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Increasing number of students seek help from student chaplains

Student chaplain are in high demand. In the picture you can see students gathering in the city of Aalborg for breakfast and morning prayer led by student chaplain Christen Sinding. Photo: Christian Roar Pedersen. 

The demand for student chaplains in technical colleges and upper secondary schools is on the rise. That is what the 17 pastors working at educational institutions express unanimously.

It is their experience that both large and small educational institutions address them and ask them to be more present. At their latest meeting, the bishops’ conference discussed how to cope with the demand.

“Our educational institutions open up to the church in a way I haven’t experienced before throughout my 32 years as a pastor,” says bishop Henning Toft Bro from the Diocese of Aalborg, to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

But where does the growing demand stem from? Why do more and more young people contact student chaplains?

“Students have to finish their education much quicker, and we see the effect of this, says student chaplain Nicolai Halvorsen to folkekirken.dk and refers to the new education reform. “The curriculum is more comprehensive than before and so, if students have personal problems, they are more vulnerable to stress. This has resulted in an increased demand for student chaplains as a confident conversational partner.”

According to student chaplain Caris Elkjær Trads Johansen young people come to talk about heartaches, parents’ divorce, or uncertainty about the future after finishing school.

“My experience is that they come to talk to a mature person who is impartial and unbiased. I have a duty of confidentiality and do not fill out a record or send out an sms about a follow-up conversation,” Johansen says to folkekirken.dk.


By Christian Arffmann