After graduating, I got a job as a youth minister for a very large parish in Chelmsford, MA. It was a lot of fun, but also very challenging. There were actually two of us, and we were in charge of both the junior high and high school youth ministries and religious education programs. I got to plan retreats and service projects as well as participate in many other events with my teens. Lynn (the other youth minister) and I taught the confirmation class each week, which both strengthened and sometimes challenged my scholarship. I loved preparing my lessons, but I loved the questions they would come up with even more. They sometimes had me researching topics that I thought I knew very well :) Overall, it was an incredibly positive experience that combined my love of my faith and my love of teens. Yes, I know that is odd to many people, but I really do love working with them. I was saddened when I moved on from that position, but those kids will always hold a special place in my heart.
From there, I moved into a more traditional type of job, but I was able to take a much more active role in my parish and the ministries there. I am involved in various roles during Sunday worship and religious education. Last year, I helped to develop a renewal program for the parish to explore what worship is and what it means to us in our everyday lives. I am currently preparing to begin an adult education class on the Gospels...based a great deal on Dr. Bridge's book and the notes I took during his New Testament class.
Regardless of the venue, whether as a job or as a volunteer position, I have depended on the knowledge that I gained from the theology program at St. Joe's. Even out there in my "regular" jobs, it has been a great asset to me. For instance, the Contemporary Christian Morality class gave me knowledge about many important topics and allowed me to appreciate other points of view that I may not have considered before.
Maybe most imporant of all, my Theological Studies at St. Joe's allowed me to deepen my relationship with God. Through my classes, I was able to learn and grow in my own faith as well as aquiring greater academic knowledge. I found this to be especially true of the class I took on Christian Spirituality.
My faith journey has taken me on a great many adventures in life. Most recently, I began a process of discernment for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. If it turns out that God's will and mine are the same on this matter, I hope to begin seminary in the fall of 2011. If that does happen, I will go with the confidence that I have a solid foundation under me and that is thanks in great part to the exceptional Theology Department at St. Joe's. Regardless of the outcome, I know that my degree will continue to be a cornerstone in my life, both in ministry and in my career.