After a long battle to obtain an interfaith building, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), located in Preston, opened its multifaith ‘Oasis Faith and Spirituality Centre’ in May 2018. The Centre provides space for religious and non-religious groups and individuals to come together in a spirit of community, wellbeing and faith. It’s a unique and remarkable place for our Young Single Adults, and any student, regardless of religion, race, gender, or creed.
The seven chaplains serving there, come on different days to make themselves available to anyone needing someone to talk to, and to feel that someone cares about them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is represented in the chaplaincy by Roger Kendle, past Stake President of the Preston Stake, and retired professor at UCLAN. The goal of the Oasis is to encourage people in the pursuit and development of their faith, and to promote understanding and respect amongst members of different faiths.
Roger Kendle and Bishop Stephen Hall, both from Preston Ward, have been able to reserve the function room on Wednesday nights for Young Single Adults attending UCLAN, as well as those attending the Preston and South Ribble wards. Because the location is much more convenient for students than the Preston chapel, the Oasis has also become a refuge for members and friends of Young Single Adults.
Family Home Evenings, as well as other Young Single Adult activities, began there in autumn 2018. In spring 2019, an Institute class was approved to be held at the Centre, and this is proving to be a great source of spiritual strength and a place to build a Young Single Adult community right on campus every Wednesday night at 7pm. It is rare for a secular university to provide a place for spiritual support for students of any faith or belief. It is also unusual to have Roger Kendle serve as a volunteer Chaplain, representing the Church and the University. In autumn 2019, several returning missionaries visited, most of whom are attending UCLAN. Preston is fast becoming a major gathering place for Young Single Adults.