Alumna hired as director of student ministry

Paul Watson, Campus Carrier News Editor

Alumna Erin Moniz (03) has returned to Berry to assist Chaplain Jonathan Huggins as the director of student ministry.

As director of student ministry, Moniz will performing many duties that were originally performed by Huggins and his student workers. First, Moniz will be supervising student workers. She will also be heading program leadership for the Chaplain’s Office and Mount Berry Church. Basically, she will be doing what she “needs to do to help Huggins do his job to ultimate effectiveness,” Moniz said.

Moniz said one role she is very excited about is being an active member of the Religion-in-Life (RIL) Advisory Council.

“I look forward to taking inner dialogue between groups to a new level,” Moniz said. “I’m excited to see a spirit of cooperation between religions and denominations.”

Huggins said ministering to the student body more effectively was a major component in deciding to hire an assistant.

“There is a growing population on campus, and the demands of the [Chaplain’s] job are increasing,” Huggins said. “The department has depended on one professional plus student workers for the past several years, so we were a little understaffed.”

The search for an assistant began with 70 applicants, and a search committee narrowed it down to six finalists, Huggins said. Those six applicants were interviewed via a Skype video call. From those interviews, two were chosen to come to Berry’s campus for a face-to-face interview, Huggins said.

Huggins said Moniz was qualified for the job “to a degree that excelled past everyone else.” She is a Berry alumna, and has kept in touch with Berry. While she was a student, she served as student minister for a church in Rome for four years. She also served as a worship leader at Mount Berry Church while she attended Berry.

After graduation, Moniz continued in student ministry until she began working on her Master of Divinity degree from the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va. She will complete her degree in December. Huggins said Moniz’s personality and strengths were good complements to his own.

Moniz said in order to work at Berry, she and her husband, Matt, moved from Nashville, Tenn. with their two cats. Huggins said Moniz was an accomplished musician in Nashville. She traveled for five years in a folk duet called Day 39, comprised of herself and Berry alumna Ashley Herring Pope (02).

Moniz started at Berry on Monday, and she said it was a great move.

“It’s a perfect fit,” she said. “If I had to make up a job that I would love to do, it would be this one.”

Moniz said one of the best parts of her job is her coworkers.

“The people involved in RIL are amazing people,” Moniz said. When you get a chance to work with amazing people doing something you love, you go for it.”

Senior Dana Wenger, the current Mount Berry Church coordinator, said she is unsure how Moniz’s new role affects her current one.

“We will have a staff meeting on Tuesday to hash things out,” she said. “Either way, there will be lots of room for flexibility and change for my successor, (sophomore) Erin Argersinger. There will be lots of time to figure it out.”

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