The Asbury Theological Seminary campus draws people from all walks of life and at various ages in life. That calling to attend seminary at any age can interrupt one’s plans. An older female student, who preferred to remain anonymous, was a 1975 college graduate with a good career in database development. While at seminary, she became a grandmother six times. From Florida, it has taken her 5 and one-half years to complete her degree which will happen in December. She is hoping to be appointed to a church when she graduates this December. “Real ministry is scary,” explaining, “You don’t read books on being a parent and feel you know it all or are ready to be one.”
Rachel Smith, a younger student at Asbury Theological Seminary, was planning to be an English professor but after spending two years working for AmeriCorps she felt her calling was to work in ministry with college students. Now in her second year as a deacon candidate with the United Methodist Church, she is earning dual degrees: mental health counseling and an M.Div. Choosing Asbury was easy for her because the seminary seemed to “put head and heart together.”
She has not had to take out student loans so far with support from her denomination, scholarships, and by working on-campus. “God will provide,” Rachel stated, even though she admitted that she likes to control and plan for things. Her current goals are to work the United Methodist Children’s home with young people aging out of the system. The Children’s home cares for those removed from their families, but who have not been adopted or placed in the foster parent system.
The Rev. Scott Stith, pictured here, is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary a decade ago. He is now the pastor at Bardstown United Methodist Church here in Kentucky. Previously a pilot in the Marine Corp, he was living and working in Virginia as a Program Manager for GE Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Aerospace. After discussing seminary with his wife, Laurie, she said, “I knew it was right.” She had been working as a Spanish teacher and upon her arrival found a job as Lexington Christian Academy’s first Spanish teacher.
The emersion in seminary fit well for Scott Stith who experienced 9-11 while a student on-campus. The environment keeps what’s going on out there in the world at bay while you prepare for whatever ministry will call you to do. He doesn’t think that’s a bad thing at all. He was on campus with people from his church touring the campus. It was like coming home to him to a place he once couldn’t imagine coming to.