Adrian Bird, Ph.D., Named University Chaplain
Queens University of Charlotte welcomes Adrian Bird, Ph.D., as its university chaplain. Bird served as interim chaplain since the departure of his dear friend and colleague, Joey Haynes, in September 2022.
Born and raised in England, Bird spent many years living and working in a variety of international and cross-cultural settings, including Zimbabwe, India, the United Kingdom and the United States, prior to completing his Ph.D. in global Christianity at the University of Edinburgh. He now calls Charlotte home and lives with his wife, Julie, a Presbyterian pastor, and their children, Nathan and Lydia.
“My life has been an incredible adventure, and I’ve been inspired by the stories and experiences of those I have had the privilege to encounter,” said Bird. “That adventure now continues at Queens, as I journey alongside students, faculty, and staff to shape a community that thrives and fosters a sense of belonging.”
Within the realm of spiritual life at Queens, Bird appreciates the value of drawing from the spiritual wells of one’s tradition, while learning from, engaging with, and building community alongside those who draw from different spiritual and cultural wells.
A passionate activist and advocate within the interfaith movement, Bird served for many years as the chair of interfaith partners of South Carolina, and currently serves as the secretary of MeckMIN. He taught for 10 years at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, teaching courses in Christian history and interreligious encounters.
This year, Bird has been teaching in the philosophy and religion department at Queens, leading courses in Biblical studies and global religions. His pedagogy centers on empowering students to be creatively engaged while building interfaith bridges to make positive impacts within the community.
Bird uses his prior interfaith experience to work closely with student groups to help coordinate and celebrate diverse cultural and religious events on campus and beyond. Over the past few months, Belk Chapel hosted various events including a celebration of Diwali and the Moravian Love Feast. During Presbyterian and Pluralist week, Belk Chapel collaborated with a host of partners to create an array of programs and events, including a Rangoli art project, “Soul Food Shabbat,” “Interfaith Invisibility in Higher Education,” “Buddhist Meditation,” “A Muslim-Christian Dialogue on Mary of Nazareth,” and “Countering Islamophobia.”
In May, Bird will accompany 12 students on the Belk Chapel Border Immersion Trip to learn more about the complex issues of immigration and migration. The trip will be led by Shelton Professor of Political Science Maggie Commins, Ph.D., and Rosa Ramirez, assistant director of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.
In August, Belk Chapel will lead 11 students to the 2023 Parliament of World Religions Conference in Chicago. The conference will provide opportunities for students to connect with local and global groups committed to justice, peace, and sustainability.
Bird will continue the tradition of working alongside Queens students, faculty, and staff to transform Belk Chapel into a safe haven through initiatives such as the Room in the Inn program. Together, the Queens community provides hospitality, food, and shelter to Charlotte’s vulnerable guests and neighbors during the frigid winter months. This program is part of a long-standing partnership with Roof Above, an organization which Bird has previously served as a community volunteer.
“We have incredible and remarkably gifted students at Queens, yet the multi-faceted pressures they face are tangibly real over the rhythms of the academic year,” said Bird. “I want students to know that Belk Chapel is a safe and brave space where students can come to regain balance between their mind, body, and spirit - a place where they can always find spiritual nourishment.”