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New Bath Spa University Chaplain welcomed with unique ceremony

On Monday 25 September, Bath Spa University formally welcomed its first full time University Chaplain and Chaplaincy Team Leader, The Rev. Dr Katy Garner. In order for Katy to take up her post, the Diocese of Bath and Wells must confer a Bishop’s License. Bishop Ruth, the Bishop of Taunton, led the ceremony on behalf of the Diocese.

Internal and external guests from the University community and multi-faith groups from across the city were welcomed to the ceremony by Bath Spa University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sue Rigby and Students’ Union President Jasmine Raymond-Barker.   

The event, which took place in The Street at Bath Spa’s Locksbrook Campus, was the first of its kind for the University and it is unusual for this ceremony to take place outside of a church setting. 

Professor Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the University’s new Chaplain Rev Dr Katy Garner. Caring for all students is at the core of what we do. We are pleased to be able to strengthen our support for the melting pot of faiths, backgrounds and beliefs that make up our Bath Spa community.” 

Jasmine Raymond-Barker, President of the Bath Spa University Students’ Union added:

“Our chaplaincy team provides such a sense of warmth and kinship across our campuses, seeing them around for my last two years as a student was always a pleasure. Last year, a group of friends and I collaborated with the chaplaincy team to create some beautiful artwork in support of Iranian women for Amnesty International Bath Spa University. That will always mean a lot to me. And I know it means a lot to our community to see Rev Dr Katy join the chaplaincy team so that they can continue to make as much of an impact in the future.” 

Born in Bideford, Devon, Katy began her career as a nurse training at Guys Hospital London, followed by jobs in a busy A&E, intensive care, midwifery training and a two-year short service commission in the British Army as a Nursing Sister where she met her husband, Peter.  

Katy said:

“When my daughter started primary school, we moved to Bath and I decided to do a chemistry degree. As I came to the end of the degree, I was offered a Faraday scholarship to do a PhD in odour and disease investigating identification of markers in disease diagnosis.

“While in Bath, Peter and I and the family attended Bath Abbey. The girls became choristers and I became increasingly involved with the children’s work there, taking on a role as families and children coordinator for several years. It was during a trip to the Holy Land that I found myself standing at the top of Mount Tabor telling the Vicar that I thought I was being called to be a priest. I then soon began training at Rippon College Cuddesdon as a residential student in September 2014.

“In 2016 Peter and I moved to Hampshire where I took up the post of Curate, which is a vicar in training post. I have spent the last four years as the Vicar in Backwell and Chelvey near Bristol. I am so looking forward to working with the staff and students at Bath Spa University and cannot wait to meet everyone.” 

Katy’s role as University Chaplain and chaplaincy team leader, will include further developing the multi-faith provision at Bath Spa and enhancing the existing chaplaincy team who have been working across the University with students and staff for many years. 

Katy will work within the University’s Student Wellbeing Service and Sara Gallagher, Head of Student Wellbeing Services at Bath Spa University, said:

“We are excited to welcome Katy to the wellbeing team. The diversity of our university community is growing and it is important that we are able to have provision that is inclusive of all faiths and people.” 

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