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Sue Ross, Master of Arts '08

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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.

I was scared, because I had not been in class for twenty-five years. I was nervous, because I was not an expert on the Bible, and I had very little knowledge of the great theologians that I would study. I was apprehensive, because I lived two hours away from Richmond and had a full-time job. Overall, I felt unqualified and unprepared.

However, God had amazing things in store for me. I loved the challenging classes and discussions. I read books that inspired me. I learned from professors that had great passion and knowledge. I was hooked when I experienced the challenge to dig deep in my understanding of God. With each class, I had to take old beliefs I learned as a child, examine them, discuss them, and finally either own or discard them. The whole experience helped me to find the living God and provided me a journey of richness, wholeness, and healing.

Perhaps the best part of the seminary journey was the transformation of the reason that I attended Bethany Theological Seminary. It was not about the degree nor was it about becoming a pastor or a theologian, but it was about integrating faith and work. I am currently using my experience as a businesswoman and a seminary graduate to develop workshops and resources that help business leaders bring spirituality into their workplaces. The personal reason that I took the journey has become public, and I am continuing to learn how to bring the love of God to my own corner of the world.

Katie Shaw Thompson
Master of Divinity

BethanyI have to admit I had no idea how much my cross-cultural trip to Marburg, Germany, would broaden my perspective. By immersing myself in German culture, I learned more about hospitality, theology, global politics, my neighbor, and myself than I thought possible in two weeks.

I was overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to us by the parish church and our host families. I will forever be grateful for those conversations across the table, across cultural differences, and across language barriers about the things that matter deeply to us all.