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Brandon Hanks, Master of Divinity

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Brandon Hanks
(Master of Divinity)

BrandonI find great comfort in knowing that the gifts of God are irrevocable--that God is faithful even if we are faithless. My faith journey begins with the Church of the Brethren. I was raised in the church by my family going to Sunday school and attending worship each week. But as a teenager I found myself struggling in my understanding of the word of God. I wanted to own my faith. I wanted it to be a real and genuine confession, not one merely adopted through my family's tradition. It was during that time of exploration that God revealed my calling as a minister in God's church.

However, I could not accept the weight of my calling at that point. I instead decided to find another career. In the end, I answered the call to ministry after years of discernment and wrestling with God. It was a process. It took time. Fortunately for me, God never changed. The only person who changed was me. I simply agreed to God's will, not mine. I surrendered to God and entered ministry in the Church of the Brethren. There was only one problem. I was untrained. I recognized that my gifts given by the Holy Spirit needed to be wisely nurtured. I considered several seminaries but found only one school that had an openness and humility before God, and a desire to train servants in mind and heart: Bethany Theological Seminary. So I quit my job, relocated to Richmond, and enrolled at Bethany for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Staci Williams
(Master of Divinity Connections)

"Determined to make it happen"

My call came to me as I was sitting at a spiritual retreat talking about women in ministry. Suddenly I just had this overwhelming feeling that I knew I was supposed to be one of those women. That event started me on a journey that has been remarkable, wonderful, challenging, and sometimes scary. But one certainty has been clear since the beginning: Bethany Theological Seminary was going to be a part of that journey. It took me six years to finish my undergraduate degree, and then I took a year to rest, but I finally made it here!