Ukirk Welcomes in new Permanent Minister

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The Presbyterian students at UKirk are finally being given a full-time minister after a few years without one. Chris Bailey has just been announced as the UKirk minister and will officially start on Thursday.

“I had long had an interest and felt a calling to college ministry,” Bailey said. “The campus ministers had a very heavy influence on my sense of call and my decision to go to seminary, and recognizing that influence I wanted and hoped to be able to offer that same support to students as well.”

Bailey first attended undergrad at Wofford College in South Carolina, just 20 minutes away from his hometown of Greenville, before attending Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. There, Bailey met his wife of a few months, Noha Khoury-Bailey, a first-generation American and fellow Presbyterian minister. He then went to serve as minister at First Presbyterian Church of Middletown, Ohio for a few years before he and his wife made their way to Huntington.

While both Bailey and his wife are licensed ministers, Bailey will be the one to take the lead on campus. The two are a team though, and Bailey said he would not have taken the position if they did not believe Huntington was the place both he and his wife could fine successful careers. Bailey was also drawn to Marshall because of the number of first-generation college students and the diversity around campus.

“I’m excited,” Bailey said. “One of my goals is to be very ecumenical and hopefully foster interfaith dialogue with the other Christian denominations and other faiths as well.”

Bailey plans on making contacts with the LGBTQ offices on campus and being available around campus to spread the open message about UKirk to the different students who are not plugged in with the Campus Christian Center.

His appearance on campus comes as a relief to UKirk president Talena Justice. She is one of the only UKirk students to stay in the group despite the turbulence with finding a permanent minister.

“I’m glad that they finally found someone permanent,” Justice said. “I think that things will start to get better. I think our group will grow.”

Justice said many of her peers left the group as the different interim ministers they grew attached to left. She is ready to get back out and start helping the program grow with Bailey.

“I just really feel like UKirk is a great group and I feel responsible for helping the group prosper for a little bit since I’ve been around for a couple years now,” Justice said. “I just really love the group and just feel like it’s my responsibility to help out.”

Karenann Flouhouse can be contacted at [email protected]

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