Mars Hill seeks campus chaplain
February 7 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Mars Hill seeks campus chaplain | Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Mars Hill seeks campus chaplain

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

Less than five months after firing its campus minister in what school officials called a budget-cutting move, Mars Hill College is advertising for a similar position.

The school started advertising for a campus chaplain in late January, said Marc Mullinax, an assistant religion professor and chairman of the search committee.

Mars Hill officials fired former campus minister Paula Clayton Dempsey and her assistant in September.

The assistant was later reinstated.

Dempsey, who is past president of the Alliance of Baptists, had been a frequent target of criticism from some who regarded her views as too liberal for a Baptist college.

School officials insisted that her firing resulted from budget considerations only.

Mullinax referred questions concerning the school's budget to Dan Lunsford, the school's interim president.

Lunsford said he had stated at the time of Dempsey's firing that he hoped to reinstate the position in the next fiscal year's budget.

"Indeed, that's exactly the case," he said.

The school's fiscal year starts June 1. Mullinax said the school hopes to have the position filled by that date.

Lunsford said Dempsey would be considered for the post if she applied.

Dempsey declined to comment.

Lunsford said money for the position in the 2003-2004 budget came from increased student enrollment projections and tuition and other cost adjustments.

The school will also get matching funds from the Baptist State Convention (BSC) that it lost when it cut the position.

"We fully anticipate the convention dollars will be there," Lunsford said. "That's part of the solution, but not the full solution."

Rick Trexler, the leader of the BSC General Board's campus ministry team, said the school is losing out on $15,000 in matching funds while it doesn't have someone in the position.

"As I understand it, as long as there's no person, there's no funds," he said.

Trexler said the BSC is helping publicize the position.

"Our stance is we want to have somebody," he said. "We want to do some things for students across the state."

Mullinax said the new position is different from the previous position because it will include an emphasis on counseling and church relations and could involve some teaching duties.

The committee is asking for interested persons to apply by Feb. 21, but the position will remain open until filled, he said.

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2/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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