By Cassie Florian
Last week, the college introduced a new Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life to campus, Rev. Andrew Pomerville.
“Returning to Alma College [was] truly a dream come true,” said Pomerville, who was an Alma College graduate in 2001.
“The opportunity to serve as the chaplain and director of spiritual life is a lifelong dream and a true calling.”
Along with this familiarity and love for the college, Pomerville also cites his past experiences in ministry as vital for his success here at Alma.
“Looking back on my career in ministry, I believe all my experiences have been preparing me for this particular opportunity,” said Pomerville. “I most recently served as the senior pastor for the multi-denominational Peoples Church of East Lansing, whose diverse population drew heavily from Michigan State University students, faculty, staff and alumni.”
On March 16, Keith Wise, who was appointed in August as the interim chaplain after the resignation of Rev. Noel Snyder, will officially hand over the position to Pomerville.
“Although I haven’t met him in person, by reputation he is very good” said Wise, professor of history and religious studies. “I had complete confidence in the selection committee [for the position].”
Wise said he would greatly miss meeting prospective students as well as his interactions with students beyond the classroom, however he said he realizes that soon it will be time for him to step down.
“I’ve served in interim positions before in my ministry and from that I’ve learned the ways of temporary service,” said Wise. “You have to be willing to give it away and you need to have the mindset to be able to function well in a temporary capacity.”
Students have also shown much excitement for the arrival of the new chaplain and for what they believe he can bring to spiritual life on campus.
“I am beyond excited [for the new chaplain] … each time [I’ve talked to him] I have been blown away by this crazy energetic vibe he gives off,” said Holly Zuiderveen (‘18). “He seems truly passionate about his role as a mentor and spiritual counselor, and ready to run with the job description and tailor it to his own gifts and students’ needs. As with any small, close-knit group on campus, chapel can be intimidating or just plain unappealing to students,” said Zuiderveen.
“However, I think having a chaplain [who is]more dedicated to just having conversations with people outside of the traditional Sunday worship time is a great goal, and one that he wants to accomplish.”
“I’ve met [Rev. Pomerville] a couple of times through church conventions and am very familiar with his name,” said Libbey Jones (‘18). “Although we were all very excited for Noel when he got a new job, I think we are all ready for a new, permanent person. I definitely think that it is important who gets chosen to be chaplain,” said Jones. “They will all have their own style of preaching and it is important that we find someone who is young, has an exciting outlook and will [meet] our students where they are.” These are all qualities that Jones said she believes Pomerville possesses.
“The opportunity to serve as the chaplain and director of spiritual life is [a] lifelong dream and a true calling,” said Pomerville. “The chance to serve during this amazing moment in Alma’s history is beyond my greatest expectations and I look forward to joining this outstanding community.”