“I got dumped by a girl,” Father Adam Rick said with a candid smile. It was the turning point in his college career that steered him towards seminary. “When you’re a junior in college, man, it’s devastating … I started to read the Bible with fresh eyes.”
Now, Rick will serve as Hillsdale College’s chaplain after Bishop Peter Beckwith concluded his six years as chaplain with his retirement in the end of July.
The second born, between two sisters, Rick spent the first 12 years of his life in California where his father practiced law. He moved to Concord, Michigan, when his father took a job with a Free Methodist church in Spring Arbor, Michigan, where he and his family also attended church. Being a member of an intellectual and religious family, Rick’s parents, particularly his father, were instrumental in his spiritual development. He began serious study of the word of God in high school.
As his faith grew throughout his collegiate career at Spring Arbor University, Rick thought he would follow his father’s path toward law school. Following his junior year break-up, Rick returned to Spring Arbor with a broken heart for his final year of undergraduate education. The event was so life-altering that it drew him away from the law and drove him toward the cloth.
“As I was wrestling with the Scriptures with new eyes, I realized that I didn’t know how to read it, and that I needed to go to seminary,” Rick said.
Rick entered Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts, as “a blind slave” to the will of God.
“I wanted to meet Jesus at the right hand of God,” Rick said.
At Gordon-Conwell, his studies emphasized Biblical interpretation and exposition. During Rick’s graduate career, he became a Pierce Fellow for Disciple-Building which transformed his spiritual life and directed his efforts to spiritual leadership. Upon his graduation, he took a job with Gordon-Conwell designing an online curriculum, during which time he decided to plunge into pastoral ministry. Three years later, in August 2012, he was ordained a deacon in the Anglican church.
Rick met his wife, Katherine Harris, while she was visiting a mutual friend at Gordon- Conwell around the same time as his ordination. She had just completed her second year in her doctorate in piano performance at Peabody Conservatory, a part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Through countless flights and hours of Skype dates, they carried out a long-distance relationship for the next 11 months, until they married.
“I wanted to marry someone that was incredibly intelligent, and that’s what I got,” she said. “I remember one of the first things I asked for was a paper he had written, and I was really attracted by the bibliography.”
The paper was on the Trinitarian theology of the Cappadocian fathers.
Katherine Rick said her husband will be a good resource for any and all Christian students and faculty.
“I thought that he would be a good fit for this job because he could keep up with anyone on this campus, whether it be students or professors,” she said.
Head of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Griffith Brown agreed.
“He will help facilitate more unity within the student groups on campus,” Brown said.
The Ricks moved to Hillsdale in early August, and said they are filled with joy to call this their new home.