Fostering Belonging & Support in a Multi-Faith Community

04 Apr 2023

April is a significant month for various faiths, and at ANU, we recognize the importance of spiritual support for all members of our community. That's why we have the ANU multi-faith Chaplaincy, which provides a safe and inclusive space for students, staff, and visitors to practice their faith or explore their spirituality. With a multifaith and Muslim prayer room, individuals from any belief system are welcome to join this community. From pastoral care to spiritual guidance and activities related to faith and religion, the Chaplaincy offers valuable resources for all ANU members. 

We spoke to the Chaplaincy Team Leader, Robbie Tulip, to learn about the history of the ANU Chaplaincy, the services and support it offers, and what's on the horizon for the Chaplaincy in 2023.  

What is the Chaplaincy?  

The ANU Chaplaincy in Kambri is a faith and religion meeting space for the whole ANU community and a designated Multifaith and Muslim prayer room. The chaplaincy provides a place for prayer and meditation, friendship and hospitality, discussions, forum and talks, and information on all faiths and local places of worship.  We regularly host a range of meetings - discussions of the Bible and other religious works from various traditions and perspectives, meditation practice, Catholic Mass, and gatherings of faith and religion groups, especially clubs affiliated with ANUSA.  We welcome all people, of all cultures and lifestyles, of all faiths or no faith.  We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which ANU operates. We recognise the continuing connection to lands, waters, and communities of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging, and commit to standing with our First Nations people. 

What role does it play at ANU? 

The ANU Chaplaincy is part of the overall university experience and support provided to students, endorsed by the University. We promote a range of activities relating to faith, religion and spirituality, governed by the Chaplaincy User's Charter. 

If you have a personal concern and are not sure who you can speak to, a chaplain can help. Chaplains are a resource available to university students and staff facing any number of issues, from the strain of managing things in your studies or work or relationships to seeking spiritual guidance. Chaplains hold what you tell them in confidence. Chaplains don't keep records of these discussions, and they are bound to keep confidential what you discuss together. 

Discussions of faith and spirituality help to form our identity and ethics.  Conversations at University have a life-long influence on students.  In our increasingly secular culture, there is great value in encountering and encouraging a diverse range of perspectives on religion.  We can see the spiritual values of reconciliation and dialogue emerging as important themes in support of the Indigenous Voice. Chaplaincy encourage students and staff to get in touch to find a safe and welcoming place for sharing your views and concerns. 

What faiths are represented? 

The ANU Chaplaincy service is provided by a small team including members of Catholic, Muslim, Humanist, Buddhist, Uniting Church and Pentecostal traditions.  All our chaplains are accredited by the University and supported by faith communities.  

What services/support do you provide students or staff? 

Our chaplains provide confidential pastoral care to students and help organise a range of activities to support spiritual and faith interests.   The ANU Chaplaincy is located on level four in the Di Riddell Student Centre in the Kambri precinct and is available for meetings with students and chaplains and for informal prayer and meditation. We are open from 9am-5pm during term periods.  We welcome contact at  You can email us your university id to gain access to the lift. We work in partnership with University Counselling and other student wellbeing services and campus residences to support ANU students, with focus on spiritual and religious needs. 

What other support is there on campus for students? 

In addition to the Chaplaincy, the Student Safety and Wellbeing team is here to provide free and confidential support to students experiencing a range of issues that can impact on their university experience and academic engagement. 

Case Managers have backgrounds in health, social work, counselling and human services. They work from person-centred and trauma-informed practice frameworks. This means that you will be treated with dignity and respect and will receive a transparent and confidential service that will empower you to make choices and connect with others. 

Email to connect with a Case Manager or Nurse Practitioner.

What is its history at ANU?  

The multi-faith ecumenical approach began with the Christian chaplaincy that has operated at ANU with University support since the 1960s.  The chaplaincy is managed by an incorporated Board, ably led for many years by Professor Campbell Macknight. We work in close coordination with ANU University Experience, led by Dr James Brann. University Experience provide funding and support, including for the chaplaincy space in Kambri and the team leader role.  We hold an annual lecture on faith concerns, which this year will be on Inter Faith Dialogue, which will take place Tuesday 9 May. Keep an eye on ourFacebook page for more information on this event.  Burgmann College kindly provides the venue for our annual lecture and our Board meetings. Groups now using the chaplaincy include the Catholic Students Association, Muslim students, the Fellowship of Christian University Students and other Bible Study groups.  Last year the ANU Buddhist Association used the chaplaincy for regular meditation, and the Australian Student Christian Movement/Uniting Church held discussions on progressive theology.  

What is your role as Team Leader/Coordinator? 

As Chaplaincy Team Leader I am the contact point for chaplains, students, faith groups and the University. I've been in this role over three years.  I started with the Chaplaincy on the day of the Canberra hailstorm on 20 January 2020. 

My work is funded one day per week by University Experience. I arrange accreditation of new chaplains by the University and bookings/access for the chaplaincy, and support students to engage in discussion on spiritual and faith concerns.  The pandemic limited our operation, and we look forward to providing increased support to students.   

My background includes a Master Degree in ethics and several decades working for the Australian Agency for International Development.  I am Secretary of the Canberra Region Presbytery of the Uniting Church, National Director of the Australian Student Christian Movement, board member of Christians for an Ethical Society, committee member of the Canberra Jung Society, convenor of a climate science discussion forum, the Planetary Restoration Action Group, and editor of the Uniting Church Viewpoint Magazine and the ASCM Magazine Jubilee Grapevine. 

What is on the horizon for 2023 for the Chaplaincy?  

In 2023 ANU Chaplaincy will move to a new Multi Faith Centre, on the fourth floor of the Wellbeing Building in Kambri, where we will co-locate with a new Muslim Prayer Room. We warmly welcome this opportunity to shift to a more suitable and accessible space. 

Our Annual Chaplaincy Public Lecture will be held in May as a panel discussion on Inter Faith Dialogue, at Burgmann College Chapel.  We hope to have four speakers from different faith traditions, and are working with the Canberra Interfaith Forum and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture to arrange this.  

The move to new chaplaincy premises this year aims to provide a venue for any and all discussions and events relating to faith and spirituality. You can keep updated on all of this via our website. 


No matter your concern or need, your chaplain will listen and support you. To contact a chaplain, email You can also contact ANU Chaplaincy on our website,Facebook or phone us on 0407 866 777.  

ANU staff who are interested in joining the Chaplaincy board are encouraged to get in touch.