Campus Ministry welcomes new Chaplin
Yuriy Derkach, the new Chaplin for the Algonquin Campus Ministry
BY EMILY PLUNKETT
In an extended Sunday worship service held on March 4, the Algonquin College Campus Ministry officially welcomed new Chaplin, Yuriy Derkach to Algonquin’s Christian community.
Derkach, 31, comes to Algonquin from the Holy Spirit Seminary. When asked about learning of his new position with Campus Ministry, he says “It was a surprise for me.”
“I was working at different places at the moment and wasn’t entirely looking to make a change, but then the opportunity presented itself and I went for it. I had to give up other jobs to come here.”
Located in room B139A, Campus Ministry offers non-denominational spiritual counselling, weekly bible study, and Residence Worship Service; a Sunday service for students living in residence.
Choosing a Chaplin for Campus Ministry was a spiritual journey for all those involved. Jack Wilson, Vice Chair of the Algonquin College Campus Ministry, says the decision to go with Derkach was very difficult, as they had many fine applicants representing every major denomination apply.
“I think what particularly impressed us about Yuriy was his enthusiasm, his sincerity, and there is an earnest quality about his beliefs that made me realise this is the person who not only believes what he believes but practices it,” says Wilson.
“We also had young people who helped with the interview process, and we wanted to see how he interacted with them, and that helped us with the decision making process.”
One student who assisted with the interview process was game development student Bryan Rayner, 20, who says “We asked God to bring the man that he wanted, we prayed about it; and we felt that God was giving us Yuriy.”
In attendance during the March 4 service was Father Michael Winn, who contributed a prayer for his colleague on behalf of the Holy Spirit Seminary.
“One of the qualities he has is he’s really earthen, he knows who he is.” says Rev. Winn of Derkach. “A lot of times when students [are in their] late teens, early 20s, are spiritually minded for the first time. They have a lot of questions, and a campus minister that can understand what breaking free from spiritual leaders is like, exploring yourself as you’re studying to make a life for yourself [is important].”
Also on their minds as they begin a new chapter with Derkach, Campus Ministry looks ahead to their future in the new Student Commons building.
“It is a multi-faith centre,” says Wilson. “The Muslim community will have a prayer room and there is office space for each of the major faith groups. There will also be a large common area that can be used for either worship or social gatherings or meetings, and that will be shared by any of the faith groups. At this point, we certainly anticipate that the Christian community and the Muslim community will participate, and it’s anticipated that others may as well.”
Derkach is especially excited about the move to the Student Commons building. He says one of his hopes is to have the opportunity connect with other religious communities before the move, and that the new space will allow the communities to come together. “Not necessarily on specific topics of religion,” says Derkach, “but on topics that worry all of us as people, as students, as citizens of this country, and humans of this planet.”
“What is important is one religion for all of us, and that’s the religion of love and there is one nationality which is humanity. We are all here to learn from one another how we can be better people and how we can help one another. I don’t separate anyone, nor I’m not looking for differences, but I’m always looking for what brings us together, what unites us.”