Barry McNamara  |   Published October 30, 2016

New associate chaplain

Hawkinson will help oversee Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth
  • Jessica Hawkinson, Monmouth College’s new associate chaplain, is eager to begin work November 1.
Jessica Hawkinson has been named Monmouth College associate chaplain. She will begin her new position Nov. 1.

A 2008 graduate of Macalester (Minn.) College, Hawkinson also earned a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

“I was looking to get into college ministry, and the pastor of my church actually recommended Monmouth,” she said. “I love the small liberal arts college, and Monmouth seemed like a good fit, and the Presbyterian element is a natural fit, as well.”

Hawkinson most recently served as an assistant for worship and mission at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Ill. From 2008 to 2010, she worked for the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, and she has also worked for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

Monmouth Chaplain the Rev. Dr. Teri Ott said Hawkinson brings the right mix to her new job at the College.

“Jessica not only has the education for this position, but she also brings wonderful experience working for our denomination,” Ott said.

Monmouth was founded in 1853 by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and it is affiliated today with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The College’s vibrant Office of Religious and Spiritual Life offers students numerous opportunities, including a weekly chapel service during the school year.

One of Hawkinson’s chief responsibilities will be to help oversee the Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth, a new program that will start in summer 2017. The institute will provide high school students an ecumenical experience in which they will engage in theological inquiry, learn new modes of worship and spiritual practice, participate in service, experience interfaith activities, and explore their vocation.

“This is groundbreaking work, providing a college environment to high school students,” Hawkinson said. “I appreciate the attention of Teri and (Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies) Dan Ott to this to help shape and enrich the conversation about faith and what it means as we try to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these high school students come back to Monmouth when it’s time for them to choose a college.”

Hawkinson said she is also eager to begin work with Monmouth’s current students.

“I’m looking forward to the conversations about religious and spiritual life, and not just in the classroom,” she said. “The students have all sorts of questions about faith and social justice, and how that works together today. I’m eager to be involved with helping them answer those questions and to listening to what they have to say.”
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