ELKINS - Rev. Laura Brekke was officially installed by the Presbytery of West Virginia as the Benfield-Vick Chaplain at Davis & Elkins College. At the service, D&E President Chris A. Wood charged the congregation to both support and challenge her, while recognizing her as a shepherd led by God.
A minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Brekke was ordained in August 2014 and was named the Benfield-Vick Chaplain in July following a nationwide search.
For Sunday’s ceremony, Brekke wore the same stole as she did in her ordination. The garment, handmade by her aunt Cynthia Rominger of Richmond, Va., is adorned with two golden Celtic crosses and Brekke’s MacGillvary family tartan.
Ruling Elder Susan Perry, moderator of the Presbytery of West Virginia, presided over the installation. Members from across the Presbytery, as well as the College Chaplain Search Committee, also took part in the service.
In delivering the sermon, the Rev. Dr. Bill McCoy, pastor and head of staff at First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, W.Va., focused on the alignment of knowledge and wisdom to reach a “point of resonance.” However, in many of life’s challenges and decisions, “only God can connect the dots,” McCoy said.
McCoy explained that for the Davis & Elkins College community, Robbins Memorial Chapel represents wisdom as a place where God can lead us and teach us. In her ministry, Brekke will serve as the heart and center of that wisdom, he said.
The Rev. Dr. Shelly Barrick-Parsons, campus pastor for the Presbyterian ministry at West Virginia University, presented the charge to Brekke, calling on her to deliver joy, hospitality, hope, love and forgiveness.
Also participating in the ceremony were the Rev. Ed Thompson, general presbyter of the Presbytery of West Virginia; Maureen Wright, stated clerk of the Presbytery of West Virginia; Tina Vial, assistant director of development support and church relations coordinator at D&E and ruling elder in the PC(USA); the Rev. Dr. Peter Vial, pastor of Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elkins; Dr. Bryan Wagoner, Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy director and assistant professor of religious studies and philosophy at D&E; Dick McGraw, WCDE radio station manager; Molly Peterson, D&E senior and moderator of the Chapel Leadership Team; Lee Wittekind, D&E junior and Student Assembly president; and Shirley Fox, D&E senior.
As Benfield-Vick Chaplain, Brekke will guide the student-led Chapel Leadership Team, facilitate religious services, organize community engagement projects, and oversee the 1001 New Worshipping Community, a movement in the PC(USA) to take on new and varied forms of church for our changing culture. She also will serve as a member of the President’s Management Team.
An endowed chair established and supported by the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston, the Benfield-Vick Chaplaincy honors two of its former pastors, Dr. William A. Benfield and Dr. George Vick, who also served as trustees of Davis & Elkins College.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.
Photo Caption: The congregation participates in the Prayer of Installation and Laying on of Hands during the Service of Installation of the Rev. Laura Brekke as Benfield-Vick Chaplain at Davis & Elkins College. The ceremony in Robbins Memorial Chapel was attended by the campus community, members from across the Presbytery of West Virginia, the College Chaplain Search Committee and Elkins area residents.