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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.

Nick Miller Kauffman
Master of Arts

NickAfter four years at Manchester College, I found my thirst for knowledge was far from quenched. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in peace studies, but I didn't want to push on into the social sciences. With Bethany's master's degree in theology with a peace studies emphasis, I saw an opportunity to continue studying the peace and justice issues that so impassion me from the humanities perspective, and that I found so enlivening in my final year of college. Here I can study, learn, and prepare for whatever comes next. I am on first-name terms with a faculty that is committed to me--something that would be hard to find at a larger school. And I can see already that the same issues that excite me are exciting to my professors.