Thirty students set off to explore the city in a new way, hopping on a coach for a whistle-stop tour of Bristols spiritual geography - an opportunity described by participants as "unique", "helpful, insightful and uplifting", and "a fantastic afternoon".
The event, organized by the Chaplaincy team in conjunction with the Students Union, aimed to give students the opportunity to engage with the diverse range of faith communities represented in the city by visiting five different places of worship.
The group started at Bristol and West Progressive Synagogue, then visiting Bristol Central Mosque, Bristol Hindu Temple, and St Lukes Church in Barton Hill, and finishing at the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre. At each stop, a member of the faith community provided a brief introduction to the building, its use by its members and their engagement with the wider local community, followed by the chance to ask questions.
Revd Prof Martin Gainsborough is used to talking to students as a Professor of Development Politics. During the Faith Crawl, he hosted the visit to St Luke's Barton Hill where he is a curate.
"Over tea and biscuits in the church, I talked about our Drop In club on Sundays (bacon sandwiches, pool and prayers), our work with children and young people, and in the pubs, and about our relationship with the local mosque," said MArtin.
"I described how I see ourselves as engaged in a process of coming alongside the wider non-church going public, affirming people, praying for them, supporting them in times of need, and taking opportunities when they arise to explore how just possibly Jesus Christ might have something important to say for their lives and the life of the community."
As the afternoon drew to a close, the group returned to the Chaplaincy to share a tasty curry and reflect on their impressions of the day, with many finding it had helped them to reflect more deeply on their own faith. Simon Potter, an ordinand at Trinity College on placement at the University Chaplaincy who took part in the event, said, "This was one of the highlights of my own ordination course which has enriched my love for others, for truth and for God's world."
While there were clear differences between traditions, in both belief and practice, students were also interested to see a consistent focus on love for others. Revd Ed Davis, Anglican and Coordinating Chaplain concludes:
"As a Multifaith Chaplaincy, we provide a shared space within the University, where difference can be encountered and engaged with, and where grounded relationships between all faiths and none can be modeled and experienced, in a way that helps equip students for life after university."
The Faith Crawl is part of the Multifaith Chaplaincys calendar of events for students and university staff, exploring faith and spirituality.