We are forever grateful to our Student Ambassadors, who are not only enthusiastic about their choice of Perkins for their theological education but also perhaps even more enthusiastic to share their personal stories and experiences at Perkins with prospective students during our virtual recruitment events (planned and hosted by Samantha Stewart and Caleb Palmer). We know that prospective students enjoy making connections with current students, and we believe our group of Ambassadors are second to none. Without further ado, meet two more of this year’s Ambassadors featured in a series of Online Perspective Magazine publications.
Deneen Goldsmith: In Her Own Words
“I chose Perkins because I believe that Perkins provides the education and the tools for me to develop the discipline needed and necessary for faithful interpretation of God’s Word. As a member of the UMC, it is my mission to make disciples for the transformation of the world. Thus, my Perkins education contributes to the mission of the UMC to expand the kingdom of God. I count it a privilege and an honor to be a part of the Perkins School of Theology family as I continue to grow spiritually, mentally, physically and educationally.
I chose to pursue ordination as a deacon in the UMC. I am a wife and a mother, and the deacon track allows me to fulfill my first ministry (which is my family) and fulfill my ministry in the Church. I am passionate about serving the people of God through word, service, and acts of compassion and justice. That said, I feel called to the deacon track in the UMC because it rightfully defines my call to ministry.”
My goals upon completing Perkins are to utilize my gifts and strengths in the area of business administration specifically in the area of marketing/ branding and leadership development.
Deneen is a certified candidate in the Texas Conference. Her current ministry is at the Journey of Faith UMC in Humble, Texas. She is a third-year Master of Divinity student in the Houston-Galveston Hybrid Extension Program.
Emma Ward: In Her Own Words
“I am a lifelong United Methodist and knew that a United Methodist seminary would make me the best future United Methodist pastor. Can you tell I love being United Methodist? I looked up the 13 United Methodist seminaries and narrowed down that list to those that had user-friendly websites. I figured that if a seminary could not give me a good website, they could not give me a good education either. I requested information from those schools; almost instantly, I received an email from the enrollment office asking if I was able to take a phone call. They were so intentional. I had been taught that I would have to fight to have my voice heard in grad school, but Perkins showed me that they cared enough about me to remember random things I had told them on the phone when I came to visit the campus. Not only did they offer me a welcoming environment to call home, but they offered me academics that would help me grow mentally as well as spiritually. Long story short, Perkins was the obvious choice. I found Perkins by looking up the 13 UMC seminaries. I only live two hours away from Candler and about four from Asbury so those were the only two I knew about until I researched for myself!
I love the community! This community fosters serious academic growth but also serious self-care. I believe some religious academic environments can get toxic fast… not only do you have to be a perfect student, but you have to be a sinless Christian as well. The students and staff around me at Perkins recognize that we’re all human and we have our own struggles. I have never been treated as a theology-paper-producing robot but always as a girl who is worthy of God’s grace as well as that of others. This recovering-perfectionist has found her safe space through Perkins.
After graduation, I plan to pursue ordination as an elder in the United Methodist Church. I believe it is crucial that we have people serving our local churches that have been educated in ministry and theology. If we do not, our churches will continue to become more biblically illiterate and judgmental. I could write you an impressive paper on how Jesus’s actions could be applied today but the average church member is not going to look up a journal article to learn more about Jesus. They are going to go to church or reach out to a pastor that their friend has sworn, for a pastor, is low key cool. We need to be able to share the information we learn in seminary and the best way to do that is by being present in our local churches so that we can have intellectual conversations about God in more places than academic conferences.”
Emma is a first-year Master of Divinity student at the Dallas location. She is a member in the Holston Annual Conference and comes from Chattanooga, Tenn.
Aren’t they terrific? As always, we ask for your continued prayers for our recruitment efforts as the climate and environment is extremely competitive. We are committed to intentional recruitment efforts even in the midst of such uncertainty on many levels and appreciate all that you do to send prospects our way. A personal recommendation seems to work a great percentage of the time. Please always reach Samantha Stewart and Caleb Palmer, current Ministry Discernment Associates, or any of us in the Office of Enrollment Management. Samantha currently oversees and guides the work of our group of Students Ambassadors.