The search for the university’s first chaplain is headed back to the drawing board.
Dr. Chris Riley, vice president for student life, said a search committee of faculty and staff will restart the process after the Fort Worth couple hired by the university last week opted not to take the position after all this week. Riley informed students, faculty and staff on Monday that Travis and Harmony Weber had decided not to accept the job of co-chaplains, just six days after the university announced they had been hired.
The Webers were scheduled to begin work Feb. 5. They have not responded to requests for a comment.
“After much prayer and consideration, the Webers have decided not to assume those roles,” Riley said in an email to the student body on Monday. He said in an email to the Optimist that he could not give any more details about the decision.
Riley also said the search committee will try to have the position filled before next fall. However, the search committee that chose the Webers may change.
“I will be asking the current members if they are still willing and able to serve,” Riley said, “and will consider any additions to the committee after I receive that feedback.”
Dr. Cliff Barbarick, co-chair of the spiritual formation task force and a member of the search committee, said in an email to the Optimist that he did not know what the next steps for the search committee will be.
“I’m saddened that the Webers won’t be part of our community,” Barbarick said, “but I respect their decision and hope their ministry can flourish wherever they end up.”
The university has not employed a chaplain before, but last year Dr. Jan Meyer, former dean of spiritual formation, served as the leader of spiritual formation on campus. Since she left the university in the spring, David Moses, director of Leadership Camps, has served as the coordinator of Moody Chapel events, and Susan Cooper, Leadership Camps registrar, has been coordinating Quest small group events. All exemption requests and faith-in-action credits are coordinated by graduate students in the Office of Spiritual Formation. The chaplain position is a new role that will focus on spiritual formation campus-wide for students, faculty and staff.