|McMurry Welcomes Orthodox Students!
Fr. Philip LeMasters, pastor of St. Luke Orthodox Church, has taught Religion at McMurry University in Abilene, TX, for fifteen years and will soon become the Interim Dean of Social Sciences and Religion. He has been very pleased with the openness of the United Methodist-related school to Orthodox believers. Fr. Philip says, “McMurry allowed our parish to worship for our first five years free of charge in the college chapel.” A small group of faculty and students join him for an on-campus Akathist on Thursday afternoons, and his Orthodox Theology class has a healthy enrollment. An Orthodox student is currently doing an “Internship in Christian Ministry” at St. Luke for McMurry course credit.
Some of Fr. Philip’s former students have converted to the Faith, and not only students are drawn to Eastern Christianity. The campus chaplain and a few other colleagues have asked him to resume weekly meetings of a St. Siluoan reading group. The Methodism that has shaped McMurry is broadly evangelical and genuinely appreciative of Orthodoxy. Fr. Philip recalls, “I was asked to give the baccalaureate sermon the semester of my ordination to the diaconate, and the University has been supportive in every way of my service of the Church.”
Orthodox students and parents will appreciate McMurry as an undergraduate institution with an emphasis on personal relationships. Classes are small and professors know students by name; it’s hard to get lost in the crowd here. Fr. Philip notes, “We have the ethos of a liberal arts college together with strong pre-professional programs.”
McMurry undergraduates excel in their chosen professions. Successful alums include the president of Burger King North America, a past president of the American Medical Association, and a scientist who was instrumental in developing the BlackBerry device. Fr. Philip directs the University’s honors program, which offers full-tuition and other substantial scholarships to outstanding students. “I am pleased by the success of many of my former students as lawyers, bankers, doctors, dentists, teachers, and research scientists.” Recent graduates are pursuing advanced degrees at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Duke.
St. Luke Orthodox Church, a mission parish of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, is just a few minutes’ drive from campus. Its members include converts and cradle Orthodox of Arab, Greek, and Romanian descent. Fr. Philip comments, “Our mission has the atmosphere of an intergenerational family. Students know that they are welcomed and valued in our parish.”
If you would like more information on McMurry University as a college choice for Orthodox students, please contact Fr. Philip LeMasters: email@example.com.