bethany theological seminary community
Worship Bethany Theological Seminary
Walking on main campus
Seminary Library

You are here

Larry Taylor
(MDiv Connections)

LarryOriginally, I was ordained to ministry by the Lewiston Church of the Brethren (Minn.) and later went on to earn a PhD in psychology, and am now a third year Master of Divinity (MDiv) student at Bethany. Having been a church planter for several decades, a Bible college director for a half-dozen years, and a pastoral psychotherapist for a lengthy season, I felt attracted to explore the possibility of hospital chaplaincy because of the challenges afforded me in Bethany's ministry formation classes, which were the catalyst to deeper understanding, broader theological reflection, and openness to the call of God.

Jeff Foster
(Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies)

JeffFor nine years I felt the leading of God to ministry. I began my academic journey thinking that I had God all figured out. This journey began at Moody Bible Institute for several semesters, where I gleaned perspective on missions and evangelism. Because of a full-time missionary role, I suspended Moody classes to concentrate on raising support. During that time God began to speak to me about the overall disunity in our Christian church. I came to the conclusion that unity within the body of Christ is the best way to reach lost souls with greater depth. I started exploring the Anabaptist teaching and specifically the way the Church of the Brethren strives toward this vision of unity and reconciliation.

Brian Mackie
Master of Divinity '07

BrianSometimes it takes looking back to see God's leading in life. I graduated from Bethany in May 2007 and realized that God led my entire theological training. In the summer of 2002, however, it was a little tougher to see where it was going.

I realized my call to full-time ministry and knew it was to journey into the educational training part of my call. My campus pastor and I had several conversations about this next step. I fasted and prayed and sought the Lord but had no clear answer by the end of the fast. As I was preparing to break my fast, the Lord asked me, "What is the desire of your heart?" I replied, "Oral Roberts University."

Sue Ross
Master of Arts '08

SueAbout eight years ago, everywhere I turned, I felt a nudge and heard a voice to study and learn about God. I would hear it in discussions with friends, in sermons, in song, in prayers, and in silence. I wanted to ignore that voice because I had a full-time job in the business world that I enjoyed. However, God's voice never stopped, so I enrolled at Bethany Theological Seminary. It all started as a very personal reason with no expectation of using a degree but simply a way to experience God.

Kristy Shellenberger
(MA Connections)

KristyAs I enter my first year of study in the MA Connections program at Bethany, I find myself drawn to these two sets of words by Brian McLaren and Frederick Buechner. Being a woman who finds "deep gladness" in the combination of searching, struggling, and "questing" around the subject of the divine, I have found a home at Bethany: a home that provides the space and the people, the encouragement and the instruction

Elizabeth Keller
Master of Divinity '08

ElizabethSaying “YES” to God can get messy. It did for me. In all my defiance and resistance to God’s call (maybe you can relate?!), I made a mess--and while I learned along the way to revel in the messiness, I give thanks to God who can make any crooked path straight. May my personal story resonate some with our universal story as the emerging generation of the church for the 21st century.

Jody Gunn
(MDiv Connections)

JodyIn the summer of 2006, I made a pact with a high school friend to make our fortieth decade significant. My goal was to complete my Master of Divinity degree before I turned fifty years old. Inside I asked myself and God, "How is this was going to be possible?" Eventually, I was willing to be open to it. My life seemed crazy enough without adding seminary to the mix. I am married to Eric and have two children 15 and 10, so I run a household. I serve a church half time and find many opportunities to volunteer in our community. In spite of the busyness of my life I said "Yes!" to Bethany because I really was at a point in my life where it made sense.

Jana Carter
(MDiv Connections)

LindaI considered coming to Bethany before, but now seems to be the perfect time. While I spent much of my life in California, a member of the La Verne Church of the Brethren, I currently live in Washington, DC with my husband, Van, and our two sons, Cabral (age 6) and Mattai (age 2).

Jennifer Jensen
(MDiv Connections)

JenniferWhen my husband, parents, and I arrived at Bethany Theological Seminary for my long-awaited visit, I was giddy, to say the least! My whole life led to that moment and that weekend. I could not believe my dream was coming true! From the moment we arrived, we were treated with the utmost respect and hospitality. Not only did the staff and faculty put together an amazing weekend for me, they welcomed my questions, comments, or concerns we had and did it with complete openness which shined through in every person we visited. Everyone had a genuine interest in me, my husband, and my life. I truly felt like each person wanted to help me be sure this is where I was meant to be. I had the opportunity to sit in several classes, which was an absolutely remarkable and enlightening opportunity that only affirmed how excited I am to sit in those classes myself. In addition, I had the opportunity to visit with current students and recent graduates, getting a true sense of how Bethany affects and changes a person's life.

Matt Boersma
Master of Arts

MattMy thesis began its journey while learning Hebrew at the University of Notre Dame, back when I was an employee in the Information Technology department. Among the many Hebrew texts read, it was the Song of Songs in particular that caught my attention. I knew that historically it had been interpreted as an allegorical text exploring God's love of Israel (or the church), but I had not encountered the deeply sensual nature of the images and the erotic tone of the text. Reading through the book, the unabashed sexuality of the words struck me as completely different than how the rest of the Bible treats sex. During the previous semester we had read selections of Ezekiel, where sex and female desire is cast as idolatrous and evil. In the Song, it is unashamed and extolled.

Pages

John Smith
(MDiv Connections)

classMy wife Barbara and I first visited Bethany in June 2009. After spending two days meeting with faculty and staff I returned home even more uncertain. Did I really want to devote the time this program required? Was I willing to learn computer skills that didn't even exist when I finished college in 1972? Was I willing to make the eight-hour drive that would occasionally be necessary? Was this really what God was calling me to do at this time in my life? From the very beginning, I came as I am, but went not as I came. Little did I know how this Bethany tag line would time and time again ring true for my educational experience.