Pastoral Leadership Search Effort (PLSE)

Empowering discernment in youth and young adults

Choosing a Seminary

Posted by plse on March 10, 2008

By Peter Swarr
——
For me finding a Seminary was an eye-opening experience. Let me share some of that experience with you.
 
I wanted an academically challenging seminary where I could live in Christian community and really grow into my calling to be an Episcopal priest. I’m from Maine, my dad went to Harvard, so I naturally gravitated towards Yale. Many of my mentors had gone to Yale and after a visit I was sold. That said, one amazing priest who had graduated from Yale told me one day, “most of my profs have left Yale and either headed to Duke or Virginia, why no give VTS a shot.”

I was convinced my mentor-friend-priest was totally confused but after a conversation with +Chilton Knudsen I booked a flight to Reagan National Airport and visited VTS with my soon-to-be-wife (who had hated Yale and New Haven). As I was about to land in Alexandria I kept saying to God “there is no way I’m going to some God-forsaken school in the south. VTS is an academic backwater…they don’t even know what a chasuble is let alone incense, You’ll need to hit me over the head multiple times to get me to go here!” By now you can guess where this story is heading…My visit at VTS was eye-opening. I met passionate, thoughtful people who welcomed me into the community with open arms. I found compelling worship, a fantastic library, a incredible professorial body and a wonderful campus. I saw a thriving Christian community and I felt called to be a part of it. Needless to say, God hit me over the head and I ended up at VTS.

Angela and I had an incredible time at VTS. We found community, I found academic stimulation, I found the ability to dialog with people from all sides of the communion, I found resources beyond compare. Added to that VTS offered so many study-abroad programs it made my mind swim. VTS was an incredible community and since graduating in 2006 I have looked back at my time on the Holy Hill with much fondness, love, and even a desire to go back.

What I said to people visiting VTS the first time I will say here. Listen to God, be open, experience the feel of the community. God will lead you to the right place. For me that place was VTS and I give thanks to God for leading me there.

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One Response to “Choosing a Seminary”

  1. [...] Borg Blog wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBy Peter Swarr For me finding a Seminary was an eye-opening experience. Let me share some of that experience with you.   I wanted an academically challenging seminary where I could live in Christian community and really grow into my calling to be an Episcopal priest. I’m from Maine, my dad went to Harvard, so I naturally gravitated […] [...]

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