Funding cut for King’s “cornerstone”
KSU committee created to find solution
Correction: In the print version of this article, there was a miscommunication in the amount of funding that was being cut. The article below reflects changes made to solve that. The Gazette apologizes for the error.
The Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will cut fifty percent of its funding at the end of December for the Reverend Dr. Gary Thorne, the University of King’s College chaplain. Gabe Hoogers, the president of the King’s Student Union, says it is unclear what effect this will have on Thorne’s hours. Bishop Sue Moxley of the Anglican Diocese says that there is no intention to end the chaplain’s position. Despite this, Hoogers says, any reduction of hours would be severely detrimental to the King’s community.
“Gary is a pillar of student, faculty and staff life,” says Hoogers. “He provides both spiritual and personal guidance.”
Hoogers says a committee has been created by the Board of Governors to examine the budget and determine where King’s can compensate for the lack of funding from the Anglican Diocese. “Ultimately Gary’s services are worth whatever price that is,” he says.
The committee will begin meeting in the next few weeks. Moxley says it is likely there will be a campaign to target alumni.
This is not the first funding conflict for the King’s Chapel. In 2009, the Anglican Diocese was set to cut funding to the King’s Chaplaincy in half. However, because of budget restrictions the Anglican Diocese can no longer contribute as much as they have been. “It’s like the rest of the economy,” says Moxley, “the thing that effects everyone effects us.”
In 2009, a priority for people involved in preserving the Chapel was to raise awareness on its importance. A Facebook group was created at the time, urging students to acknowledge the chapel and the Chaplaincy’s involvement in campus activities. Thorne says that if King’s were to dispose of the Chaplaincy, something would absolutely be needed to replace the services it provides.
Leah Collins Lipsett is one of the three Chapel wardens. She says the Chapel is a major part of her life and thinks many students do not realize how important it is.
“Everyone agrees that the Chapel is a cornerstone of King’s, but few appreciate how much of an integral aspect it is. I would say the majority of King’s students are touched by the Chapel, or retreat to it as a place of refuge, at some point in their university lives,” she says. Collins Lipsett emphasizes the Chapel is for King’s and Dalhousie students.
Together, the King’s Chapel and Thorne are fundamental to a variety of events within the Chapel, on the King’s campus, and in the greater Halifax community.
“Try to picture King’s without Matriculation, the Christmas decorating party, sherry hour, and the Resurrection Party: it is impossible,” says Collins Lipsett. According to Collins Lipsett, The Chapel is a “mainstay” of the King’s musical community. It fosters music through support of the Chapel Choirand orchestra.
For the student and greater community, weekly services are held, as well as special services for events such as Remembrance Day. Thorne has also participated through presentations and programs for other Anglican congregations and for the military community in the region.
In addition the Chapel is important to the academic side of King’s. Selected choral singers are awarded scholarships for their involvement in the chapel. Thorne has also provided multiple guest lectures at King’s.
Thorne says a great part of his role at King’s takes place outside the Chapel. “The Chapel is not my work,” he says, “that’s not what the Chaplaincy is about. It’s support to students so that they might achieve success academically, personally and spiritually.