This last Monday I began my first day as Pagan Chaplain at Syracuse University. It seems very natural for me to take on this position; you see over the last 8 1/2 years I have been the religious advisor for the pagan students on campus. It was a job that needed to be done and I gladly took it on. It was not for anything other than to help out our younger generation of pagans as they begin their journey of discovery. But now I have a title and office space – two things that weren’t there before.

When I tell my friends about this, my pagan friends that is, they get excited. In fact they become very excited. “This is big, huge,” they say. I am still wrapping my head around the significance of this. Intellectually I know that it is truly important and immensely significant that a pagan be accepted and recognized as a Chaplain in a major higher educational institution. But this is me, just me, and I am the same person that was helping the students before the title Chaplain was attached to me. Then I think “huh, there is only one other Pagan Chaplain at a college or university in the entire country.” That is when it hits me; this is big and with it come big responsibilities. And so my adventure begins.

As I said before one of the changes is that Chaplains get office space on campus which means I get office space. These are not University employee positions, they are appointed by their religious groups as the chaplain/religious person at the campus for their particular “denomination.” So the shuffle began, office shuffle that is. I wondered how this would work, there is limited space: 7 offices and 12 chaplains. I was just happy that I wasn’t the one having to figure out where to put everyone. In the end I have been assigned to an office with two other chaplains. They are a Catholic priest and an evangelical minister; it is an interfaith community after all. As I heard who my office mates were I chuckled, no one could have made this up. “Did you hear the one about the priest, the pagan, and the evangelical preacher?” It really is the beginning of a good laugh; hopefully it will be laughter that is born out of learning that our differences are what connect us to one another.

I’ll be moving into my new space, the one that will become a site for interfaith work. After all that is the point, interfaith work to bring understanding and acceptance between different paths and different people. It is also important that we as the leaders of the varying paths learn to live together as well. It is only by our example can we teach that we can all live together peacefully and respectfully.

It was suggested to me by a friend that I should chronicle my experiences as a Pagan Chaplain in a predominately Judeo-Christian chapel. I have to agree, this is an experience to be documented in writing rather than relying on memory alone. During the discussion the thought of “Jesus and the Greenman” living in one space was talked about, laughed about, but it is real so welcome to this new space. Welcome to both deities and all the others that are worshiped, honored, and revered in this place that has given pagans a seat at the table.