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

You are here

Student Story: Kristy Shellenberger (MA Connections)

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

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

for the journey into the divine and for the vocational discernment essential for "a new kind of Christianity." About the people. I have found such a home in the professors and administrators that "people" Bethany--persons of Spirit and Wisdom who care not only about the academic success of their students but also about the students themselves, and who seek to nourish the Spirit and Wisdom of those who enter its doors. Finally, as a mother of three young children who finds "deep gladness" in solitude and silence, I have found my driving hours to and from Bethany (a total of six hours each Thursday) to be places of renewal and rejuvenation. I use my weekly driving time to sit in silence, to meditate, to enjoy nature, to listen to audio books, to catch up on the news, and to treat myself to coffee along the way. I find the solitary car rides to be food for my soul, and when I return home at the end of the day, I feel refreshed. The MA Connections program allows me the flexibility to create a learning environment tailored to all the various strands of myself, to all the facets of "gladness" in my life, a learning environment that is respectful both of my spiritual-academic pursuits and of my family and home life. I am hopeful that Bethany, my home-away-from-home, will continue to nurture my "deep gladness" in ways that will allow me to birth the "new kind of Christianity" for which I was born.

Bekah Houff
Master of Divinity

BekahWhat is ministry? In my eyes ministry is in the pulpit, in the classroom, on the streets, your job at the post office, a local restaurant, or a coffee shop anywhere God calls you to be a ministering person. For me, this year, ministry means a non-traditional (not in a congregation) placement involving lots of administrative work as I serve the South/Central Indiana District of the Church of the Brethren as District Youth Director for the next eight months.