The changes to “chapel” aren’t the only thing new about the Office of Spiritual Formation this year. Rachel Hunka and Liz Hehman are two new members of the Spiritual Formation support staff. We sat down with both of them to learn more about them and the changes in the Spiritual Formation credits.
Aviso: Where did you both grow up?
Hehman: I grew up on Long Island.
Hunka: Born and raised in Canton, Ohio.
Aviso: Where did you go to high school?
Hehman: East Middle High.
Hunka: Perry High School.
Aviso: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
Hehman: I went to Messiah College, and Christian Ministries.
Hunka: I went to John Carroll University. My undergrad is communication and my masters is theology.
Aviso: How did you end up working at Malone?
Hehman: My family moved to Canton when my husband got a job here.
Hunka: My husband did his undergrad at Malone. While he was here, I was really upset that I dropped my religious studies minor in my undergrad, so I started working on my masters here, and I’m currently a masters student.
Aviso: Favorite memory about college?
Hehman: Just hanging out on the weekends. Whether we were doing something on campus or going camping off campus, I had a great social life in college.
Hunka: I worked at their radio station. I did the afternoon drive show five days a week and I was a promotions director. That was a lot of fun. I got to sift through new music when it came into the station, and choose what I was playing. I would do really random giveaways on my show for people to call in. And then as promotions director, I got tickets for all the local shows to give them away or go myself. It was really fun.
Aviso: If you could have anything in your office what would it be and why?
Hehman: An espresso bar. I was a barista once, so I can operate it. I was a barista at Jo’s Java in Greenville, Illinois. It was fun because I love coffee.
Hunka: I’d have a beta fish. I’ve just always had a beta fish in my office, but I wouldn’t be able to take care of this one on the weekends.
Aviso: If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Hehman: I just want to be strong. It would be strength.
Aviso: What is your role here in the Spiritual Formation Office?
Hehman: I help out with Spiritual Formation Opportunities. We will be developing some mentoring and other things like that.
Hunka: I’m in charge of Life Groups and Jubilee, so right now I’m working to get Life Groups set up, what they are about, reserving the rooms, that kind of stuff, and making that available to students as soon as possible. And with Jubilee, I will just be in charge of coordinating that.
Aviso: Are there any of the new Life Groups that particularly interest you?
Hunka: Yes! They all sound extremely interesting. I was just telling one of the leaders earlier, I feel like throughout my life I have been at every different point in my faith. Whether it was growing up in a Christian family, trying to figure out what I believe, or walking away from the church, I went through that phase. I’ve been at every different extreme. I think they all have something really unique to offer, but in particular, Deb Robinson’s group on Wednesday nights really intrigues me. She’s hitting topics like “why we should pray” or “why we should obey” and “what happens when I screw up?” That one really interests me. And Dr. Nicholson’s one on The Bible series just really intrigues me because they are looking at scripture for the first part, then seeing how it was portrayed in the miniseries, and then discussing it.
Hehman: I think the one about integrating your vocation with your faith is interesting. It’s difficult when you don’t have a clear cut ministry or pastoral role. I’m a photographer also. I own my own photography business, and I’ve really wrestled with that. What does it look like to be a Christian and be a photographer? How does the one permeate the other? Is it all about the way I treat people? It’s something I still wrestle with.
Aviso: What would you say to students who might be hesitant of all these changes to Spiritual Formation Opportunities?
Hunka: I would say give it a try and give us feedback, because the same way that they are doing things new this semester, so are we, and we are far from perfect. I’m more than willing to hear those suggestions. Say with Life Groups, maybe they think there aren’t enough options, tell me. If there’s an option that maybe they wish they had, talk to us about it. There’s an application to have something count as a Spiritual Formation Opportunity. Liz and I will get that, read it, pass it on, and put it in the hands that it needs to be in. If they are concerned that there’s not enough community worship, tell us. We want to hear from them.
Hehman: The whole reason that the Spiritual Formation program was revamped was to be more relevant and user friendly; to really meet each student where they are at. Our heart really is with the students, and trying to say spiritual formation is important, and you may not agree, but we are trying to meet you where you are at. I would encourage students, if they are still struggling with it, come talk with us. We really truly are here for them.