them, talk to them about your projects, and invite them to your parties, launches, events, committees and gatherings.

Mark – you are already a key member of our community

Your work, and the work of your fellow chaplain William, is important to us

And we are pleased to welcome you formally through this service

I now hand over to the Bishop to begin the service.

To A Friend’s House (The Way Is Never Long)  – video by Mark Dean, music by Grubby Mitts

Seal of Approval – performance by Cara Rainbow

Thanks to everyone who came and also those who couldn’t be there but sent me good wishes –
I really appreciated your support!