Update on Jan. 29: Student Life announced Monday that Travis and Harmony Weber will no longer be serving as university chaplains. According to an email from Dr. Chris Riley, “…after much prayer and consideration, the Webers have decided not to assume those roles.” The chaplain search committee will continue looking for a chaplain.
The university hired a married couple from the Dallas area, both Pepperdine University graduates, to serve as the first university chaplains in a new position created as part of the Strategic Plan.
Travis and Harmony Weber will begin work Feb. 5 and will speak in Chapel on Feb. 7. Dr. Cliff Barbarick, co-chair of the spiritual formation task force, said the chaplains will focus on spiritual formation campus-wide for students, faculty and staff.
“Some of this remains to be spelled out,” Barbarick said, “that’s both the exciting, and what I would expect is the intimidating, part for Travis and Harmony. They’re going to be creating some of what this looks like on a day-to-day basis.”
Before this position was created, several people served in different spiritual formation roles. Last year, Dr. Jan Meyer oversaw Moody Chapels and small group events as the dean of spiritual formation. She initiated the Quest app and changed the name of Chapel credits to Quest credits. The year before, Mark Jackson served as co-director of Chapel programs.
Barbarick said the university has always had a “decentralized” model for spiritual formation, so many different departments on campus took the responsibility. He said as chaplains, the Webers will provide more intentional direction and serve in a more pastoral role.
“My guess is they’re going to be a face of spiritual formation, spiritual life on campus,” Barbarick said.
“They’re both very thoughtful people, so they’re going to fit very well in an academic setting,” Barbarick said.
Travis is finishing a Ph.D. in pastoral theology at Texas Christian University, and Harmony has a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. They also volunteered in the Peace Corps in Guyana for two years.
“The heart of their ministry really is about meeting people who are marginalized, who are in crisis, who are in trauma,” Barbarick said. “Social justice issues are something that’s important to them, and I think that matches well with what our students are concerned with.”