Saturday Spotlight – Reverend Cynthia Purvis

Written by Lee Anne Hanke

Rev. Cynthia Purvis – Holy week

“Holy Week is a wonderful end to the season of Lent. The rhythm of Holy Week is a beautiful opportunity for us to remember Jesus’ life and reorient our focus to Jesus. Throughout Holy Week, you can see Jesus being obedient to God’s will. It’s a good example for us to follow as we embrace our resurrected Lord on Easter morning and shout, “He is risen!”. That is what St. Andrews University Chaplain, Reverend Cynthia Purvis had to say about this magnificent time of the year. A time where we commemorate Jesus’s death and resurrection.

And what better time to talk about our beloved chaplain than now. A woman who has helped many SAU students nurture their spiritual development, educated them about Christianity, and supported them through their faith journey.

Cynthia Purvis was born and raised in Southern California. Before coming to St. Andrews University, she was the Associate Pastor of Youth and Young Adults at StoneBridge Community Church in California. She decided to make the switch from Associate Pastor to Campus Chaplain in the summer of 2020, “I thoroughly enjoyed working with younger teens, but I also felt like I had more skills to offer young adults.” She has been able to engage with students in an academic atmosphere while also assisting them in discovering their spirituality.

She has a long history of worship and participation in the presbyterian church. “My family comes from a long line of Presbyterians.” She grew up in a presbyterian church and was appointed in 2012 as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the PC. Her parents gave her a strong foundation in the church. For her family, church was the priority, they were the first to arrive and the last to leave, and now, working as a pastor, she does the same.

Many people think that pastors, since they were kids, already knew their purpose in life (to become a pastor). But that’s not the case, “At first, I said no to going to seminary and studying to become a pastor. I wasn’t sure that was my calling in life.” Cynthia recalls. But over time, it became clear to her that God was nudging her in that direction and pushing her towards working with teenagers and young adults.

As a pastor, her focus is on developing resilient disciples of Christ. “My vision for spiritual formation centers around three key areas of development: identity, belonging, and service.” With these three areas in mind, she has tried to cultivate an atmosphere at SAU that reminds students who they belong to, where they belong, and what they were created for.

The whole SAU community is very grateful to Rev. Cynthia for all she has done and accomplished, in the short time she has been here.



Written by: Samuel Ruiz-Gomez, Junior, Sports Business Management