Multifaith Chaplain Bill Blaine-Wallace to retire in June

The Rev. Bill Blaine-Wallace at one of the Bates activities he helped lead in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2013. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Bates President Clayton Spencer announced today that Multifaith Chaplain Bill Blaine-Wallace has notified her that he plans to retire from the college at the end of the current academic year.

Blaine-Wallace, the college’s multifaith chaplain since 2006, said he plans to “re-author his vocational life” by establishing a counseling practice in Farmington, Maine, where he and his wife, Victoria, have a residence.

An Episcopal priest, Blaine-Wallace came to Bates after having served as rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston for 13 years. Over the course of almost three decades of ministry, he has also served as a family therapist, spiritual director and hospice administrator.

Blaine-Wallace said, “I have loved my time at Bates and I certainly intend to remain in the Bates orbit. It has been a privilege to serve here and I thank the Bates community for this experience.

“That said, I have long considered the possibility of fully embracing a ministry of counseling, when the right time presented itself. Now is right, because of the wind of seven amazing and life-giving years at Bates at my back and the clear sense that in the years ahead there will be at Bates sustained regard for and understanding of the value of college chaplains and the chaplaincy. That wind and assurance empower me to more confidently embrace this new chapter in my vocation as a priest.”

In an email message to the Bates community, Spencer said:

Since 2006, Bill has provided vision and leadership for a Multifaith Chaplaincy team and he has served the Bates community with extraordinary energy, imagination and sensitivity.

Bill has counseled and mentored us as individuals; brought us together in times of both celebration and sorrow; and encouraged our community to pursue the goal of greater social justice through religious, spiritual and cultural attentiveness. I am deeply grateful for the quality and texture of Bill’s engagement with matters of the spirit — variously conceived — on this campus, for his wisdom in difficult passages, and for his steadfastness in challenging us to be our better selves. He will be sorely missed.

I will consult with Bill and his colleagues in the Multifaith Chaplaincy, as well as others who have been engaged with this work, so that we can, collectively, figure out the best timing and structure for a search process for Bill’s successor.

We will find a time to celebrate him properly during the spring semester, but today, please join me in thanking Bill for his remarkable service.

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