Saint Augustine's University Welcomes New Chaplain

 

Nita Byrd joined Saint Augustine’s University Dec. 4 as the new chaplain. Byrd brings with her a passion for campus ministry and the Episcopal Church.

The Right Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, asked Byrd to serve at Saint Augustine’s University. Byrd said she was ready and willing to take on the task.

“Before I received the call, I wanted to see more Episcopal college ministries at historically African-American campuses,” Byrd said. “It was dear to my heart because I have thought about wanting this option (for students).”

Byrd began her ministry work at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cary, where she served on the vestry — a lay elected governing body of a parish — was liaison for outreach, and worked with adult Christian education and the youth programs. Byrd completed internships at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh and St. Titus Episcopal Church in Durham. Byrd currently serves as assisting clergy at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Raleigh.

Byrd began to discern a call to ordained ministry while at St. Paul’s in Cary. She graduated from Duke Divinity School with a Masters of Divinity degree and a Certificate of Anglican Studies in May 2012. She was ordained to the transitional diaconate in June 16, 2012. Byrd also studied at Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England.

Byrd was raised Baptist, but she was drawn to the Episcopal Church in 2000. It was the beauty of the liturgy drew her to the Church, Byrd said.

“The liturgy opens you to a new reality of the mystery of God,” Byrd said.

Byrd is starting a Canterbury Club on campus, which will give students an opportunity to ask questions about service and to learn about liturgy and the Episcopal approach to scripture — a three-fold approach of basing the spiritual journey on scripture, tradition and reason. The club will hold its first meeting at noon Sunday, Jan. 13, in the Historic Chapel.

Byrd is also hosting a four-week series on the transition to college called “Dessert Talk and Prayer.” The series, aimed at first-year students, begins Jan. 16. Sessions will be held at 6:30 p.m. weekly in Weston Hall.