The Rev. Roberta Fraser, UBC chaplain and rector of St. Anselm’s.

Its been my privilege for the last five years to be the Anglican chaplain for the University of British Columbiadoing ministry with and for the studentsin addition to being the rector of a parish. Over that time weve gathered a group of students and formed a community of young people from many different parts of the world.

The challenge of working with students at UBC is attempting to let people know you are there and have something to offer. With 45,000 students plus another 15,000 faculty and staff UBC is a city unto itself.

Some Anglican students that are used to worshipping every Sunday come looking to find the Anglican community here while they are at UBC. Others have never worshipped at an Anglican church (or indeed any Christian church) and are seekers. These are the young people that it is both vital to attract and hard to connect with.

Working with the students is a joy. They are bright, caring, articulate and committed wanting to do something worthwhile in the world. Like other young people their pastoral concerns are mostly about issues like problems in love relationships, whether or not their academic decisions are taking them towards the right career decisions, making friends and where the future is taking them.


Thanksgiving dinner for UBCs Anglican students and some of their friends who were alone for the holiday took place this year at St. Anselms, which is near UBC.

Most have come alone to UBC to study and are in need of community and support. Many of the students I work with are international students who come from far-flung corners of the world and have left their families and everyone they know behind. They look to the church as a place that can offer them some sense of connection and support.

Occasionally when a student feels the institution of UBC or some professor is not treating them fairly I am able to use my position within the university community to do advocacy for them.

These are young people who will be the future leaders of society and the church. They care deeply about whats happening in the world, the environment, social justice and ethics. Sometimes we have spirited discussions at our regular Sunday dinner and fellowship time about things happening in the world around us or in the wider faith community or something that arose out of my sermon that week.

Sometimes they want to go deeper in their faith and explore the big themes of faith and theology or explore different ways of prayer. And sometimes they just want to discuss the latest movies or play games. Together we go on retreats, make meals and eat together, worship, have study groups and bible study, do outreach to those in need or raise money for good causes.