Valparaiso University Chapel of Resurrection has hired a new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) pastor Katherine Museus Dabay to join their ranks this year.
The search for the new pastor began last year while the chapel had candidates come and speak at different services here on campus. Now, as of Jan. 4, Pastor Dabay has filled the position.
Pastor Dabay originally comes from a Lutheran church in Franklin, Tennessee where she served as the associate pastor, practicing in youth ministry and social justice work. The university had reached out to the church while looking for a new pastor. Church leadership thought she would be an excellent candidate and from there she was made aware of the opening position and applied, given how she was very passionate about doing church ministry.
“I’m really excited to be here. This is my first gig in campus ministry, it's what I’ve always wanted to do,” said Dabay. “So that's kind of personally thrilling and then I’m really enjoying the worship life here at Valpo and especially how active students are in leadership.”
Dabay’s role here on campus as the new ECLA pastor is that of a mentor. It is her job to reach out and talk with students, those being both of the faith and not of the faith. She is a listening ear for all who need to come and talk. She along with Pastor Jim Wetzstein help organize chapel services as well as oversee the student run parts of the church, such as the peer ministers and the Student Action Leadership Team (SALT), as well as carrying out and speaking at the services.
“I think mostly I would say I serve as a mentor to the students, since they're the ones doing a lot of the worship planning and running everything,” Dabay said. “So I kind of mentor them as they are having their meetings.”
As the new pastor here, Dabay’s main personal mission is to be there for all the students here on campus whether it be simple questions or talking about life experiences. Her goal is to provide a helpful space for the students to speak so that she can help them walk through their journey here at Valpo.
Dabay was prompted to go into ministry after finding her calling to the church in college, so she was able to connect with the campus church very well and was able to find her footing. It is for that reason that she herself is now a campus minister, so that she can help those who are still finding their footing here on campus.
“The whole point of college is to figure out more about who we are and what we feel called to do in our lives,” Dabay said. “I just think it is such a special place to be able to do ministry and have these conversations with people, and to be able to walk with them for these four or five years of their lives.”