Monday, September 18, 2017

Melissa Wales, Executive Director, to Leave UCM

After eighteen years at United Campus Ministry, and thirteen years as its Executive Director, Melissa Wales is leaving the organization at the end of September to assume the new position of Chief Operating Officer of Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville.

“It’s been a wonderful experience serving this organization and this community,” Wales said, “and UCM will always be very dear to my heart. I’m excited to be able to pursue this new opportunity, and happy that I’ll still be around and able to support UCM in other ways.”

Wales joined the UCM staff in 1999 as Program Coordinator. She became Interim Director upon Rev. Jan Griesinger’s retirement in 2003, and became Executive Director in 2005.

UCM is inviting everyone to a thank-you and farewell celebration for Wales on Wednesday, September 20, as part of the “Pints with a Purpose” fundraising event being hosted by Devil’s Kettle Brewing on Columbus Road in Athens. The fundraiser runs from 4 to 9pm; the celebration will be from 6 to 8pm.

Rev. Evan Young, UCM’s Campus Minister, will assume the role of Executive Director on October 1. UCM is opening a search for an Assistant Director and plans are to fill that position by November 1.

“Melissa is not someone we’re ever going to be able to replace,” said Young. “I’m excited for her at this new opportunity, and I’m confident that UCM will be able to adapt and move forward with our vital interfaith and social justice work. It’s a little daunting, of course, but I know we’ll have some stellar applicants for the new position and I’m looking forward to UCM’s next chapter.”

For information about the Assistant Director position and the application process, contact Jennifer Kelly, UCM’s Office Manager, at

Assistant Director Position Announcement

United Campus Ministry (UCM), an ecumenical and interfaith ministry serving the Ohio University and Athens communities, is seeking an energetic, committed, justice-seeking individual to fill the newly configured position of Assistant Director.

UCM is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage the Ohio University and Athens communities in spiritual growth, work for social justice, and community service guided by socially progressive and interfaith values.

The duties of the Assistant Director will include:
• Assisting Executive Director with fundraising and donor development, community & campus networking, program development, and overseeing/assisting with events
• Primary responsibility for operation of our two weekly free meal programs
• Managing building & rentals
• PR and publications
• Managing UCM’s website

Qualifications (required):
Bachelor’s degree
Some experience working in the nonprofit sector
Experience supervising paid employees and/or volunteers
Excellent written and oral communications skills
Some availability for evening and weekend work
Patience, flexibility, and a sense of humor

Some experience in fundraising and development
Some theological education
A history of involvement in social justice and activism work

Expected salary: $25,000 to $30,000

Applications accepted until October 3. Seeking a start date of November 1. To apply, send a resume, cover letter, and contact information for two references to Jennifer Kelly at

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Charlottesville, A Reflection
by Campus Minister Rev. Evan Young

The events in Charlottesville, Virginia have been front and center in our thoughts. As we prepare for the return of students to OU’s campus, we’re thinking, “Charlottesville is a college town. Like Athens.” And wondering when what happened there will come here—and what we’re going to do about it.

White supremacists are marching and rallying openly in the streets of our nation. In the week since Charlottesville, they’ve marched and rallied in several other cities. They’re advocating policies and practices that give preference to white people and treat nonwhite people (and immigrants, and LGBTQ+ folks, and non-Christians, and women) as “less than.” They’re openly threatening violence—not just isolated violent acts, but a mass campaign of violence—to promote their vision and to force its adoption as policy.

Yet more disturbing is the extent to which they have gained the ear, the sympathy, and the support of key political and government leaders—from the President to members of his administration to leaders of his political party, both within and beyond the legislative and executive branches of government. President Trump’s failure to condemn the words and actions of the individuals and groups who organized the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, who marched through those streets chanting “Jews will not replace us!” and “Blood and soil!,” is a stain upon our collective identity, integrity, history, and community. The false equivalency he has drawn between the white supremacist demonstrators and those who gathered to protest the message of hatred, bigotry, and oppression is an insult to our collective intelligence. And the silence—or overt and enthusiastic agreement—of his supporters in the face of this insult is an embarrassment to us all.

