All are Welcome!
Postulant - a person on probation before being admitted as a candidate for holy orders in the Episcopal Church. Each week at services we pray for Nathan, our postulant. Below is a message from Nathan and an update on his studies.
Greetings from the Episcopal Church’s Berkeley Divinity School, a part of Yale Divinity School! It was so good to see so many St. Luke’s friends and family during Christmas, a wonderful end to my first semester at seminary. Thank you for your ongoing prayers each Sunday, and for the financial assistance. I was asked to write an update, and I am certainly happy to do so!
In my first semester at Yale Divinity School, I took 17 credits (a normal course load is 12). That included the four classes most of the first-year Episcopal students take: global church history, early Christian theology to 451 AD, Old Testament 1, and an ecumenical worship course. I also took a course on how clergy and police officers can work together which was taught by New Haven's Assistant Police Chief who is himself a Baptist minister. Rounding things out, I took two weekend seminars on leadership, one with civil rights leader DeRay McKesson and one with U.S. Senator Chris Coons. It was such a privilege to spend 12 hours in small groups with leaders like a U.S. senator, who was surprisingly humble. I know that I am a lucky man and that these gifts are not about me, so every day, I ask God how God wants me to use them for the kingdom.
This coming semester, which begins in late January, I will ‘only’ take 14 credits, including three with the other Episcopal first-year students: medieval theology, U.S. church history, and Old Testament 2. I will also take two electives: Native Americans & Christianity and Introduction to Religion & Ecology. Next fall, I will begin working in earnest on a dual-degree program with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and this Religion and Ecology course is a pre-requisite for much of that work.
The classroom certainly isn't the only place where we learn. The worship formation and larger community are both absolutely incredible. There is Episcopal Morning Prayer every day at 7:30, as well as a daily ecumenical school-wide service, which together combine for profound daily rhythms. That mixture also helps to provide exactly the balance I was looking for - Episcopal formation set within the broader Body of Christ. The Episcopal community is also wonderful - diverse in age, gender, first careers, and perspectives. This amazing group of people I am excited to now call friends gives me heart for the continued future of our church.
And on a personal note, as you may have learned from me or my parents over the past month, I am now engaged to my best friend, a wonderful woman named Diana Church who I met at my Episcopal parish in D.C. Though we have only been dating for a few months, her friendship has been a rock in the storm for me for many years, and I can’t wait to have her join me in Connecticut next fall.
Thank you again for all of your support. It means so much to me. I keep St. Luke’s in my prayers, as I know you do with me. If anyone from the church is ever in New England, please let me know - I would love to introduce you!
The peace of our risen Lord be with you,