Derek Elkins T’10

Protestant Chaplain and Co-Director of the Emmaus Center for Spiritual Life & Vocation
St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI

Responsibilities
“I joined St. Norbert College to support the spirituality of students from Protestant Christian denominations. In this role, I lead an inclusive worship service called Thin Place with students from a variety of Protestant traditions and journey with students discerning their vocations, I’m also a chaplain for the SNC football team, and bring public art on campus to enrich the liturgical year and offer spiritual support and conversation to all members of campus. I also co-lead the TRIPS Program, empowering students to grow through hands-on education, service and reflection to become engaged citizens who strengthen communities by committing to social justice.”

What led you to seminary, specifically Drew Theological School?
“I graduated with my first seminary degree and felt like I still had too many questions of my own to sort out before I could offer much to anyone else. I was raised in a religious community that made the stakes feel VERY high for people of faith, and I needed an environment that did not demand perfection (ironic for a United Methodist seminary). Drew gave me a community that is committed to training spiritual leaders who are committed to social justice, academic integrity and faithfulness without losing touch with grace and love. I needed an education that taught me to use my head and heart together, that’s what I got at Drew.”

How did Drew prepare you for your current role as a chaplain?
“Drew surrounded me with experienced ministers who taught me so much about how to be a good chaplain and spiritual leader. Kevin Miller, executive director of Graduate Admissions, was my boss the whole time I was a student at Drew and he taught me how to have a pastoral presence in a professional setting. Jeff Markay, senior pastor at Chatham United Methodist Church, was a mentor during the years after Drew and shared so much wisdom about pastoral care. I took courses in PREP for four semesters at Northern State Prison, and formed relationships that were pivotal in deepening my understanding of race and justice in America. Ultimately, the Drew community brings together people with a common commitment to God’s unfolding desire for love and equity in the world. It was an incubator for good ministry and good citizenship.”