Mark A. Stokes was commissioned as chaplain at Tusculum College in an official ceremony during the Theologian-in-Residence program at the college on Tuesday, Feb. 4. This commissioning follows three years of study and commissioning as a Ruling Elder (formerly known as Lay Pastor) in Holston Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Stokes has worked in almost all of the major administrative areas at the College since coming to campus 25 years ago. Stokes has headed admission, student affairs and institutional advancement and has served as the vice president of administration, overseeing such diverse areas as the museums, information systems and building projects. He has also served Tusculum as its primary liaison with the Presbyterian Church USA and has also served in leadership roles in the church and in community service organizations.
“Not only is Mark Stokes an important and long-term member of the Tusculum College community and staff, he has also served in important leadership roles at First Presbyterian Church in Greeneville as an elder, a teacher, a choir member and a variety of other roles at critical junctures in its life and ministry,” said Dr. Dan Donaldson, minister of First Presbyterian Church and member of the Tusculum College Board of Trustees.
Dr. Donaldson added, “The long historic connection between First Presbyterian Church and Tusculum College is valued as an important relationship by both the College and the Church. As Mark’s pastor and friend I am pleased to share in this special occasion in his work and ministry. This commissioning strengthens the relationship between the Church and the College, and is an affirmation of Mark’s call to service in the ministry of First Presbyterian Church and the mission of Tusculum College.”
Stokes was enthusiastic about his new role. “I’m very happy to officially transition into this role at Tusculum College,” he said. “I look forward to leading worship and sharing my faith with students, faculty, staff and the community as chaplain of Tusculum College.”
In this new role, Mark will continue his work with church and community relations. He will assume the tasks associated with the college chaplain and will oversee weekly chapel services held during academic blocks and serve as adviser to the student religious organizations. Stokes will continue to coordinate the Council on Church Relations and develop and maintain the continued relationship with the Presbyterian Church (USA) through positions on Presbytery committees and as a liaison to the Presbyterian Church USA, Synod of Living Waters, Holston Presbytery, Presbytery of East Tennessee and the First Presbyterian Church of Greeneville.
He will continue to coordinate the Theologian-in-Residence lecture series, administer the College Day Sunday program at First Presbyterian Church of Greeneville, serve as a Tusculum Experience instructor and as an academic advisor.