Sunday, June 5, 2005
Seminary, Grad School, etc
One of my favorite pastimes is researching graduate programs and seminaries. In fact, in many ways I think I've put off graduating for so long because I wanted to know what was next, but I'm sure there have been times when, in truth, I should have just focused on my undergraduate studies rather than researching grad schools. I know, I know, I'm a big nerd.
But lately I've been considering a few programs in particular and a slightly different overall direction in general. I'm thinking that I'll probably stay in Monroe for the next ten years or so, during which time I'll try to do the following (not necessarily in this order):
If in ten or fifteen years I had accomplished some of this "from home," maybe I'd still feel like moving away for a while to pursue further studies in a place like Philadelphia, where:
- complete an MDiv from Melbourne, Western, or North Park Seminary, combining distance and traditional coursework.
MA in ministry from Nashotah, or an MA in biblical studies and/or MDiv from Reformed Theological Seminary; Nashotah speaks for itself, but RTS-Jackson's biblical studies/languages faculty is quite good: Van Pelt, Currid, Ireland, and Barcley. Plus, it has a first-rate counselling program under Hurley, together with the Center for Marriage and Family Therapy - one of the highest volume Christian clinics in the southern United States - under Richardson. There are also four "Common Cause" Anglican parishes in Jackson: Holy Trinity (AMiA), St Stephen's (REC), and Holy Apostles and Christ the Savior (both Kenyan).
- receive ecclesiastical endorsement (and perhaps ordination as a deacon and/or presbyter) and complete the required four units / 1600 hours of CPE to become a board-certified chaplain.
stay in FedEx Kinko's management until I'm able to go into "full-time ministry" (and preferably, even then, still tentmaking but in a more pastoral field, e.g. hospital chaplaincy). President & CEO Ken May recently announced FedEx's agressive plan to open 3,000 new FedEx Kinko's centers in the next five years. The site surveys for the Jackson area are complete, and the company plans to create around ten new centers in the Greater Jackson area. (Right now, there are only two Kinko's in Mississipi: one in Jackson and one in Hattiesburg.) The Monroe site surveys are coming up soon, and I've been encouraged by my center manager and district manager to take on one of the expected new Monroe-area centers....or, less likely...
get certified to teach Latin via ULM's foreign language department and possibly complete a master's in English and/or a second bachelor's in French (which, among other things, would help with any future graduate studies admissions, modern language requirements, etc). There's also a chance that I might be able to help our friend Bryan with the Latin teaching load at ULM. He had something like five sections last spring  (one of which was an initial trial version of an online course). Teaching would be a good vocation if ministry doesn't work out, and it might also be a way to support my family while in seminary and pursuing ordination, further studies, etc, especially if I were to leave FedEx Kinko's....or, even less likely...
complete an online MS in library & information science from Drexel University (Philadelphia), specializing in management of digital information. Unfortunately we Protestants don't have priestly societies like the Jesuits to support bivocational clergy such as priest-librarians, so I probably couldn't be a priest and a librarian (for that reason, among others). However, if ministry didn't work out, librarianship would be an ideal vocation for me, perhaps even more so than teaching, and it would be especially worth pursuing if I were to stay with FedEx Kinko's for the next several years, as the company tuition assistance program covers up to $2,500/year toward work-related graduate studies. (I've already been with the company for over
seven nine years.) Plus, I've been told that working as a university librarian isn't a bad way to support a family, and it would probably be conducive to seminary studies, working toward ordination, pursuing further graduate studies, assisting in ministry (whether in an established parish, church plant, campus ministry, or city-wide mission), etc.
I'm in no way set on Philadelphia; it's just an example of a good place where I could potentially kill multiple birds with one stone before moving back to Monroe. Other such examples are Houston, where there's Houston Graduate School of Theology, Cranmer House, and Rice's graduate program in religious studies; Jackson, where I could stay in my current FedEx Kinko's district, work with one of the "Common Cause" Anglican churches, continue my education at RTS and/or WBS, and do my Clinical Pastoral Education at Mississippi Baptist Health Center; Seattle, where there's Bakke Graduate University of Ministry, Mars Hill Church and the Acts 29 Network; and Portland, where there are hospital chaplaincy tracks in the MDiv programs at both George Fox and Multnomah, Rex Koivisto, and Mission Portland. All ideas are subject to change, of course, and I'll be doing good to accomplish a fraction of the above. We'll see what happens.
See also the following, more recent posts: "Another Seminary Post," "Melbourne MDiv," North Park Seminary," "Why Hospital Chaplaincy?," "Denver Programs," "Dreams," "Biblical Seminary," and "Perkins Anglican Track."
Updated May 2007
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