Meet Reverend Melea White: Cornell College’s New Chaplain
September 21, 2021
Cornell College welcomes a new chaplain: Reverend Melea White.
White is no stranger to Iowa. She grew up in Cedar Rapids and returned to the area in 2009 after attending undergraduate school in Mobile, Alabama, and obtaining a Masters of Divinity and Masters of Social Work in Austin, Texas.
She is ordained with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which she believes is a denomination to which she felt connected because of her core value of welcoming everyone to the table.
“People are expected to come together across and within different theological beliefs,” White said.
Cornell’s new Chaplain is excited to work with Cornell College students of all faiths and spiritual backgrounds and to be a resource for them during their time on the Hill.
“I think that’s the most important thing I want students to know is that I’m here to accompany them on their journey,” White said. “I want to be that presence for the students – someone they can turn to and know they will be affirmed and supported. The chaplain’s office is a space where people can come to ask big questions and explore faith, spirituality, meaning and purpose.
She notes that she is no stranger to seeking understanding throughout her own journey. She says she grew up in a Christian family but stopped attending church in college as she explored her own beliefs.
“Then in college, I started to feel that coming back to church, and I think it was the universe, the Divine showing me the way,” White said. “Some of our students are in the same place, and I often wonder what it would have been like in college to meet a pastor like me, especially a woman of the clergy. One of the reasons I feel called upon to work with students is because of my own experience.
Part of her faith story also includes a person many Cornellians know and love, Reverend Catherine Quehl-Engel ’89. White stumbled across her Cornell webpage in 2010, and the two met in what is now White’s office over a cup of tea after White’s seminar ended.
“Meeting her was very important in my journey. I left the seminar feeling like my whole world had expanded in a way that I didn’t really expect, and she played a role in helping me find my niche as a colleague. seminarian. I would say Catherine was instrumental in my own journey into university chaplaincy, which I feel is very comprehensive, ”said White.
Now White is planning student programs and building relationships. She will host a few recurring events each week from each block with others dotted around, including an inter-spiritual gathering, an all faith Christian gathering, activities on the lawn at Allee Chapel, and a mindfulness break during the week. 4 as the finals begin. . She also plans to be at the Thomas Commons every Thursday at lunchtime to chat with the chaplain.
White will provide many services to students, faculty, and staff including mentoring, spiritual care, pastoral counseling, presence ministry, support for religious or spiritual development and exploration, professional discernment, reflection on the meaning and purpose and response to the community crisis.
If you have any questions and would like to contact White, please feel free to email him at [email protected]. You can also follow the Spiritual Life Office on its new Instagram page: @cornellcollegespiritualife.