The members of the West Virginia University Presbyterian Campus Ministry Committee and the directors of the Westminster Foundation of West Virginia, Inc. invite students, faculty, staff and the general public to the installation of the Rev. Shelly Barrick Parsons as Presbyterian campus pastor at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at First Presbyterian Church. A reception will follow.
Parsons replaces longtime pastor, the Rev. Charles Spring, who recently retired.
Campus ministry is very important, Parsons said, because it provides a way for students to stay connected to their church when they go to college.
When students come to college the familiarity of their home congregation and the structure of the church that they are used to are gone,Parsons said.These students are now young adults who are making more decisions themselves, and its important that we let them know that they are welcome in our church.
Parsons said she serves students as well as members of the community.
Its important for me to get out to meet students and others so that they are able to put a face with the Presbyterian ministry at WVU ,Parsons said.
However, Parsonsposition as pastor extends beyond the church walls. She intends to spend time volunteering with mission work, planning bible study and fellowship meetings and participating in community activities.
After completion of her Ph.D. in Christian education next year, she hopes to have the chance to serve students as an adjunct faculty member teaching womens studies courses.
Her studies involve examining how one can be both reformed, holding the scriptures as an authoritative word for ones life and faith, and feminist, critiquing the patriarchal themes of the text, in his or her understanding of Biblical authority.
She received a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and a Master of Arts in Christian Education (M.A.C.E.) from Union Theological Seminary and the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Va., one of only 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church. Her doctoral work is also being done there.
Parsons and her husband, Chet Parsons, lived in Richmond before moving to Morgantown this summer, and are excited to have the opportunity to work and live in a university town.
I always wanted to work in campus ministry, but such positions are few and far between,Parsons said.Not only am I looking forward to working with the students and community, but we are eager to take advantage of the cultural events that the university offersdance and theater performances, art exhibitions, concertsand to participate in the outdoor recreation activities in the region like exploring the rail trails.
For more information about Rev. Parsons or the WVU Presbyterian Campus Ministry, contact Parsons at 304-292-4061.