Message from the Chaplain

Spring 2022: A message from Bright, new Director for Religious & Spiritual Life and the College Chaplain

Greetings Gettysburg,

My name is Bright and I am the new Director for Religious & Spiritual Life and the College Chaplain. I am so thankful to become a part of the Gettysburg community. I must confess that I am a follower of Jesus of Christ and that it is the wisdom of God that has brought me here. I have to thank my village of family and friends whose love gives me courage. It has made me ready to take up this work as my own. My calling is advocate for the inherent dignity of every person and to facilitate the religious, spiritual, and intellectual freedom we are all entitled to.

I mean to bring to the forefront of our thinking and experience that which we cannot explain or ignore, but hold us together, and accountable. Gettysburg College is a place with a vibrant religious and spiritual life and history. In my time here, I hope to create more opportunities and pathways whereby the sacredness of life at Gettysburg College is acknowledged and celebrated. I look forward to serving and getting to know each of you as we embark on this journey together.

Be encouraged in every way.

Bright photos for website - smaller

Fall 2021: A message from Associate Vice President for College Life Jeff Foster: 

Dear Members of the Gettysburg College Community,

I write with several updates regarding the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life:

Hillel Director: I am pleased to announce that David Bass will be returning to Gettysburg College as the Hillel Director. David was in the position from 2018 through December 2020 and is very much looking forward to resuming his former role in our community. Since his departure in December, David has been working in advising at Mount St. Mary’s and was also elected to the Board of Education for Frederick County, MD. David will be advising Hillel, supporting Jewish life on campus including holiday events, connecting with both current and prospective students and their families, and coordinating interfaith and multi-faith events and programs as part of the Religious and Spiritual Life team. David will be working about 20 hours per week at the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life and can be reached at Please join me in welcoming David back to Gettysburg! Many thanks to Rebekah Hurwitz for her work as Interim Director last semester and for her support of Hillel as we started this year.

Partnership with Christ Lutheran Church: For the fall 2021 semester, Gettysburg College has partnered with Christ Lutheran Church to offer weekly ecumenical worship and fellowship opportunities, provide confidential pastoral care and support for students, collaborate with the Religious and Spiritual Life team in offering interfaith and multi-faith programs and events, and provide office hours in the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. Members of the Ministry Team from Christ Lutheran Church include Pastor Steve Herr ’89, Pastor Jay Eckman, and Vicar Julie Jackson. Please join me in welcoming them and please check engageGettysburg and the campus Digests for more information about weekly programs and services. If you have any questions, you can contact Steve Herr at

Muslim Student Advisor: In addition to her work in the Management Department, Niamate Leeper will continue to serve as advisor to the Muslim Student Association. Niamate has been serving in this role and as part of the Religious and Spiritual Life team since 2017 and she can be reached at

Catholic Campus Ministry: Please join me in welcoming Father Aaron Lynch to the CCM team. Fr. Lynch serves as Parochial Vicar at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Gettysburg and joins Mary Geesaman as part of the Catholic Campus Ministry team. Mary can be reached at and Fr. Lynch can be reached at

Finally, in coming weeks, we will be launching a search for the Director of Religious and Spiritual Life & College Chaplain with the goal of filling this vacant position for the spring 2022 semester.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Jeff Foster, D.Ed.
Associate Vice President for College Life
Gettysburg College
(717) 337-6908

Summer 2021: A farewell message from Chaplain Elizabeth Eckman

Time is a funny thing. Time doesn’t change, but our perception of its speed does. Sometimes we notice it moving really fast and can barely remember what we did that day, and other times it moves so slow it feels like its been a whole week! My time here at Gettysburg College has come to an end and it was both fast and slow. I have truly enjoyed being the Interim Chaplain of Religious & Spiritual Life for the Spring 2021 semester. It was filled with its challenges and its blessings. The obvious challenges of a pandemic, less students on campus who don’t know me, and starting as a new employee to a new institution. And then hidden challenges, like apathy, burnout, isolation and continuous change. And amidst all of that, there were so many blessings in such a short amount of time. I got to work with people who truly care for students in a way I didn’t know colleges could do. We created vigils and moments to lament and mourn the loss of life, the loss of normalcy, the loss of experiences. We engaged in Breathe Gettysburg programming both online and in person. We worshiped near and far, and learned what it meant to engage in our faith traditions in ways we’ve never done before.

When I reflect on my time here it was a very Lutheran experience. When I say Lutheran, I’m reflecting on the both/and aspect of Luther’s theology. That we are simultaneously saint and sinner, good and bad, joy and sorrow, lament and praise. It was a both/and experience. This semester was both beautiful and hard, liberating and challenging, hopeful and at times hopeless.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn from you. Thank you for welcoming me into this community and for the opportunity to be your Chaplain. Thank you to Sam, Mary, Niamate, Rebekah, Rachel & Giancarlo for your faith in me, willingness to be flexible and love for your work.

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

Grace & Peace,
Chaplain Elizabeth Eckman

RSL staff spring 2021
The Religious and Spiritual Life Team in Spring 2021