By LINDA M. LINONIS
The Rev. Kathryn Adams, reflecting on her 18 years as director of Protestant Campus Ministry at Youngstown State University, said it was “time to move on.” She retired May 1.
The Rev. Mrs. Adams said the position was a “perfect fit” for her when she started nearly two decades ago. The hours and responsibilities meshed well with her family lifestyle.
As director, Mrs. Adams said it was her job to provide YSU students with worship opportunities, Bible study and community service that was local and global.
Mrs. Adams, who has been in ministry for 33 years, also has served in pastoral roles.
“I had a wonderful time as director,” Mrs. Adams said.
“I’m a grandmother now,” she said, adding she wanted to spend time with her granddaughter, Pippa, daughter of Sarah and Victor Emerick of Hudson, Ohio, who was born March 31.
Mrs. Adams also is known in the Valley as the leader of 22 trips abroad as part of To Russia with Love, now renamed Project Orphans Outreach. She started visiting Russian orphanages in 1996.
She and a volunteer-in-mission team from Valley churches and ministries traveled to Renewal Orphanage in Dimitrov, Russia, and orphanage 10 in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the orphanages, they would visit with children, all with physical disabilities, and distribute gifts such as hoodies, toys, notebooks and personal care items. The team also would do a work project.
Mrs. Adams made arrangements for two residents of Renwal Orphanage to come to the United States to be fitted for prosthetic legs. She met then 17-year-old Vlad Makarov and 10-year-old Nicholai “Kolya” Denykin in 2006. Makarov had lost his legs below the knees in a train accident, and Kolya had a birth defect and was born with no legs past the knee.
Makarov came to the United States in 2008 and was fitted with prosthetics by Craig Svader of Advanced Anatomical Design. In 2010, Makarov and Kolya came to the United States — Makarov for an adjustment and Kolya to get physical therapy and prosthetics.
“I always wanted to help the orphans,” Mrs. Adams said of the mission trips. She said she will continue to work with Russian children through Project Orphans Outreach. In early August, Makarov will accompany Kolya to the Valley because the younger boy needs an adjustment with his prosthetics. Mrs. Adams said another boy at Renewal Orphanage also needs a prosthetic and she is working on that.
The minister said she has suspended such trips for the time being. She cited “an adverse” climate fostered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and “safety concerns.” “It was becoming very difficult,” Mrs. Adams said of the mission trips.
“I hope to go back someday,” she said, adding she and team members “enjoyed the trips” that were so rewarding.
She is married to the Rev. Russ Adams, pastor of Western Reserve United Methodist Church in Canfield.