Mohandas Gandhi’s famous words, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” inspire Emily Clark. Those words have guided her in her studies, her work and even in her choice of the place where she lives.
Clark is an M.A.M. student who expects to graduate in 2020, with a concentration in social justice and theology, including community organizing and process theology.
Clark’s spiritual journey – still in progress – led her to Perkins.
“I always had a lot of theological questions growing up but was never really satisfied with the answers I was getting,” she said. “I was always pulled to know more. I applied to Perkins, and now I’m here.”
A Dallas native, Clark earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas in Austin, with a major in sociology and a minor in philosophy. Her career plans are open-ended, but she’d like to work in community building, community organizing or faith-based intentional communities.
This past year, Clark worked part-time on campus for Robert Hunt, director of Global Theological Education (GTE), assisting with editing of videos for the Global Theological Education Virtual Visiting Professor project. The project aims to create a fully accessible and continually growing library of short classes coming from scholars worldwide and available across the globe.
“I’ve been teaching myself video production as we go,” she said. “The newest videos are so much prettier than the first videos we created. It’s been a learning process for both of us, but it’s been fun.”
Next year, Clark will intern at Grace United Methodist Church – located right next door to her home. Clark, along with her cat, Binx, lives in Bonhoeffer House, an intentional community adjacent to Grace. It’s a project of the Missional Wisdom Foundation. All residents are seminary students or recent graduates who practice a monastic discipline, living and worshiping together while pouring themselves into serving the poor in their neighborhood.
The three young women at Bonhoeffer host a community meal every Wednesday night, taking turns leading the program. “We open our home to people in the neighborhood and have a meal and prayer,” Clark said. “Before, when I lived alone, I felt a little isolated.” Living at Bonhoeffer, however, “feels more and more right.”
For personal spiritual practice, Clark enjoys writing and journaling. That dovetails nicely with her participation in the inaugural cohort of the Minister-Author-Scholar-Teacher (MAST) Program, launched as a pilot venture in the fall of 2018. MAST’s goal is preparing Perkins students to speak through alternative “pulpits” – books, blogs, film, music and other media.
The two-year program offers resources and training to students interested in writing or creating other media for the church and academy. The group gathers for four events per semester. Next year, students will participate in a capstone course, with the goal of creating and submitting a publishable work, such as a book, to a publisher or media outlet.
“I love to write; the MAST program is helping me to follow that interest and really develop it,” she said. “It’s wonderful to have a group of like-minded people – I call it a community of creative creators. They are a source of motivation and momentum.”