WPU Welcomes New Chaplain

September 29, 2022
Dorrell Briscoe

There’s a new chaplain on campus. Dr. Rev. Harold Briscoe has a diverse background and brings a wealth of experience to William Peace University (WPU). Briscoe is a pastor, speaker, and writer, and is excited to be a mentor for our students and a resource to our community. 

Briscoe joined WPU this fall as the new university chaplain. He has big shoes to fill, following the retirement of Dr. Lee Carter, who served WPU for 11 years. 

Briscoe is from Carbondale, Illinois. He met WPU president, Brian Ralph while he was working as a pastor at Hope Community Church in Raleigh. Ralph invited Biscoe to speak at the 2018 Baccalaureate service.

“I have loved his engagement with our institution in the past, and I’m thrilled he can take his passion to the next level by serving our campus,” said Ralph. “I’m looking forward to seeing his impact on our community.”

The day of the Baccalaureate service turned out to be the day after Briscoe’s fourth child, Ella, was born. He has three other children: Noah, Luke, and Amelia. 

Briscoe earned his Bachelor’s degree in political science, with a minor in history from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, where he received a track scholarship.

After witnessing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he changed his major from international studies to political science. He moved to Texas to be closer to New Orleans, and earned his masters in public policy from Texas’ A&M University.

In 2016, he moved to North Carolina to attend Duke Divinity and complete his doctoral degree.

Briscoe’s master thesis focused on how churches respond to racial discord within communities, and how their presence can help heal the community. He turned that into the novel, “There’s a Storm A Comin’: How the American Church Can Lead Through Times of Racial Crisis.”

“Organizationally, if a church or other organization took steps to mitigate and prepare, not for hurricanes, but racialized storms, basically like racial crises, the George Floyd’s, Breonna Taylor’s… those moments in our socio-political climates. There’s pain, hurt, anger at the killing of unarmed black persons at the hand of police,” said Briscoe. 

Briscoe firmly believes in the ministry of presence. He is excited to be a place of affirmation, and encouragement for the students at WPU.

“My soul is here, I’m here to encourage, I’m here to affirm, I’m here to love, I’m here to serve,” said Briscoe. 

Briscoe understands that college can be a difficult time for students, as it is a very transitional point in their lives. He is hopeful that he can help provide a space for students to feel safe and heard.

While many students may be away from their families, and some out of their comfort zones at times, his goal is to provide a sense of family on campus. He believes in the power of relatability, and feels confident his story can help inspire and lead the students on campus.

WPU has created a foundation of diversity and inclusion, and Briscoe’s background and passion is a great addition to fulfilling that goal around campus. 

Briscoe is looking forward to creating relationships with the WPU community.