June 7, 2017
Learning comes in a steady stream, inside the classroom and beyond, but every once in a while it happens in a flash—the “ah-ha moment.” Graduates share the unexpected experiences—in the classroom, in chapel, and in the community—that taught them the exact thing they didn’t know they needed to learn.
That’s when I realized that this is what I was created to do.
“My ‘ah-ha moment’ happened when I was leading worship in chapel and I looked out at the crowd and saw the diversity of people with their eyes closed and their hands raised. That’s when I realized that this is what I was created to do. This is what the church is—a diversity of people worshipping and glorifying God. It was a beautiful moment for me. I felt like I was truly living in my purpose.”
—LaThelma Armstrong, MDiv, MACE
When I first came to seminary, I thought, ‘gosh could I preach?’ But I’ve been very affirmed in that.
“My ‘ah-ha moment’ occurred during preaching classes. When I first came to seminary, I thought, ‘gosh could I preach?’ But I’ve been very affirmed in that. In the classroom, I had the opportunity to go through the process, get feedback, and make mistakes. Now, my theology of preaching is much stronger.”
—Claire Berry, MDiv
I gained a new vocabulary for describing what my faith is.
“One of the most significant moments at seminary occurred during my final semester when I decided to become a member of the church where I was completing my field education. Prior to this, I had not belonged to a church for a number of years. I was used to explaining my faith by describing what it is not. By joining a church once more, I gained a new vocabulary for describing what my faith is. This experience had a tremendous impact on my personal life and provided me with a clearer vocational direction.”
—Rachel Cheney, MATS
I have been privileged to hear the stories, struggles, and strengths of those who are different than me.
“My most important take-away was learning to appreciate the diversity of neighbors in both the church and the world. Through my courses, field education experiences, and interactions with the diverse community, I have been privileged to hear the stories, struggles, and strengths of those who are different than me. My understanding of God has been deepened through these encounters with my neighbors.”
—Steven Slaubaugh, MDiv
“My ‘ah-ha moment’ occurred during Professor Paul Rorem’s class on the Christian mystical tradition during my first semester. I loved learning about the different ways that Christians have sought and experienced union with God. I knew I could spend the rest of my life studying Christian mysticism. After a few years of discernment, I decided to pursue that passion.”
—Samantha Slaubaugh, MDiv
I developed a more integrative understanding of vocation that fuels my passion for diaconal ministry.
“My time at Princeton Seminary proved to me that pastoring needs do extend beyond the walls of the global church. Over the course of my studies, I developed a more integrative understanding of vocation that fuels my passion for diaconal ministry—my call to mediate the relationship between the church and the world.”
—Madison Johnston, MDiv
I am created and ordained to reach, teach, and preach a pedagogy of womanist ethical theology, which gives voice to the ‘voiceless.’
“During my first class, Women and the History of American Religion, Professor Yolanda Pierce stepped forward and introduced a historical hermeneutical pedagogy of religious perspective she coined ‘Talitha Cumi.’ That is the moment that changed everything for me. Professor Pierce’s declaration of my rebirth name as pedagogy shook my fearless black, bold, and brilliant dungeon to its very core. I woke up at that very moment and have remained awakened to the reality that I am created and ordained to reach, teach, and preach a pedagogy of womanist ethical theology, which gives voice to the ‘voiceless.’”
—Talitha-Koumi Oluwafemi, ThM
Overcoming differences not by flattening people’s passions, but by appealing to the One who in love created those differences preserves the body of Christ.
“My greatest learning at seminary was recognizing the vastness of the God we serve. There are so many gifts God gives, so many ways the Holy Spirit moves in the passions of Christians, and all of these can and do glorify the God we serve. It’s one thing to talk about this in class, and we did to an extent, but it’s another thing to see this at work in the community. Overcoming differences not by flattening people’s passions, but by appealing to the One who in love created those differences preserves the body of Christ.”
—Joel Moody, MDiv