Adapted from the blog of Chuck Currie, Eden Graduate
Answering the Call
Twice a year our seminary hosts an event for prospective students called 24 Hours at Eden (links to 24 hours page on Eden website) — a program that gives people a taste of what seminary life is like. One of those events was held recently and the story of one prospective student reminded me of how much people in ministry give of themselves to answer the call.
The prospective student actually took a Greyhound bus from the west coast just so that he could explore his own sense of call for a 24-hour period in Saint Louis. Then he got back on the bus for the long ride home. A quick plane ride was too expensive.
One of my student colleagues here drives two hours each morning and then two hours each evening so that she can study during the day and then return home to be with her husband.
There is a middle-aged woman on campus who lives by herself in student housing during the week and then drives back to her home several hours away to spend the weekend with her family.
Many students at Eden have moved their spouses, partners and children long distances away from friends and families.
We have a former FBI agent on campus. One of my colleagues gave up a veterinarian practice to attend here. Eden has former lawyers now studying to be ministers. Some of our students come right out of college but most are second-career students.
There are people here with disabilities and health concerns.
Our school has a food pantry available to help take care of students when they run out of money for groceries.
Most people who attend seminary are not destitute or going hungry. But everyone who attends seminary takes some risks to do so. The average seminarian leaves with $33,000 in debt for positions with churches that pay relatively little. The work can be hard on people.