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Minister's Monthly Column

May  2018

Message from Reverend Carolyn

Sixteen years ago Fran Hoffman, then serving as the Dean of Faculty at Connecticut College and a relatively new member at All Souls, asked if I would be willing and able to serve as a chaplain at the college.  A chaplain had abruptly resigned so a chaplain was needed to get through the rest of the semester.  I didn’t think long before enthusiastically accepting the invitation.   I love working with young adults and knew it would be an interesting – albeit temporary – gig.

Sixteen years later,  “temporary” hardly seems accurate in describing my tenure at Connecticut College.  I took the “temporary” position because I was interested in working with young adults.  I stayed because working with young adults was everything I thought it would be, and so much more.  It has been a very part-time job, about 5 hours a week – but now that time is more than I can spare.  I have decided to resign from this position at the conclusion of this academic year.

My decision was driven by my knowing how much focus I’m going to need at All Souls in the next two to three years.  We have 2 new staff starting this summer and we are on the brink of a major capital project and campaign.   As well, the social justice work to which I feel called is not going to let up any time soon.  Something had to give and the obvious decision was my role at the college.

You know you’re an adult when you make the absolutely right decision despite said decision feeling so absolutely disappointing.  I can’t tell you all the ways that my life and my ministry have been enriched through my work as a college chaplain.  I’ve met remarkable young people some of whom are already doing such good work in the world and others of whom are destined to do the same.  I’ve been part of a college community that values excellence and when falling short strives to correct its shortcomings.  I’ve worked with colleagues who I love and admire. 

And … it’s time to go.

I want to lift up Georgiann Burdette’s ministry these past 12 years.  Georgiann is a layperson at All Souls who we don’t see on Sunday mornings but who I see every Sunday evening at the college.  She has supported our campus ministry through her loving support of the students.  Some of you may know that Georgiann bakes a beautiful homemade desert every Sunday for the students.  It is embodied love and care and the students receive both with a deep gratitude. My leaving means that her ministry is also coming to a close, which is not easy for her, either.  Please join me in thanking Georgiann for her faithful service.

I thank all of you for supporting my call to this particular ministry.  It has brought me such joy and perspective.  It has also made me a fierce advocate for the power of campus ministry and the gifts it brings to congregational life.  Perhaps there’s a way for All Souls to take up this ministry in a new form going forward.

Keeping you in the loop with Love, 

Carolyn