Chaplaincy Program

Working Together for a Better World

University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College provides nondiscriminatory educational opportunities for the pursuit of academic excellence. The educational experience provides opportunities to develop a balance of intellectual, aesthetic, social and physical qualities; in addition, Rio strives to assist the student in meeting their emotional and spiritual needs, all of which characterize the total human experience.

Of Rio's mission, the Chaplaincy Program assists the student in the development of the spiritual dimension of their person. The Chaplaincy provides an unbiased, non-sectarian approach to spirituality.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Chaplaincy Program is to extend ministry to all students, staff, faculty, and administration for the express purpose of facilitating the personal spiritual unfolding of individuals.

Spirituality in this context refers to seeking meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes the development of a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and the natural forces that exist in the universe. It also involves the development of personal values and ethics.


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

  • We do not bring God to the campus: rather, we affirm and celebrate a God who is always and everywhere present.
  • We will not tell you how to live; rather, we will discuss and explore life’s options. Knowing who you are is the challenge of university life and we welcome the opportunity to join with you in the journey of discovery.
  • We believe that all human beings have been created spiritual with spiritual needs, and our purpose is to serve students at the University of Rio Grande by helping them meet those needs in a very real and tangible way.
  • We help meet those needs by pursuing a friendship and providing a listening ear from someone who cares. We also offer Bible studies, counseling, residence hall programs, and other activities.
  • We exist because we believe that dialog and friendship between different faiths is both necessary and good.


The volunteers give their time to minister to the needs of individuals, regardless of tradition or faith. The ministry will seek to provide services in the following areas.

Personal problem solving and support is offered to students and others in the University. Everyone is invited to stop by the Volunteer Chaplaincy office or make an appointment by calling (740) 245-7199.

The ministry will provide resources upon request in the classroom setting, encourage development of religious studies and course offerings, and other appropriate involvement in the teaching-learning arena.

The ministry will seek to create opportunities to enrich student life by cooperating with student groups such as the Student Government Association, and for personal growth by providing small group encounters, Bible study groups, lectures, and other special activities.


Chaplain Appointments by Arrangement

William Plants

  • Chaplaincy Coordinator

Additional Contacts

Title Name Organization Number email
Pastor Ron Bynum Rodney Pike Church of God 740-245-9518
Pastor Thom Mollohan Pathway Community 740-245-9664
Elder Paul Sebastain St. Louis Catholic Church 740-446-0669
Pastor Jamie Sisson Fellowship of Faith Church 740-709-6750