Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU reestablishes University chaplain position

Gary Brower will join the University of Denver this summer as the new University chaplain, bringing with him 17 years of experience as a campus minister at major universities.

The University last had a chaplain in 1968 when Maurice Mitchell was Chancellor.

By reestablishing the chaplain position, Patti Helton, associate provost of student life, says that DU increases its capacity to directly promote community, diversity and personal development in areas of religion and spirituality — a growing demand among students, both locally and nationally over the last decade.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to once again provide a University chaplain at the University of Denver,” Helton says. “We have experienced a growing interest in spiritual and faith related issues with today’s students and believe that Dr. Brower will provide strong support for increased multi-faith campus dialogue.”

The chaplain’s office will provide a venue for reflection on current issues, offer a safe space for pastoral care and counseling, and support students’ quests for religious and spiritual development.

In a letter to the campus community, Brower explained that he plans to help contribute to the understanding of religious differences. “We need to understand one another at our deepest places, and that is often where religion and faith dwell,” he wrote. “I will labor hard to hear all perspectives, and to help all perspectives be heard.”

Those perspectives will include all denominations. Weekly services won’t be mandated, but once Brower gets to campus and is able to gauge needs, he’ll formulate plans for best serving the campus community.

Brower will direct DU’s existing Center for Religious Services, which encompasses the 20 recognized religious and spiritual organizations on campus. As he works with students of various faiths, Brower also will facilitate discussion among faiths in an effort to increase understanding.

This role will be fulfilled as he supports the newly created Forum for Religion and Society, a community-based effort intended to bring DU students, faculty and staff together with practicing religious communities throughout Denver.

The forum will host three fellows per academic year from various religious traditions. The fellows will assist with worship services, offer co-curricular seminars and engage in public dialogues.

Brower is an Episcopal priest who comes to DU after 11 years in campus ministry at the University of California-Berkeley. Prior, Brower was interim chaplain at Duke University and then campus minister at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

He earned his PhD in church history from Duke in 1996 and his MDiv from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., in 1981.

The chaplain’s office will be part of the Division of Student Life and housed in Driscoll South, Suite 29. Brower will be on campus full-time beginning in August.

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