Campus ministry at the University of Mary Washington was born in a kitchen in the early 1940s. It was the vision of a woman named Violette Stoner, who at the time was a member of Fredericksburg United Methodist Church. At her urging, and with the support of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Wesley Foundation was established at UMW in 1945. Its first director was a woman named Susie Peach Foster.
In 1963, the Foundation’s second director, Loreeda Jones Niemann, was approached by the Westminster Fellowship, a campus ministry funded by the Presbyterian Church USA, about the possibility of a merger. The Episcopalians and Lutherans soon joined the effort, and thus was born the Campus Christian Community (CCC) at UMW.
Over the next 50 years, the CCC would grow and prosper under the leadership of several dynamic female pastors. Following Ms. Neimann’s retirement in 1987, The Rev. Kathy Campbell was named campus minister. Under her direction, CCC students reached out to the community, staffing the homeless shelter and helping to coordinate The Crop Walk. In addition, plans were initiated for a needed addition to the brick house on Dandridge Street.
Following in Rev. Campbells’ footsteps was The Rev. Kathy Pigg, who as campus minister oversaw the construction of the building addition between 1992 and 1994. Then in 1994, The Rev. Daphne Burt was called to be the fifth campus minister at the CCC. She continued the CCC’s tradition of community outreach and did a great deal to nurture the faith development of UMW students.
In 2000, The Rev. Mochel Morris was hired as campus minister for the 2000-2001 academic year, as the CCC, under the leadership of its Board of Directors, sought to transform its ministry to meet the challenges of a new millennium.
The following year, during the search for a permanent pastor, the CCC was guided by its first male pastor – The Rev. Timothy Waltonen, who served as interim campus minister during the 2001-2002 academic year. Finally, in July 2002, The Rev. Dr. Bob Azzarito began his ministry at the CCC. Under his leadership the ministry grew both in number and programming. It was also during his tenure that the, now international, organization Students Helping Honduras was begun. SHH seeks to help the impoverished children in Honduras.
In 2014, the current campus minister, The Rev. Shannon Waite, began her ministry with the CCC.
Over the past 50 years, the CCC has grown from an idea brainstormed in a kitchen to a thriving campus ministry that has nurtured the faith development of hundreds of UMW students. The CCC staff and students look forward to what God has in store for the future.