Photo By: Mackenzie Gerry
Brock welcomes students from all religious backgrounds and the Faith and Life Centre provides space, services, and events for each religious community.
The Faith and Life Centre is located at Alphie’s Trough, which is tucked away by the Bruce Trail right behind the Thistle Complex towards the back of campus. Surrounded by nature, this building serves as a great spot for quiet study, religious practice and book-ahead club gatherings.
Alphie’s Trough has gone through a year-long renovation which has made the centre fully accessible to everyone. After a long closure it is ready to re-open in September. There is a capacity for about 70 students and COVID-19 protocols set by the university will be followed in the space.
“We are a space for all students, from all walks of faith, life, spirituality and humanist perspectives to come and explore a new spiritual idea or to practice their own,” said Rev. Zack Debruyne, Christian Reformed Chaplain at the Faith and Life Centre. “We are also constantly ensuring that the space itself does not feel uninviting or only for those who have a religious identity.”
Being home to many religious beliefs, Alphie’s Trough is inclusive to all. Religious symbols are only on display when there is a service taking place, and different religious services are hosted on different days, such as meditation on Monday nights with the Buddhist Chaplain and Monk, Jummah prayer on Fridays and Mass on Sundays. Additionally, two Wudu stations have been added for the Muslim community.
“It is so important that the university provides space for all students, no matter what they believe, to ensure that they are flourishing,” said Rev. Debruyne. “So many of the services that we offer seek to expand the perspective of our community at Brock.”
Alphie’s Trough is one of three places on campus available for religious or spiritual services. The Muslim prayer room is located at Harrison Hall, which is also the home of Student Health Services. The Rita Welch meditation room is located at Mackenzie Chown A-Block and it is open to anyone looking for a place of meditation or prayer.
The Faith and Life Centre also offers a variety of services, such as personal support, or spiritual counselling with a Chaplain. For more information visit the Chaplain page where you will be able to connect with a Chaplain that shares your religious beliefs.
The Faith and Life Centre is preparing to welcome students with a variety of both online and in-person events in the upcoming year. Starting with the grand re-opening in September, the centre will host weekly community Bible studies, community dinners, campfires at the fire pit just outside the building and weekly hikes on Thursday afternoons.
Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community meals initiative for Brock students that they previously co-ordinated will not be able to continue this fall, but there is a possibility it will be back for the winter term. This program is typically hosted by the Faith and Life Centre and is a time where all students are invited to gather and share a meal provided by the local community. This is a great time to come together and learn about other people’s beliefs and make connections at Brock, so keep an eye out for it this winter.
Rev. Debruyne invites everyone to the Faith and Life Centre this fall, even if it’s just for a visit to see what they’re all about.
“The idea of a space called the ‘Faith and Life Centre’ can be intimidating if you do not identify with a particular faith, religion, or spiritual identity. But please come and check us out before you write us off. We are a community-oriented space for the whole Brock community, not just those who would consider themselves to be ‘people of faith’,” said Rev. Debruyne.
So whether you are looking to join your religious community or learn about others, the Chaplains at the Faith and Life Centre are there to support and guide Brock students through their journey.
To stay up to date and find more information on everything Faith and Life, you can find them @faithlifebrock on Instagram or you can visit the Faith and Life webpage.