Wesley Journal May 2019: Commencing

It’s the time of year for transitions. DC is finally transitioning into something like spring, which will hopefully hold for a week or two before summer hits, and for those of us who are graduating we are finally, finally, transitioning from being students to being something else. Whether you have a ministry setting waiting for you after you cross the stage at the Cathedral or you are still seeking what happens next, congratulations are in order for all the graduates. Completing your time here, I’m sure, has been no small feat.

I know this issue is filled to the brim with words from graduates, but let me add a few more. As editor, I’ve worked to establish the Journal as a place where the entire Wesley faculty, and students in particular, could share activities, events, and especially their reflections with one another. I wanted to showcase some of the beauty that can be found in this seminary journey (whether you’re seeking an MDiv or not), along with some of the struggles. Thank you…

The Sweetest Things I'll Ever Know

As I am concluding my journey as a Masters of Divinity student here at Wesley, I have entered into a reflective space. I think about my call story, my “Windows On Wesley” experience, orientation, the baptism service, and more. It’s all coming back to me, largely due to the fact that I am overwhelmed with figuring out the next steps of my life. I feel so many unpleasant emotions like doubt, fear, confusion, and anxiety. To be honest, when I am lost in my thoughts, I question why I’ve done all of this in the first place.

Photo by Nicole Poland, a winner of the Student Council's Spring Photo Contest.
As my thoughts consumed me one evening, I diverted to my self-care and spiritual practice, journaling, which has been essential to my mental health throughout this journey. As I poured out my soul, lamentations, and anxieties on the pages of my journal I heard the sweet, sincere voice that never ceases to stop by to visit me for a little while, the voice of God. In the midst of the momen…

A Student Pastor's Reflection

August 28, 2015 is a date I have written on a small sea shell I keep in my office. It was presented to me during the orientation for new students here at Wesley. This was the beginning of my journey holding a dual role, one being a student pursuing my Masters of Divinity degree and the other serving as a pastor to a congregation. I remember the emotions and thoughts flowing through me then. The question of my ability to handle school and a congregation simultaneously loomed in my mind. The shell reminded me of my story, a reaffirmation of my baptismal calling to serve in ministry. 
The shell reminded me that despite struggle, failure, and even success, I am sacred, treasured, loved, and called by God. It told me of the promise that God was going to be present and sustain me in amazing ways. Now, as I look back, I can proclaim with boldness that God’s grace saw me through the journey. That grace was revealed in many different ways through some very special people that understood what …

Advice from a Seminarian: Embrace the Unknown

I began my seminary journey at Wesley in the spring semester of 2015. Upon pulling into the driveway, and unpacking my bags in room 205B of NRH, I laid my items out with a confident mindset fixated on me becoming a pastor upon completing my studies at Wesley. I was always a person who prided myself in knowing where my next steps in life were, and it wasn’t until my journey at Wesley that I found comfort in that which I once feared, the unknown.

More often than not when people see you share ministerial gifts of any sort, they immediately think, “HEY YOU! Yeah, you, holding the Bible, praying, holding the bread and/or cup… you should be a pastor!”

Unfortunately, many of us tend to go along with the ideas that others possess on who we are and what we are called to be. Well, to make a long story short, allowing others to dictate my seminary journey at its start lead to my first year demise. I will not go into full detail, but know that my first year wasn’t the easiest of my life’s journey…

Closing and Opening Doors

Before coming to Wesley, I had this image of opening and closing doors in my mind. When doors close, I’m told that others open. Before I started at Wesley, I dropped out of candidacy because I was afraid of being outed in my home conference at the time. A door had closed, yet there was Wesley. An open door, inviting me in.

Throughout my time at Wesley, I’ve been challenged and stretched. I’ve been invited to grow, and I’ve grown by necessity. I’ve learned a lot and I’m thankful. As my time here ends, I look for new doors. New adventures to explore, new challenges to overcome. The UMC’s door is still closed, bolted shut even, but throughout seminary, I’ve had the privilege to experience a God greater than a denomination and the walls it builds. Wesley encourages me to think outside the box, to let God work how God works and not how I, or anyone else, thinks God should work. 
I’ve learned through my classes and through relationships with the faculty, and I’ve learned through my peers. …

Excited for Ministry, Thankful for the Journey

Graduation…the time has finally come. But to be honest, I’ve been having this same thought for the last two weeks:
“I am SO READY to get out of here and not touch a textbook for a LONG TIME.”

As serious as I am, I have to also share that my time at Wesley has been a joyous one. It has been three years of constant learning, growing, and experiencing. What I am grateful for is that this learning and growing wasn’t just in the areas of academia, but also in the areas of pastoral ministry. I can confidently say that one (of the many) things Wesley has taught me is learning how to be a servant of God in different ministry settings.

For me, there is a lot of excitement as I think about graduation. My general personality is that I enjoy working. I am excited now that I can work in more of a full time ministry. However, I do give love to all those who have walked with me through my time here at Wesley that has allowed me to get extremely excited about full-time ministry. Little things like …

When the Dawn Delays: Riding the Dissonance of Post-Graduation Blue

If your vocational path is perfectly lit, straight, and paved, then this reflection may not be for you. This is for those who have found themselves wailing in the midnight hour, praying every prayer they knew and still not having the answers to “what was it all for?” This is for those who have yet to secure a sustainable job, for those whose theology is laid deconstructed before them on an altar of academic rigor with little energy or time for rebuilding. This is for those who find themselves stuck in the chokehold of the “now what?” and riding the dissonance of post-graduation blues. You are not alone. In addition to therapy, self-care, and support systems, all important components of maintaining good mental health, I offer you two strategies for exercising faith and preserving sanity while the unsureties of this season take you for a “joy” ride.

In seasons of feeling and being unsettled (e.g., post-graduation), we must first recall the stories of faith and strength. What is your cal…