Attention to the life questions of students
Friday, November 13, 2015, the premiere of the film “Student Chaplaincy. About who they are and why ”during the General Synod of the Protestant Church in Utrecht. The film produced by Maarten van Vliet depicts the importance of the student ministry in its diversity (Protestant, Catholic, humanist). The film tells the story of a student, living in the hectic pace of late modern society and looking for a place where there is time and attention for her. The student ministry is that place for many students in more than ten cities in the Netherlands. Austerity measures are currently threatening some Protestant places in their existence. It is high time to highlight the merits of the student ministry to the synod and to a wider audience. After all, the student ministry makes an essential contribution to the formation of a new generation of intellectual managers. For example, in a retrospective in the film, CEO of Energy Network Aliander Peter Molengraaf also underlined when he spoke about his meeting with the student chaplaincy: “It is still difficult to find an answer on the internet for real life questions”.
Philosophical traditions
In a society where sense seekers walk around, including among students, the presence of a listening ear and attention to the question of meaning is important. Much student ministry is organized in university cities on the basis of the life questions that students have in the field of culture, society, politics and religion. Student pastors draw from ideological traditions where those big questions have already been asked and where answers are available to think about together. In group activities issues such as loss processing, time management and faith orientation are discussed. In addition, life-forming discussions with well-trained pastors take place on an individual basis.
“Student chaplaincy is a type of work that is constantly reinventing itself,” Pastor Joline van Poppel says in the film. According to her, that is also the strength, which has resulted in so many students finding their place in the student ministry in recent years. "How can you be meaningful to this generation?" is a question regularly asked by the pastors.
Rollercoaster of the time
The fact that this connection is regularly found is expressed by the student at the end of the film, when she sighs after contact with the student ministry: “I now think that there is between doing and doing thinking. Reflection towards myself. And make choices, consciously - and not because the rollercoaster of time pushes those choices down your throat ”.
Student chaplaincy can be found at universities and colleges in Amsterdam, Arnhem, Breda, Delft, Eindhoven, Enschede, The Hague, Deventer, Groningen, Leeuwarden, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Utrecht, Tilburg, Wageningen and Zwolle. And is both nationally and internationally oriented.
For more information about the student ministry and the program offered, please visit www.studentenpastoraat-nederland.nl. The 8 minute film “Student Chaplaincy. About who they are and why ”can also be found there from 13 November 2015.

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