It was on a brisk, early winter evening, December 9, 2008, to be exact, when Anjeanette “Angie” Allen felt her call to ministry. Due to downsizing, Allen had recently been let go from her position as national field director of People for the American Way in Washington, D.C. She was left with several options to consider. But, she had a keen sense that there was something new she was supposed to be doing, and she wanted to take time “to be still, sit quietly, and listen for God’s leading.” During this season of transition, Allen became more involved with a local church and regularly attended Bible study. anjeanette

After returning home from Bible study on that December evening, Allen found that her days of reflection and meditation suddenly came into focus. “After deep prayer, as I recalled the evening’s scripture reading, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight’ (Proverbs 3:5-6), I knew that I was being called to ministry. God was indeed leading me in a completely different vocational direction and I had to trust him,” said Allen. “With an unfathomable sense of peace, I said, ‘Yes, Lord I will follow you.’”

The very next day she started researching and applying to seminaries. “I was approaching middle age, in a well-paying career track, but I knew that there was no determining factor (time or age) for when God calls you,” she said. So, though at the seeming pinnacle of her career, she embraced her new call, with no definitive plan in sight other than to serve and be obedient to God.

She was accepted to several seminaries across the nation, but chose to attend PTS. “I was impressed with the campus and knew that Princeton Seminary, particularly with its excellent professors and course offerings in the area of religion and society, was a place where I could explore my entrepreneurial spirit and my social justice interests, and further discover my calling. God was calling me to come to PTS and this is exactly where I am supposed to be,” she said.

Despite her relatively quick transition from working in the field of public service and advocacy to attending seminary, Allen said, no one close to her was surprised by her decision. Having grown up in a family with a father who was in the military, a mother who worked as a nurse, and a brother who is currently attending seminary to become a Roman Catholic priest, she can’t recall a time in her life that she wasn’t serving the community. Even as a young adult, she was very active in student government, the church, and numerous community organizations. “Giving to others, particularly to those in need, was exemplified in our home,” Allen recalled.

Allen completed her middler year at PTS in May 2011 and departed for Rwanda for a field education placement. During her three-month summer internship, she engaged in social service-based ministry with Association Mwana Ukundwa (AMU), a nonprofit Christian-based organization founded by genocide survivor Mrs. Rose Mukankaka to support the socioeconomic reintegration of orphans of the 1994 war and genocide. To assist these orphans and other vulnerable children in becoming socially viable, healthy, and professionally equipped, AMU offers educational and vocational programs, HIV/AIDS prevention seminars, and entrepreneurial training. Allen worked with AMU and a coalition of churches, schools, and other non-governmental organizations serving women and children who are affected by HIV and AIDS. “During my time in Rwanda I learned firsthand what advocacy in an international context looks like and truly experienced what it means to be a disciple of love and service for God,” said Allen.

This fall Allen is beginning her final year in seminary, during which she will participate in the clinical pastoral education program at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She is looking forward to graduating from PTS in May 2012 with her M.Div. and to being ordained in the American Baptist Churches. Although her future may also hold a doctorate or international service ministry, she says that ultimately “I will go wherever God sends me. With a sense of great burden for humanity, particularly for those most oppressed, I hope to be a powerful disciple of God’s love, service, and justice.”

To read more about Anjeanette Allen and her journey to Rwanda, visit her blog http://angiesrwandajourney.weebly.com.