A staff of chaplains represents several faiths on campus including Baptist, Episcopal, Jewish (Chabad & Hillel), Presbyterian, Reformed University Fellowship, Catholic, and United Methodist. Each chaplain or director provides worship opportunities, counseling, study, action, retreats, and fellowship for his/her constituency. Together the staff of chaplains cooperates with the Office of Religious Life in offering programs of ecumenical and interfaith interest to the Vanderbilt community.
Affiliated Chaplains and Directors
Father John Sims Baker
University Catholic Chaplain
University Catholic exists to glorify God primarily by serving the sacramental and spiritual needs of the Catholic students of the university. In fulfilling this end, the traditions of the Church in worship, spirituality, and the intellectual life are the sources. Fr. John Sims Baker, a priest of the Diocese of Nashville, is the chaplain, who coordinates the spiritual activities and serves the Catholic student organization.
Richie is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas. He and Laura met in college and were married in 2000. He graduated from Belmont University and attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. In 2004 he graduated from RTS with an Masters of Divinity. He ministered as the Associate Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, MS from 2004-2007 before becoming the Assistant Pastor to Young Adults at Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2009, Richie was called to be the Senior Pastor at IPC where he served until 2015. In 2015 Richie was called to RUF at Vanderbilt. Richie and Laura have three children, Mamie, Griffin, and Margaret.
Check out RUF’s page on Facebook!
Ari Dubin, M.A.
The Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life on campus is a vibrant community that provides many opportunities for Jewish experience – spiritual, intellectual, social, communal. We are committed to the diversity of religious expression within Judaism, and we embrace and seek interfaith understanding among the many traditions represented at Vanderbilt.
See Ari’s Facebook Page.
Director of Jewish Student Life
Julie Sugar is thrilled to join Vanderbilt Hillel as the new Director of Jewish Student Life. She will be working closely with Hillel’s student leaders and staff on religious life, Jewish education, general programming, and special projects. She received her BA from Hunter College in New York, and has worked in education and Jewish communal service ever since. In addition to her work at Hillel, Julie is also a writer and journalist, with an ongoing interview series at The Jewish Daily Forward. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org — please say hi!
United Methodist Campus Minister
Heath is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church. He has received a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Arkansas, and a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University. Before moving to Nashville in 2013, Heath worked in several campus ministries and churches over the past fifteen years, in Texas and Arkansas. He recently authored his first book, Flames of Love: Hell and Universal Salvation. Heath is glad to get to be the campus pastor for the Wesley Fellowship, which seeks to empower emerging adults on campus to become thoughtful and active followers of Christ.
UKIRK Presbyterian Minister to Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities
I was born in our nation’s capital and I lived in various cities in Florida but primarily grew up around the lakes, where I fell in love with rowing. I competed nationally and rowed at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where I majored in religious studies and adolescent health. During and after college, I worked for YoungLife, focusing on hospitality, and ministry to both youth and young adults, and I lived in Colorado. The seasonal way of life in the Rocky Mountains gave me time to travel and I drove all over the country, as well as backpacking with friends throughout Europe and Australia, and New Zealand on my own. I went to seminary at Duke, where I focused on pastoral care, social issues and worship. I have had great experiences working with people living with HIV/AIDs and at a wonderful Presbyterian church in Raleigh, where I continued to serve after graduation. I most recently finished a year as a chaplain at a children’s hospital, which gave me the hours and space to finish a certification for chaplaincy and pastoral counseling, while doing some pastoral supply work in my home presbytery. I recently moved to Nashville and look forward to getting to know the city and its people. Feel free to reach out to me at: email@example.com.
Rabbi Shlomo Rothstein
Rabbi Rothstein was raised in Baltimore, MD, the oldest of eight children. He traveled the world for school, living in Chicago, Montreal, Melbourne, and New York before landing in Tennessee.
The Chabad Jewish Student Center at Vanderbilt University is based on the ideology of Chabad and fueled by the inspiration and teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, which have at their foundation the encompassing mitzvah “to love every Jew as one loves himself” and the mandate to concretize that love with Acts of Kindness and Mitzvahs. It’s our belief that every individual Jew has an indispensable contribution to make to the totality of the Jewish people. Chabad welcomes all Jews at their own pace and comfort level through innovative educational programs in all areas of Jewish life.
Rev. Becca Stevens, M.Div.
University Episcopal Chaplain
St. Augustine’s Chapel on the Vanderbilt Campus is a vibrant and hard working community of people that consists of students, faculty, and staff as well as about 200 people from the greater Nashville Community. We provide opportunities for worship, fellowship, learning and outreach to anyone who is interested.
Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) exists to help students and the university community know God through Bible study, worship and discipleship and to make God known through fellowship, community ministry, outreach and missions. Come join us on Thursday nights at 8:15 at the BCM for our weekly worship/Bible study or just stop by the building. Our doors are always open to you. Grace and peace.
Check out BCM’s page on Facebook.