Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Hill called to WVU Medicine as chaplain
BY JEFF STAPLETON
Amanda Hill (M.Div.’17) begins a new position at West Virginia’s largest healthcare provider as a chaplain for the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia. For the Hickory, North Carolina, native who got her undergraduate degree in horticulture at North Carolina State University the road to Union Presbyterian Seminary and her new position took many turns.
At NCSU, Hill found a home at the Presbyterian Campus Ministry (PCM), which was housed out of West Raleigh Presbyterian Church. “They were my family the entire five years I was in Raleigh,” she recalled. “It was through the mentorship of the campus minister, Scott Phillips, who really started to influence me and started to make me think that ministry was something that I needed to do as a career.”
During a Bible study at PCM her junior year, she came across what she calls her “call text.” She was studying the Gospel of Matthew and, in particular, Matthew 25. Within that chapter is the intense parable about the Judgment of the Nations. She started focusing in on verse 40. “Those things that you did to the least of these, you did it to me. He is, essentially, lining out what actions of faith must be done in order to do to God what God would wish. He goes through visiting those who are sick, seeing those who are in prison, clothing those who are naked and feeding those who are hungry.” She said at that point in her life, she was looking for things to do that made her feel connected to the world and that Bible passage spoke to her. This was God’s way of calling her to service.
When she started at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Hill assumed she was going to be a pastor for a feeding ministry with her horticulture background. With the courses she took, and the challenges from her professors, she decided that she fit best with chaplaincy. Her Clinical Pastoral Education internship happened in the summer of 2016. Then, starting in 2017, Hill served as chaplain resident to the surgical trauma ICU unit and the Evans Haynes Burn Unit at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. This position also included visiting patients who were recovering from trauma in that hospital.
With the road now leading to Morgantown, West Virginia, Hill is very much looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. “I feel that, for the last four years of my life, I have really been in intensive training for ministry. Especially through the three years at Union and this last year at VCU, I have been gearing up for the full time staff chaplain position that I now hold,” she said. “I can take a huge breath for a second and realize that all this work that I put in the last four years has finally started to pay off.”
She’s excited to be part of a hospital system and a team that is growing. “They’re building a whole new tower at WVU that’s going to be the children’s hospital. Right now, they’re at 650 beds and soon they will be at 750 beds. It’s going to be VCU size very soon.” Morgantown is a very small college town where the population of the town itself equals the enrollment at West Virginia University. Both are about 30,000.
Because Hill has had so much experience ministering to families who are experiencing tragedy, the move to be the chaplain in a cancer center makes sense. “I really have been steeped in care to patients and families experiencing trauma. I’ve taken previous positions on proudly because this is, specifically, what I do. I know about trauma and how it affects families. Making the switch to cancer is a big transition for me but it’s also very exciting.”