Chaplain’s Office

Chaplain Bruce Fowlkes

Connecting With Your Faith At Eureka


I’m Bruce Fowlkes, and I’m honored to be called as the Chaplain of Eureka College.  The college is an extraordinary place, rich in history, but more importantly a college moving strongly and faithfully into a glowing future.  Just as the college moves, so do our students—strongly and faithfully into a bright future for which EC prepares them.

Why am I here at Eureka College, serving in campus ministry?  What better ministry could there be?  I’m living out my life-calling, helping others discover their life-calling!  There is no richer time of discovery for young adults, and I love nothing more than being right in the middle of it.  So much happens in four years here at Eureka College, and so it will be for you.

All of us are seekers of deeper meaning, and some of us bring a faith tradition with us to EC.  As chaplain, my charge is to honor those traditions and help you own your tradition for yourself, to help you connect with your deeper sources of meaning, to insist that you become more articulate about your faith.  In that way Eureka College is a faith-centered community, building life-long learners able to take one step deeper to find one’s own faith-center.

In this place, for over 150 years, emerging leaders have discerned lives of deeper meaning.  Because we create, honor and celebrate a safe environment for a plurality of traditions, your faith can flourish. Are you ready to take one step deeper?


What does it mean to attend a Disciples-related college?

The biggest questions matter the most. That’s what a Disciples liberal arts education is about, to me. How does one’s deepest held values, beliefs and understandings bring clarity and passion to life? In other words, what is the purpose? The purpose to a career, the purpose of community, the purpose of politics, of religion, of citizenship, of art, and so on. Is purpose just to bring flavor and happiness to my life, or is there a greater good? These questions matter! Purpose questions shape civilizations, and they shape how we live our lives, everyday.

Reflection from Chaplain Bruce

I’ve been reflecting on my first seven years of chaplaincy here at Eureka College, so I pulled out my first trustee meeting devotional from March of 2007:

A Rabbinic Story

A righteous man was permitted by God to attain foreknowledge of the world to come. In a celestial palace he was ushered into a large room, where he beheld people seated at a banquet table. The table was laden with the most delectable foods, but not a morsel had been touched. The righteous man gazed in wonder at the people seated at the table, because they were emaciated with hunger and they moaned constantly for food, even though the delicious viands were before them.

“If they are hungry, why is it that they don’t partake of the food that is before them?” asked the righteous one of his heavenly guide. “They cannot feed themselves,” said the guide. “If you will notice, each one has his arms strapped straight, so that no matter how he tries, he cannot get the food into his mouth.” “Truly, this is hell,” said the righteous one as they left the hall.

The heavenly attendant escorted him across the hall into another room, and the righteous one observed another table equally as beautiful, and laden with delicacies and delectable food. Here he noticed that those seated around the table were well fed, happy, and joyous. To his amazement he discerned that these people, too, had their arms strapped straight. Turning to his guide he asked in perplexity: “How is it then that they are so well fed, seeing that they are unable to transport the food to their mouths?” “Behold,” said the heavenly guide. The righteous one looked and he beheld that each one was feeding the other. “In truth,” he exclaimed, “this is really heaven!” “In truth it is,” agreed the attendant. “As you can see, the difference between hell and heaven is a matter of co-operation and serving one’s fellow.”

Rabbinic Stories for Christian Ministers and Teachers, William B. Siverman

So impressed with my new Eureka friends and coworkers, I find myself thinking in approaching certain situations: How would so-and-so’s unassuming nature put someone at ease? How would this coworker’s sense of humor lighten a student’s load? How would this leader’s wisdom about students cut through to an insightful solution? How would his brilliance with human nature help chart a course? If I was as sharp and responsible a steward as that staff person, how would I approach this issue? If I was as insightful and hospitable as that faculty member, how would it improve my chaplaincy?

I could go on and on, talking about fine qualities of the faculty, and the kindness and talent of staff, not to mention the trustees, alumni and supporters of the college, and how they have shaped and enriched my brief time here.

Anybody can hire talent, but Eureka College draws those with a generosity of spirit. And it’s that atmosphere, actively nurtured, that will continue to make it more than an institution, but a community of distinction, where faith, reason and compassion flourish. Being here, with these people, makes me want to be a better person. Sure, being around professors makes me want to be a smarter person, more informed, more thoughtful, a better communicator. But more importantly, they make me want to be a more generous person, a more caring person, a person of stronger character, higher integrity, a truer self.

So, from a two month veteran, if you are a new board member, be careful. This place could make you better person, just being around, whether you intended to or not.

So that’s how I experienced the college in 2007, after just a couple of months of employment. I’m deeply grateful—and more than a little relieved—that it is still the same place, after the honeymoon. Much has happened in the seven-plus years since, sure, but Eureka College still beats strong with a generous heart for service.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which is to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

Teresa of Avila

Chaplain Bruce

Churches to explore