By Kelsi Peace, Managing Editor
The Students’ Association Congress appointed its first chaplain at Wednesday’s meeting, filling a position new to the organization and completing a process that, for some, began last year.
At SA president Matt Worthington’s recommendation, Congress unanimously approved Nathan McKenzie for the position.
McKenzie first resigned from his post as senior senator, the position from which he introduced the legislation to create a chaplain position.
Hallie Roberts, senior political science major from Fort Sumner, N.M., was appointed to fill the position McKenzie vacated.
“It lasted a while, didn’t it?” McKenzie said with a laugh as he recalled the lengthy process between his inception of the idea last February and the creation of the temporary position earlier this month.
McKenzie said he considered running for 2007-2008 SA president, but instead felt called to a more spiritual role. After prayer, discussion with then-president Maher Saab and summer meetings with Worthington, Dr. Wayne Barnard, university dean of spiritual formation, and Mark Lewis, director of Student Life, a shell for the new position emerged. “It was still very vague as to what the responsibilities were,” McKenzie said.
The chaplain position was intended to remain somewhat free from structure, but McKenzie said he wanted general responsibilities outlined.
Today, these responsibilities include serving SA as well as the greater student body, praying over the community with Barnard and Lewis and acting as lesion between the student body and spiritual life administrators.
“Sometimes we just neglect needs because we don’t even know how to meet them,” McKenzie said.
First on the agenda for McKenzie, he says, is coordinating class Chapels by appointing chaplains and coordinating the monthly Chapels to eliminate confusion. McKenzie lauded class Chapels for the community they create among people at the same point in life.
“The freshmen have different needs than the seniors,” McKenzie said.
Within SA, McKenzie plans to cultivate unity in an atmosphere that is sometimes anything but, he said.
“We’ve struggled with some division,” McKenzie said. Much of McKenzie’s position is responsive, but he said one way he plans to foster community within SA is to start a prayer group. “It’s not going to happen in semester,” McKenzie said.
For now, McKenzie will shape the duties of the temporary position, and turn to Congress in the fall to decide whether the position will become permanent.
“I hope people will say, ‘I don’t know how we ever did without this,” McKenzie said.