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Search to Begin for a New Mills Chaplain

A committee is forming to lead the nationwide search for a permanent Mills College Chaplain.The college has been without a permanent chaplain since Rev. Dr. Lydia Moody left the position in August 2001 and Maud Steyaert, Mills alumna and current chaplain, took over in a year-to-year interim capacity.The search, to be officially announced within the next two weeks, will be conducted over the summer and lead to a permanent appointment before the start of the fall semester. “I will not be deciding whether I am applying for a permanent position until a job announcement is available for review,” said Steyaert in a phone message last week. She denied further comment.This is the second chaplain search within the year. The first was closed without hire, but with a resolution to re-evaluate the position and its place within the Office of Student Life. Steyaert did not apply last year; she was not interested in the job posting since it advertised teaching duties as a possibility. “While part of me would love to teach, I would prefer to not do less chaplaincy, which was part of the reason I decided not to apply for the permanent position,” she said in an interview last October.Steyaert was, however, happy to return to the position for another 10-month appointment, which will end on May 31. The Office of Student Life has decided to focus this year’s hiring process on the chaplaincy itself, because the demand for religious studies courses at Mills has been partially met by visiting professors over the past academic year. “We have been able to attend to the need for courses, now we need a chaplain with a focus on the community,” said Hilda Hernández-Gravelle, senior advisor to the president and acting vice president for Student Affairs. Hernández-Gravelle said that she does not expect the new chaplain to have dual responsibilities, but rather to embrace the sensitivities of the role in terms of service and programming.“I love the office, I love the work and part of me would love to stay,” said Steyaert in October, who said she sees great potential for the chaplaincy at Mills. “I feel really grateful to have had this opportunity to serve the Mills community by being Chaplain. I love Mills, I know Mills, and Mills is the one place that I could throw myself into serving the community.”Students interested in being part of the search are encouraged to contact Hernández-Gravelle.