This is not a political issue. It’s a moral issue. It goes to the heart of our faith commitments to affirm and promote freedom, justice, and community for all. We have found that in order to be true to our faith (our faiths, really, since we have many traditions represented on our staff, on our Board of Directors, and among our students, supporters, and donors), we must speak to this. And we must be unequivocal. We stand against those who believe that the right to rule this country must be reserved for “white” people. We stand with those who seek equal rights, opportunity, and protection for all people, whatever their race or nationality or immigration status or sexual orientation or gender identity. We recognize the painful and problematic presence of racism and white supremacy in our past and our present, and we are committed to educating and equipping ourselves and our communities to right those wrongs. If this sounds like you, or like what you want to be and to do in this town and this world, we stand with you. We want you to know that you’re not alone in this struggle, and we want to invite you to reach out to us and to each other for encouragement, for support, for challenge or a listening ear. We’re going to need each other.

Because the students are coming back. And they’re talking about this. They’re hurting, maybe afraid that Charlottesville is coming to our college town, in one form or another. They’re going to need all of us—our presence, our heart, our witness, our dedication, our faith. And we’ll need to be prepared, because Charlottesville IS coming to our town, one way or another. Our prayer and intention is that UCM will be ready with a faithful response—our campus and community need that from us. And we need you. Because we’re better, stronger, and wiser together.

Monday, July 31, 2017

18 N. College St.

Convenient up-town location just off Court Street and a block and a half from Ohio University. Beautiful hardwood floors and built in shelving. And the best office neighbors. AND your rent goes to support the work and mission of UCM!

Approximately 13ft x 14ft on the 2nd floor in the United Campus Ministry building. Ideal for a non-profit organizations, professional office or research/writing. Additional meeting space, kitchen and dining/event room available for free use. Includes WIFI and all utilities except land line. Call 740-593-7301 or email NOW to scheduling a visit to check it out!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


The arrest of more than 70 students and others last Wednesday (February 1, 2017), at a peaceful protest and sit-in at Ohio University’s Baker Center, has brought home to Athens and Ohio University a deeply troubling trend in our national dialogue around race, religion, justice, and civil rights. While there may be differing opinions as to the extent of the “disruption” created by the protesters (for instance, those attending an event in the Front Room that evening might have experienced the large protest just outside differently from those who witnessed part of the protest in person or via streaming video), there is no “alternative” to the fact that in a situation that was escalated by the presence and action of a large number of local law enforcement personnel as well as a few counter-protesters, no person or persons emerged to play the role of a mediating presence that might have been able to de-escalate the situation.

As a campus minister who serves the Ohio University and Athens communities, I wish with all my heart that I had been there. Had I not been fully engaged elsewhere in another part of my role, I would have been there. Not because I am uniquely qualified to serve as a mediating presence—there are many in this community who could do that better, and some of them hold positions of much greater power and influence that might have been of help in defusing the situation. No, I wish I had been there because part of what we do here is to “walk toward trouble.” And that’s the discouraging trend we see—the dwindling willingness of people who should know better to do the same: to show up and engage and to help mediate tense and potentially conflictual situations. We can do better than this.

If the last couple of weeks are any indication, the coming weeks and months are likely to offer many more opportunities to “walk toward trouble.” I hope, intend, and expect to rise to those occasions. For the sake of the students and community members who will be continuing to stand up and speak out for justice and inclusion in the face of rising fear, mistrust, and bias, I hope we all do. I would hate for Ohio University to become a place where principled and public expressions of dissent draw to them not compassionate concern and engagement, but silent acquiescence to heavy-handed suppression. If you agree, perhaps we can find ways to work on this together.

Email Evan at