Pacific Union College welcomes Pastor Kent Rufo as its new campus chaplain, a position he will assume on January 1, 2019. Pastor Rufo comes from Downers Grove Seventh-day Adventist Church in Illinois, where he has served as lead pastor since 2017. Joining Pastor Rufo in ministry to the PUC community is wife Anna, daughter Madison, and son Jadon.
“Together with the Northern California Conference, we have been involved in an extensive search for a chaplain for over six months, having received applications from across the globe and reviewed over 100 candidates," explains Jennifer Tyner, vice president for student life, enrollment, and marketing. “We are very excited about the vision and passion Pastor Rufo will bring to PUC.”
In his role as campus chaplain, Rufo will support the college in creating a vital and vibrant atmosphere for spiritual growth. Together with the Campus Ministries and Student Life team, he will promote students’ faith development by their engagement in worship, discipleship, and service.
“My life was changed during college. I transferred to one of our sister schools from a state university. I had no intention of becoming a Christian. Two guys from my dorm adopted my roommate and me as ‘prayer targets.’ They started praying for us every day. After a few weeks one of the guys invited me to a Bible study. This was the beginning of my walk with Jesus,” he says.
As chaplain, Rufo will strengthen campus opportunities to deepen students’ relationship with God throughout their college career. He will oversee campus worship, advise campus ministry groups, and provide pastoral care to members of the PUC community. He will mentor students in the planning, implementation, and leadership of all campus ministries. He will also support the collegiate Sabbath school programs and the weekly student-run church service, The Twelve. Likewise, he will nurture relationships with congregations in Angwin and the surrounding areas. Pastor Rufo will also occasionally teach classes in the department of theology.
“My goal is to shape the lives of young people and those who work with them, to lead them into vibrant, authentic relationships with Jesus Christ and with each other,” Rufo says. “I will do so by intentionally investing in leaders and professionals in the pursuit of that mission.”
“Central to its mission, PUC is committed to helping students develop very personal relationships with God during college,” says Tyner. “Pastor Rufo will not only minister to their day-to-day needs, but help them achieve lives of deeper meaning, belonging, and purpose.”
Previously, Pastor Rufo served in various ministry roles, including as youth pastor at the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas. He also served as chaplain and Bible teacher at Campion Academy in Colorado, Collegiate Ministries Director for Mountain View Conference in West Virginia; and a missionary in Korea. He graduated from Southern Adventist University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and minors in chemistry and religion. He holds both a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University Theological Seminaryin Michigan.
“Pacific Union College is special because of its community of faculty, staff, and students,” says PUC President Bob Cushman. “It is a different kind of community than what one will find most anywhere else. It is more diverse ethnically, generationally, socially, and vocationally than most liberal arts colleges in the nation. Yet it is also a community that is committed to serving Christ, so there is a sense of unity amidst this diversity. We’re delighted to welcome Kent in this crucial role,” he says. “Not only does he bring years of experience in ministry to young people, but he fully embraces our commitment to helping our students develop a deep love of God and preparing them for a life of service.”