Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Tim Hurley  by Ashley Schwartz

Just About Anything You Can Imagine

Story by Shannon Kelly

For more than 22 years, Tim Harley has been serving Potomac Conference’s Shenandoah Valley Academy (SVA) in New Market, Va., including as head chaplain since 2004, and as the associate chaplain eight years before that.

Harley juggles many responsibilities in his job. He teaches Bible classes to sophomores and seniors; leads baptismal Bible studies; attends regular administration committee meetings; plans mission trips, weekend programs and activities; and helps supervise them on campus.

In addition to these responsibilities, Harley provides counseling to students. “I’ve had students come to me about suicide, cutting, to talk to me about friends they know are doing drugs or dabbling in the occult. I have students who come to me about parental issues, siblings who are incarcerated, and just general discouragement or depression,” he explains. “Sexual abuse, et cetera, just about anything you can imagine.” Some of Chaplain Harley’s most memorable experiences involve interfaith encounters and student baptisms. “We had a young lady from Korea who had a Buddhist background, and we talked about God and about prayer in Bible class,” he recalls. “And one day, someone had stolen her money that she had in her room for her plane ticket home to South Korea for Christmas, and she came to me and said, ‘Is it true that if you pray, that God can help you with things like that?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely.’ And so we prayed, and someone who had taken it felt guilty and returned it. And after that, she was very open, and ... she was baptized before she left here.”

Sometimes his role extends to students who no longer attend SVA. He recalls when a former student called him one day, out of the blue, to say that he and a group of friends had gotten involved in the occult. One of his friends seemed like he was being harassed by a supernatural force. Harley and another pastor agreed to meet with them. “He was very catatonic and seemed to be in a trance or spell. But we prayed over him, and he was delivered from whatever was harassing him,” Harley shares.

“I have been blessed beyond measure by working with students!” he adds. “They show so much love to me in return for the love I show them. I am also greatly blessed to see the ‘light’ come on when they get a deeper understanding of Jesus’ love and most of all, I am blessed when I have the opportunity to baptize them.”


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