A matter of days after Commencement exercises on May 14, Fr. Mike Hutchins, SVD, will leave the place he has called home for 18 years and head to a new assignment in Southern Iowa. The longest serving president in Divine Word College history will join the staff of the SVD Mission Office, based in Techny, Ill., officially on June 1, and will be assigned to Divine Word Farms—Weldon, located 45 miles south of Des Moines, near Weldon, Iowa.
“I feel very good about this move,” Fr. Hutchins said. “In one sense, it’s a time for some personal renewal, and a chance to engage people outside of my administrative role at the college.”
Fr. Hutchins will live on an approximately 240 acre farm, which is one of 14 Divine Word Farms in Iowa whose operations support SVD missions overseas. Profits from produce and products help street children in the Congo, offer health clinics and occupational training to children in India, comfort AIDS victims in Thailand and bolster missionary efforts among the poorest of the poor in the Amazon.
Bro. Dennis Newton, SVD, director of the Mission Office, said that he is excited about Fr. Hutchins joining his staff and welcomes the opportunity to have a Divine Word missionary present in South-Central Iowa where their farms are located.
Bro. Dennis Newton, SVD
“Fr. Mike will be an excellent ambassador to our farming partners and benefactors there,” Bro. Newton said.
Among his duties, Fr. Hutchins will be a liaison with the Mission Center, conduct outreach efforts to educate the public about the farms and their connection to SVD missions and write articles about their operations.
“Our Iowa farms provide a significant source of income to our overseas missions and also give us the opportunity to talk about important global issues, such as hunger and the environment,” Bro. Dennis said. “Through his writing, speaking and preaching, Fr. Mike will help to make the work of Divine Word Missionaries better known.”