Rev. Gary Brower isn’t sitting behind his desk as University of Denver Chaplain, he’s up and working among the students.
In 2007, the energetic Brower was named University Chaplain, a position that had been empty since the 1970s. As chaplain, Brower oversees religious activities on campus but also caters to the non-religious.
“I fill gaps. That’s what I do,” said Rev. Brower.
Although a Christian minister, Brower delights in not having a religious agenda. Brower’s door, on the first floor of Driscoll, is open to anyone, a truth that is evident by the number of visitors seen passing through the office daily. Some visitors have religious affiliations, or belong to campus groups, but others don’t affiliate with any religion, they just want to talk.
“Most people think of the Chaplain being in a chapel or church, but I’m Jewish and I go see him,” said senior Sydney Snyder.
Brower is not a therapist, but people often seek him out for answers. He provides an eager ear, but his prerogative is not to try and fix things.
“This is a safe place to talk about confusions and doubts,” said Brower.
Outside of the office, Brower offers monthly inter-religious events for DU students and faculty. Every Tuesday is reserved for new events, such as “Music and Meditation,” “Praying the Post,” “Book Discussions,” and “Food for Thought.”
Brower also organizes events that he feels, are not being represented. One year, Brower hosted a dinner for Muslims during Ramadan. Another time he hosted an Ash Wednesday service for non-Catholics, and still another time he hosted a meeting for Hindus during Denali.
Brower says gaps are most visible during the holidays, and that his attempts to fill in the gaps “bring people from similar traditions together,” and “get people outside of the box.”
Brower chairs the University of Denver Religious Council (DURC); comprised of recognized campus ministries that organize meetings and activities for their members. Any 10 people can form a group, but currently there is a Buddhist group, various Christian groups, a few Jewish groups, a couple international groups, and other groups associated with graduate and professional schools.
Brower acknowledges the current accomplishments of DURC and his own office, but also recognizes some issues present on campus. One of which is a dichotomy between graduate students and undergraduate programs, and another between professional schools and the DURC. Brower hopes to address these separations and identify other gaps on campus.
“I’m at play in the fields of the Lord,” said Brower.