Bishop Peter Beckwith, Hillsdale College’s chaplain, retired at the end of July, honored as chaplain emeritus. Hillsdale’s new chaplain is Father Adam Rick, the new pastor at Holy Trinity Anglican Parish in Hillsdale.
“I’ve had wonderful jobs in my life,” Beckwith said. “I’ve served four congregations and the diocese of Springfield, and they’ve all been challenging, all a blessing — and this is at least as good, if not the best, job.”
When President Larry Arnn first asked Beckwith to take the chaplaincy position at Hillsdale College, Beckwith protested that at 70, he was already too old for the job.
“‘I told him, ‘I’m old enough to be a grandfather to most of these kids,’” Beckwith said. “And he said, ‘Well, there’s a place for grandfathers.’ Dr. Arnn is really a hard person to say ‘no’ to.”
Now Beckwith, who turns 77 next month, has held the position for six years. During that time, he also served as faculty adviser to the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and taught several classes on Anglicanism and leadership.
Beckwith is a 1961 Hillsdale graduate. Before becoming chaplain, he served in many roles, including as a chaplain for the U.S. Navy. He said his philosophy as Hillsdale chaplain was similar to that of his ministry in the Navy: to provide for your own, facilitate for others, and to care for all.
As chaplain, he said the most difficult part was getting to know the students and faculty — a challenge he combatted by making a point of auditing classes and attending lectures and other social events in order to meet people.
“The Navy had a couple of sayings,” he said. “One was ‘deckplate ministry.’ When you’re on a ship, you can choose. You can be on the deckplates meeting people, or you can sit in your office. If you sit in your office, you’re not going to be very busy.”
When Holy Trinity’s longtime pastor Father Duane Beauchamp retired, Rick was called as pastor — and simultaneously hired as chaplain at Hillsdale. Although he has served since 2013 at Christ Church Anglican in Wayne, Pennsylvania, he is familiar with the Michigan area. Rick grew up in Concord, Michigan, and did his undergraduate studies at Spring Arbor University. He attended the evangelical Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts, and only later joined the Anglican Church to which he was ordained in 2012.
“I’m looking forward to being able to get to know the Lord better,” Rick said of his new role. “My objective is to help people see Christ in their lives and be better disciples in Jesus.”
His wife, Katherine, is also working for Hillsdale as a piano instructor and staff accompanist in the music department. Katherine Rick lived in Russia for 10 years as a child while her parents were missionaries and attended several prestigious music conservatories.
“Since I grew up in Russia, I tend to really love Russian composers: Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev,” she said. “I did my doctorate on Rachmaninoff, but probably my favorite Western composer is J.S. Bach.”
As chaplain emeritus, Beckwith will continue to visit the school regularly — supporting, assisting, and filling in where he can for Rick.
“This is one of the few colleges that provides a religious resource in the office of the chaplain,” Beckwith said. “Take advantage of it.”