August 5, 2014
Greetings to the Rio Family,

                Some of you already know me from my time as a Rio Grande student or as an adjunct faculty member having taught World Civ. I, World Civ. II, Introduction to Social Science and now the Principles of Geography courses.  A few of you might remember me as a team member brought in nearly a decade ago when Ed Sofranko, as well as Barry & Judy Thompson, helped to settle the question of the birthplace of the fictional Star Trek character Montgomery Scott.  Currently, I am still an adjunct & a member of the Archives Commission.  Now I am permitted to serve the Rio family in a further capacity: coordinator of the Chaplaincy Program.

                A moment should be taken to thank my predecessor, Marshall Kimmel, for his efforts in guiding the program during his tenure as coordinator.  May I prove to be a worthy successor to him!

                The new members of the Rio family may be unfamiliar with the URG Chaplaincy Program.  The on-going mission of the program is to extend ministry to all students, staff, faculty & administration for the express purpose of facilitating the personal spiritual unfolding of the individual.  The program does not seek to enforce doctrine or serve as an established church.  The volunteer chaplains in the program, of course, are bound by the established tenants of their particular denominations.  They are free to minister to the needs of those seeking spiritual help in ways that do not conflict with the articles of faith for their individual denominations.  The volunteer chaplains maintain the same First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion, as do all U.S. citizens.

                Colleges, at their best, are designed to be a free marketplace of ideas & students may encounter ideas, some of which they may have never before heard of or considered.  The faculty are charged with educating the mind.  The chaplains are available for those students who, if they so choose, want to explore spiritual matters.

                Perhaps the best advice the volunteer chaplains could relay as a general invocation for the Rio family upon the impending start of the Fall Semester would be from an ancient source: King Solomon, whose words are recorded in Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”

                It is appropriate that a college established to train Baptist ministers in 1876 still recognizes the value of individual spiritual growth in the Twenty-First Century.


William E. Plants

Chaplaincy Introduction Letter.docx

Chaplaincy Introduction Letter.pdf