Covenant will be looking to hire a woman to assist Chaplain Grant Lowe in ministering to the community. The position has officially been included in the budget for next Fall Semester and was announced at the faculty meeting last week.
According to the chaplain, having a woman in the chapel department would contribute much to the campus, and that “the need is substantial.”
The job description is still being created, but a part of the position will be to help create a culture where women’s issues are discussed consistently within campus conversations.
“The recent chapels with Christy Gambrell and Ashley Baldwin in chapel were great, but the conversations we had at the luncheons afterward with each were even better. We talked openly and thoughtfully about what it is like to be a woman in the current Christian cultural climate. I would love to see more conversations like that fostered on campus. It’s one thing to be a proponent of that as a man, but a woman would have unique insights and abilities on that front,” said Lowe.
Administration is unsure of what the assistant chaplain’s official title will be. Lowe mentioned that at other schools, like Wheaton College, the position is called a Ministry Associate. The job description will include developing and implementing programs specifically related to women’s ministry on campus, one-on-one counseling, and will also be involved in overseeing the discipleship coordinators program. When asked about whether she would be asked to speak in chapel, Lowe said:
“She would be someone I would love have to speak in chapel but that will not necessarily be part of her job description.”
The idea has been in the works for a year now. “Last year, at the fall board meeting, a board member asked me how I was doing and if we needed a woman in the chapel department,” said Lowe. The benefits then seemed obvious, but he took this year to evaluate more critically and his increased counseling load confirmed it.
“Since I’ve been here, my personal counseling with guys and girls has increased each year. I am grateful that women are open with me, as well as the guys, but there are issues more wisely addressed woman-to-woman. Leah Jones (Administration Assistant to the Chaplain) already does 10 hours of counseling a week with female students,” said Lowe.
They are looking to hire for next year but it will be completely dependent on finding the right person.
“I’d rather not fill the position with the wrong person,” said Lowe, who will oversee the interview process. Regarding qualifications, they will be looking for someone with a counseling degree and practical experience in women’s ministry.
“I’ve been especially encouraged by the support of the Board of Trustees. Their support shows an immediate concern for the entire student body and an interest that everyone is ministered to well, and that includes me! They want to make sure that women on campus are ministered to as effectively as possible. The cabinet saw that too, and the fact that they were willing to prioritize the position speaks highly about the college’s desire to minister to the entire community,” said Lowe.
Overall, Lowe says the people that know about the plan have been very supportive and excited about the prospect of a woman in the department. In his own words: “I’m totally psyched.”