Chaplain Montague Williams announced that he will be leaving ENC at the end of the semester to join the religion faculty at Point Loma Nazarene University during chapel last Wednesday.
Williams met with both the incoming and outgoing members of Executive SGA to break the news on April 3. A student on the outgoing SGA council said the council suggested the importance of communicating this news as soon and as openly as possible. Information was kept under wraps until Williams’s announcement, as the SGA and ENC administration believed strongly that this was his news to share with the school.
Point Loma offered Williams a job as a professor to teach classes starting in the fall 2017 semester. In addition to teaching classes that Williams feels passionately about, the move will give him the opportunity to finish his doctoral dissertation.
Williams made it very clear to SGA that the recent developments of ENC’s partnership with Trevecca had absolutely nothing to do with his decision to leave. He told the students that he is “very confident in Boone’s leadership.”
A student familiar with Williams said, “It is clear how difficult the decision was for [him] to make.” The student “believed Williams one hundred percent” when he said it had nothing to do with the Trevecca partnership.
Executive Administrative Assistant Elect Libby Nyquist said that when she was told the news she was most concerned about the student body, how students would take the news, and how could they, as SGA, can make the search for a new chaplain more proactive and the procedure clearly explained better than it was last time. She also expressed sadness saying that she was shocked and “sad that I feel like I didn’t get the chance to get to know him.”
Ahead of the announcement, Williams also told the students with whom he was traveling on the Fusion trip to Ferguson. During a meeting at the Williams’s residence on Sunday, April 9, both Montague and his wife Jennie told members of the Ferguson trip of their decision to leave ENC. Before the Williams welcomed their daughter Sophie, Jennie was also a member of the staff, serving as the school’s assistant chaplain.
Becky Hay recalls that he told the Fusion students that another big factor in his decision was the ability to be involved in a scholarship program, giving underprivileged students the opportunity to go to Point Loma when they otherwise would not have the option to get a college education. Hay said that hearing the news was “bittersweet. It’s going to be sad to lose an important figure on this campus, but there was also a happiness that he is following the plan that God has for him with all of these amazing opportunities.”
The Executive SGA member familiar with Williams summed up many students’ feelings, saying, “Montague has been a dedicated servant to the student body and many will be sad to see him go.”