Grove to support student leaders

CHARLESTON —The Diocese of Charleston has a new director of campus ministry.

Jim Grove, from Newark, Ohio, arrived on the job Sept. 27 and has been acclimating himself to his surroundings and all the people with whom he will work. Grove said in addition to the diocese, he will also serve as campus minister for the College of Charleston.

Jane LaMarche, who is retiring, said they still hope to split the jobs between two people, but in the meantime, Grove will handle both, probably for the first year.

The new director said he is excited to take the reins from LaMarche, who he praised as having great vision for the diocese. He said it will allow him to stretch and grow himself as he nurtures the seeds his predecessor planted.

Grove said he spent most of his life in Ohio with a very close-knit family, including a younger brother and many aunts, uncles and cousins. He said he left his previous job to help care for his ailing mother.

The campus minister has worked with youth in some capacity all his professional life.

After graduating from Ohio Dominican University with a degree in theology and math, plus a secondary school certification, Grove spent about 20 years in high schools in various roles, including teacher and principal, he said.

When he earned his master’s in theology, he started working with the Columbus diocese. He taught catechetical courses and adult faith formation, and held in-service sessions and retreats.

He also returned to his alma mater as director of campus ministry and a professor of theology.

“Both the searching and the energy of people in their college years is appealing,” Grove said. He added that young adults really want to discern what is possible for their lives.

“It presents a wonderful opportunity for helping people see how a strong faith life can work with other aspects of their life,” he said.

The new director said he spent a busy first week meeting with leaders from the diocese, the college faculty, the student body, and the community. He’s also trying to learn his way around Charleston, which can be quite daunting with its one-way streets and niches that end suddenly. “I’m using my map a lot,” he said.  

One thing he is interested in finding for his free time pursuits are places to walk and enjoy nature, plus all the best coffee houses. Grove said he also enjoys reading theology.

During the next month, he will be a very busy man.

One of his first tasks is to meet all the campus ministers. Grove said he will start visiting the other schools by the end of October, and Francis Marion University will be his first stop.

As for his local duties, he said the college has a strong team of student leaders and he wants to support them, plus look to the future.

“We want to let others know how faith life and college life can go together,” he said.

Grove is also looking forward to attending the statewide retreat Oct. 8-10. He said it will be a wonderful opportunity for him to meet people, observe and learn.

To learn more about campus ministry contact James Grove at (843) 937-5993 or