Meredith College has officially introduced Stacy Pardue as the new chaplain. Chaplain Pardue previously served as Meredith’s Chaplain from 2010 to 2016. The Herald had the opportunity to interview her, listen to her advice about living in these hard times and discuss with her the goals she has for serving the Meredith College community.
Pardue has been focusing her outreach on social issues since she began working as the assistant minister in the Baptist Church. In the twelve years she spent in the Baptist Church, she also focused on working with colleges such as Smith College, Meredith and NC State University. In 2016, she moved to Georgia for four years and began working at an interfaith, nonprofit organization called Family Promise. She says that she loved helping low-income families and offering her support. This organization focused on helping with basic needs, as well as providing what Chaplain Pardue calls “a pocket of support” for three months. The support system provided transportation, food and anything else they needed.
She worked with the Meredith College community for six years before moving to Georgia. When asked what made her decide to move back to Raleigh and come back to Meredith, her response was, “I do feel that my passion for outreach is a value that Meredith embraces, and that means a lot to me.” She says that to her, Meredith College has that “wonderful, communal, family feeling.” Students are also one of the biggest reasons for her return. During 2010-2011, she was able to use her passion for outreach to form Angels Against Trafficking, a group that helped educate people about human trafficking and take action against it.
As she returns to Meredith College, Chaplain Pardue hopes to connect with students and create virtual outreach projects.. Something she hopes to accomplish is to connect with students who have different faith traditions through Zoom. She also hopes to start a support group specifically for those who have been affected by COVID-19. In the future, as students make their return to campus, Chaplain Pardue is hoping to get involved with more campus initiatives and hopes to recruit Meredith students to join Passage Homes, an organization that helps those who are living or are at risk of living in poverty.
“I want to embody this body of faith that lives a life of giving,” Chaplain Pardue says about what she believes her role as Chaplain entails. She is a strong believer in “God calling her” to give back to her community. Currently, Chaplain Pardue wishes to focus some of her efforts on helping students cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress from school and family life during the pandemic can be overwhelming, going all the way back to March 2020, when students left for spring break and then were told they could not return to campus. Chaplain Pardue hopes she can offer support to anyone who needs it, if similar circumstances were to occur again due to the pandemic. She also emphasizes that her support is for anyone: “I love working with folks of all different faith traditions or if they’re non-religious.”
Chaplain Pardue has also begun a project to provide uplifting videos every Wednesday morning. She created the series, entitled “The Wonders of Nature, Creative Community Service and The Beauty of Music,” hoping to ease students and “put a smile on a face” during these uncertain times.
As The Herald’s conversation with Chaplain Pardue came to an end, she wanted to remind students to dedicate time to do “a daily practice of prayer or mindfulness” and to “pull away from the news.” She is also urging students who wish to connect with her for any type of support to make an appointment through her Meredith email, firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be available through Zoom and is also willing to meet face-to-face and six feet apart on Mondays for those who feel comfortable.
By Jessica Dedho-Doradea, Contributing Writer