Millsaps names new college chaplain


Special to the Advocate

As the new chaplain at Millsaps College, the Rev. Rwth Ashton is fulfilling a calling she feels comes, in part, from her own meaningful relationships with college chaplains as a college student.

“As chaplain, I hope to provide pastoral presence, availability, care and confidentiality to the entire Millsaps community as an expression of spiritual companioning, or soul friendship.  In doing so, I want to model such spiritual friendship as one way of contributing to an overall environment of respect, care and curiosity for one another,” Ashton said.

Ashton, who began serving in her new role in August, is described as having “charismatic energy” by Dr. Brit Katz, vice president and dean of students at Millsaps College.

“Rwth’s presence invites students, faculty, staff, and alumni to participate in our spiritual traditions and community-service programs.  Her evident intellectual acumen will be a strength in this community of scholars and I enthusiastically look forward to the mark she will etch into the history of the chaplaincy,” Katz said.

Ashton, a United Methodist minister for the past 12 years, comes to the college from the First United Methodist Church in Belzoni. There she served as pastor after serving five years as the associate pastor at Crossgates United Methodist Church in Brandon.

“I look forward to co-creating opportunities for prayer, worship, spiritual growth, learning, fellowship and service,” Ashton said. “I am also energized by the prospect of working in recruitment and serving as a liaison to local churches of the United Methodist Church and congregations of other denominations and faiths.”

In her role as chaplain, she will work closely with a variety of Millsaps religious and service organizations included the Campus Ministry Team, a student-led interfaith organization; the McNair Fund for Christian Missions; and  C.A.L.L.S., Considering A Life of Leadership and Service.

Ashton’s appointment is the culmination of a competitive national search overseen by a diverse Millsaps search committee of students, faculty and staff. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Holyoke College with Phi Beta Kappa honors and a master’s of divinity degree from Boston University School of Theology.