Monday, June 18, 2012
Update About Life
I wrote a letter to my home church, Columbia Friends Meeting, updating them on how seminary is going so far and my life. I thought others may want to read it too, so I edited it slightly for a wider audience.
I want to update you all on how I am doing at Princeton Theological Seminary so far. This past year has been a year of learning and growing. At several points through the year, I felt challenged both by the mainline Protestant theology and being one of the most theologically liberal students here. At the same time, I missed being a part of a diverse religious community which I had grown accustomed to after attending Earlham College and then living in Washington, DC. But through these challenges, I have learned more about Christianity, leading me to more closely examine my own beliefs and deepen my faith. Some of the classes I have enjoyed the most have been Theology and Practice of Community Organizing, Critical Race Theory, Pastoral Care of Adolescents, and Models of Young Adult Ministry.
With the other Quaker student at the seminary and her husband, we have held meeting for worship one evening a week over the past year, whenever possible with the rigorous academic schedule. We have welcomed several visitors in the past year, including a local young adult who is new to Quakerism. We will start again in the fall, and we hope to attract more people from the seminary and wider community. At the same time, I have begun making connections with Princeton Friends Meeting. I look forward to spending more time with the meeting starting in the fall and helping them think about outreach.
As part of my field education, I have to intern at two sites. I decided to do both of my site placements outside of the Friends tradition because I wanted to see how other church bodies function. This summer, I am interning at Princeton United Methodist Church. As part of my duties, I am working with youth and young adults as well as running their social media outreach campaign. In the fall, I will work at an Episcopal campus ministry on Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick. I look forward to working with the campus minister on growing relationships with groups from other faiths and to encourage service among the campus ministry student population.
Last Sunday I preached for the first time on Amos 7 about the plumb line. The sermon was received well! I enjoyed preaching so much that I asked to preach more, so I will preach again on July 1 and August 5. I welcome your prayers as I plan these sermons. I will follow Friends tradition so I will have an elder with me when I preach.
In other news, Jenn moved to Princeton in late April, and we are glad not to be dating long distance anymore. She graduated this Spring with a Masters in Social Work degree and currently works at a farm for the season helping with their Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. In the fall, she will look for a social work job. Lastly, at the start of this year, I joined the board of Quaker Voluntary Service. We are launching our first service house in Atlanta with seven young adult Quakers, and we hope to expand in the following years to other cities. It is very exciting!
In service & peace,