Friday, March 15, 2024

Returning to Seminary

 In July 2021, life seemed to be on an upward trajectory. The pandemic was receding, my daughter celebrated her wedding, and the weather was pleasant. However, an unexpected disaster struck when my apartment building burned down due to an accident in the unit below mine. The fire resulted in the loss of nearly everything I owned, including my cherished library.

During this challenging time, the ACU Graduate School of Theology extended kindness and support, allowing me extra time to complete my summer term coursework, which I successfully did. Despite this, the trauma from the fire lingered, affecting my ability to fully engage with my studies. I realized I needed to pause and give myself time to heal and process the experience.

In pursuit of a new direction, I enrolled in a Master of Science program focused on Innovation and Strategic Management. This program aligns with my career as a program manager in technology and my aspirations to contribute to the nonprofit sector. I aim to complete this degree by December 2024 and then resume my Master of Divinity studies at Abilene Christian University in January 2025 with the goal of finishing my program.

Amid these personal challenges, I found solace and purpose in my nonprofit work. Uberlandia Development Initiatives (UDI), which I co-founded during the pandemic, has successfully funded three vital projects for the Estacao Vida Community Center in Uberlandia, Brazil. Witnessing the positive impact of our efforts on the children and families of the Shopping Park neighborhood has been incredibly rewarding and motivating.

As an aspirant for ministry in the Unitarian Universalist Association, I've continued to serve my congregation in various capacities, including a three-year term on the board of trustees and currently as a youth advisor. The path to UU ministry requires obtaining a Master of Divinity from an ATS-accredited seminary, but for me, it's about more than just fulfilling a requirement. I seek the knowledge, pastoral skills, and inspiration that seminary education can provide, as I continue to navigate life's challenges and embrace opportunities for growth and service.