Rev. Maeba Jonas, Westminster College’s chaplain resident and coordinator of the Office of Community Engagement and Service-Learning, was recently ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the United Church of Christ. A 2014 graduate of Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity, Jonas came to Westminster in 2015 for the College’s two-year Chaplain Residency Program, which offers recent seminary graduates the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and mentorship in a small liberal arts college setting.
“Many denominations, including the United Church of Christ, require that you have a position in ministry before they will ordain you to that position as a ‘call,’” Jonas says. “However, many college chaplaincy positions require ordination as a prerequisite for applying to the position. As you may imagine, this creates a Catch-22 for many students fresh out of seminary.”
Ordination is not a required prerequisite of Westminster’s Chaplain Residency Program; in fact, part of the purpose of the program is to support those in the ordination process as they pursue a career in college chaplaincy.
“I am forever grateful to Rev. Jamie Haskins and everyone at Westminster College for their love and support throughout this process,” Jonas says. “While I am sad that my two-year residency has come to an end, I am happy that a new resident will take my place and that this important program will continue. It has changed my life for the better.”
Sponsored by the College and Fulton United Church of Christ, Jonas’s ordination marks the end of her chaplain residency at Westminster. Rev. Jamie Haskins, director of Spiritual Life, says her presence on campus will be missed.
“She is a phenomenally gifted chaplain who has offered many gifts to the Westminster College community,” Haskins says. “She has developed meaningful relationships with countless students, taught impactful religious studies courses and totally reimagined our Office for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. She is a visionary and a true leader, and while I’m sorry to see her go, I’m excited about all that is in store for her.”
Westminster students Ella Leslie and Erin Perry, both seniors who work at the College’s Center for Faith and Service, say Jonas’s tenure has no doubt left a lasting impact.
“Maeba has orchestrated a much-needed change on our campus and in our community around the ways we do service,” Leslie says. “She has brought new methods of service that are relational and dignity giving to our Fulton community. … She has shown me what it looks like to be an active and passionate leader and how to dream big and achieve those dreams, too.”
“Her confidence and steadfastness in every thing she believes — the divine, working for justice, passion for service — is an inspiration to those around her and gives those in the office the drive we need to work for the needs of students, faculty and staff every day,” Perry adds. “I think Maeba has entered this campus with a critical mind, one that challenges our definitions of service and what it means to be in relationship with our community.”
Jonas has been hired as the new assistant chaplain at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where she’ll be moving to begin work toward the end of the summer. Previously, Jonas worked as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and she is excited to be returning to Baltimore — and close to where she grew up — for this exciting opportunity.
To learn more about Westminster’s Center for Faith and Service, click here.