New Protestant Chaplain at Mount Holyoke College

For Immediate Release
August 31, 2005

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. --Mount Holyoke College welcomes the Rev. Sherry Tucker as the new Protestant chaplain to the College and advisor to the Protestant community at Eliot House for the 2005-2006 academic year. Tucker comes to the College from her previous two-year position as a minister at the First Congregational Church in Buckland, Massachusetts. The church, more commonly known as Mary Lyon Church, is located in the small hill town where Mary Lyon, Mount Holyoke College's founder, first began teaching. The church is also where Mary Lyon was baptized and where she worshipped.

Tucker's connections to the Mount Holyoke community are strengthened by the fact that she herself is a graduate of the College. She completed her master of arts degree in teaching in 1992, followed by a period of time coordinating a literacy program at the College, which focused on serving the needs of MHC staff, especially those for whom English was not their first language. She is also the mother of an `02 alum and the wife of Kenneth Tucker, professor of sociology.

"This position brings together everything I am passionate about," Tucker says. "As an alum, I am devoted to Mount Holyoke and all that this institution represents. It is truly a privilege to have the opportunity to work with young women who are asking important questions and seeking to understand how their spirituality impacts their life choices and approach to social justice."

After her time at Mount Holyoke, Tucker taught in the public school system before enrolling in a four-year master's program at the Andover Newton Theological School. She completed her degree there in 2001, while continuing to teach.

She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a denomination of Protestantism she was drawn to because of its emphasis on social justice, acceptance, and freethinking.

"We are fortunate to have Sherry in her new role at the College," says Dean Lee Bowie. "She brings to her chaplaincy a creative approach to liturgy, broad experience as a pastoral counselor, and an abiding interest in programs for social justice."

Tucker's position, which she is assuming from former Protestant chaplain Andrea Ayvazian, entails serving as an advisor and mentor to the Protestant community on campus, as well as representing Protestantism in the large interfaith dialogue that Eliot House continually facilitates.

"As a former sole pastor of a church, the team setting of Eliot House and the rich dialogue between the interfaith religious communities is a very exciting prospect," notes Tucker.

She will also work closely with the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, which oversees Eliot House and exists to foster deep personal and collective spiritual practice on campus to cultivate an inclusive community working toward spiritual depth, moral development, and social justice.