Rev Marylee Anderson tells us about her role as Chaplain for the University, as well as her life as a taxi driver for her family and her love of the countryside. 

Tell us about your role at the University

As a Chaplain no day is ever the same but there are some main areas that my work life revolves around.  I provide pastoral support to the University community.  This might mean that I am sitting with a student in crisis one moment or heading off to Hillhead to serve free tea, coffee and doughnuts.    Obviously a large part of my role is to oversee the life and outreach of Kings College Chapel such as Wednesday Worship and annual University services.  One of the lovely aspects of this is being able to conduct weddings in Kings! An ever growing aspect of the role is to provide opportunities for inter-faith dialogue and work amongst the different faith groups on campus and throughout the city. 

How do you usually start your day?
I have a very energetic Sprocker puppy called Riley, so my days usually begin by taking him for a walk to a local hill.  Depending on the weather I can’t think of a better way to start the day.  The rest of my morning, before getting to work, is spent motivating my 3 children to get out the door to school.  That’s not always an easy task when 2 of them are teenagers!  By the time I get to the office the first thing I reach for is my beloved coffee.
What brought you to the University of Aberdeen?

I first came to the University of Aberdeen when I did my first undergraduate Psychology degree in 1995.  Ever since then I have always felt an affinity with the university.  When the role of Assistant Chaplain was advertised 8 years ago I jumped at the chance to apply knowing that this role would combine my counselling and theology degree so well together.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?
I love that when I walk through the doors of the Inter-faith centre every day I never know what is ahead of me.  My day might be mapped out with a range or meetings and pastoral appointments but seldom is my day that straightforward.  You could certainly never say that the life of a Chaplain is predictable!  However, I get the greatest sense of fulfilment when I can offer some form of pastoral care.  Whether that’s taking someone to the train station because they’ve had some sad news or sitting with a student through real tough and painful situations or circumstance.  To be able to support someone through these times is a real honour and I truly mean that. Graduation ceremonies are all the more special when you see those you’ve supported through their degree achieve.    I also enjoy working as part of a fantastic team.
What are your work priorities at the moment?
As always, people take priority with my work.  Mental health is a growing area of need and we are constantly exploring ways as a multi-faith chaplaincy we can support those in our community who are hurting in different ways.  I have also been concentrating on the upcoming University service where we celebrate the University’s relationship with the Seven Incorporated Trades and the city.
How do you like to relax outside work?
Between work and family life relaxing outside work is not always so straightforward.  Much of my spare time is spent as taxi driver to my 3 children especially the boys who are very actively involved in football.  However, I love getting out into the countryside and taking Riley for long walks.  I’m also attempting to start running again, something I’ve enjoyed in the past.