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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.

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.