The Lakeland Mirror

Chaplain heads east for new challenges

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Nicole Geurts, Staff Reporter

Chaplain Kelly Stone has worked for Lakeland College for roughly five and a half years, but over Thanksgiving break she will be moving on and heading to a new college for another amazing opportunity.

It was always Stone’s dream to work at a United Church of Christ school. When Lakeland first posted the job, Stone found herself jumping with joy and excitement.

“I had five friends forward me the position opening and they all said that this would be the perfect job for me, and in many ways it has been,” said Stone.

Now Stone will be given the opportunity to be one of a staff of nine other chaplains working at Wellesley College.

Wellesley is located in Massachusetts and is a prestigious women’s college. It is known to have had many famous alumni, one being Hilary Clinton, but is most recognizable from its appearance as the setting for the movie “Mona Lisa Smile.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to try something new. While the position is a chaplain’s position, I will be one of nine because it is a multi-faith ministry. They have chaplains from all different religions, including Jewish and Buddhist,” said Stone.

Stone said the position at Wellesley appealed to her because it is an all-women’s college, and she has a particular passion for women’s issues.

“They are trying out a model to see how it works, and other colleges around the country are looking at this model. For me, it is really exciting to be a part of that,” Stone said.

Stone also said that Wellesley was looking for someone who understood protestant chaplaincy work and had experience there, and also someone who knew how to work with students.

Stone has had many duties while working for Lakeland, and they have varied from day to day. Some duties consisted of counseling, teaching, planning ceremonies, praying with others, visiting sick and grieving members of the community, attending meetings, counseling members of community, reading, praying, leading worships, etc.

One thing that Stone says she will remember most about Lakeland is the people – the students, faculty, and staff.

“I cherish those relationships, and there are a lot of people here that are very near and dear to my heart. That is what makes leaving hard. It is the one thing that I will remember most,” said Stone.

One of her favorite moments is when she gathers with students around a meal. She has had people to her home, gathered with people at lunch, and also hosted an interfaith dinner. Some 40 students signed up to partake in the interfaith dinner, which she hosted in fall of 2010. The students and staff came from all different religious backgrounds and got together to sit and talk about anything whether it was faith, or just general things.

“I learned a lot about their lives when we gathered for things like that. It is just one of my favorite memories here,” Stone said.

Right now, the college is in the process of coming up with a job description. As of now, it is unsure who will fill Stone’s shoes.

Stone hopes that she will love what she is doing in the future, that it will be interesting, and that it will be valuable.

“People couldn’t believe that I was a minister because I am so young. I take that into consideration when hoping for my future as well. I still have a lot of life to live, and I have no idea where it will take me,” said Stone.

While it is hard to leave, it is still exciting for Stone, and she hopes that Lakeland will continue to grow and be successful. She hopes that the chaplain office continues to grow and be interactive with the college.

“One thing I enjoyed doing was bringing the college together at the beginning of the year and dismissing it at the end of the year – also, helping shape moments for the college in between,” she said.

Stone will be missed by many. Nate Dehne, vice president of student development, had this to say about her leaving:

“Kelly was a blessing to Lakeland and really challenged the college to think about the chaplaincy in a much different way. Beyond her expected Chaplin duties, she was influential in the lives of countless Lakeland students by providing personal guidance, spiritual inspiration, and an additional friendly face to connect with during their time on campus. I will most certainly miss her work, but will especially miss our impromptu chats about our students, and life in general. I wish her all the best,” Dehne said.

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Chaplain heads east for new challenges