Changing Our Mind

On Friday, November 7th, Rev. Dr. David Gushee spoke to the McCormick community about his new book, Changing Our Mind. In the book, Dr. Gushee acknowledges his responsibility is the reading of scripture that helped create tensions between religious families and their LGBT family members. “Pushing peacemaking and urban violence together with LGBT rights helped me find the intersection of these 2 issues,” Dr. Gushee remarked. His opening statements heavily focused on the homeless youth population in the United States.

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Community Announcements: November 12th

Study Break – Thursday, November 13th

There is a study break for ALL STUDENTS on Thursday, November 13th from 9:00 – 10:30 pm in the 1400 building basement lounge.

Transgender Day of Remembrance Worship Service, November 19th

Acts 10:15 and Thesis 96 (LSTC’s LGBTQ student organization) are hosting a joint commemoration of Transgender Day of Remembrance at the McGaw Common Room at McCormick on November 19th from 4:30 – 5:30pm. Contact Mary Kathryn Dean with questions.

Iron Chef CANCELED

The fall semester Iron Chef competition has been canceled due to a lack of student participation. McCormick Residence Life will work to have a competition in the spring semester.

LRWC Global Conversation

On Monday, November 17th the community will gather at the LRWC for a Global Conversation at 12pm. Military Court Watch, a group that monitors the treatment of children in Israeli military detention, will facilitate a discussion about the military detention of Palestinian children. Soup and bread are always provided and donations are accepted.

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“Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus” an Instant Success

Dr. Reggie Williams recently published his first book, Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance. The publisher, Baylor Press, has already sold out all of the hardcover books from the first printing and caused Baylor Press to re-print as a paperback in only the third week after the initial release. Continue Reading →

Safe and Healthy Churches: Ending Family Violence

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Pictured (left to right): Mark Zimmerly (M.Div. ‘08), Jennifer Ikoma-Motzko (M.Div. ‘12), Rev. Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis (D.Min. ‘95), and Rev. Dr. David Kegley (D.Min. Preaching ‘02).

The Rev. Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis, Adjunct Professor at McCormick, recently conducted domestic violence training in Seattle, Washington. The training was titled, Safe and Healthy Churches: Ending Family Violence, and was sponsored by the Faith Trust Institute and InFaith Community Foundation, formally known as the Lutheran Foundation. At this two-day training, many McCormick alums were present.

Tisha Mason – First Year Interview

Tisha Mason

By Lowell Young

Quantisha “Tisha” Mason, a first year M. Div. student, isn’t your typical seminary student. Her journey from a “work” college in North Carolina to McCormick Theological Seminary is very interesting and quite unique. Some of what she did before coming to McCormick is not what most seminary students typically do. But then, there is nothing “typical” about “Tisha” Mason, as the following interview makes abundantly clear.

Lowell Young (LY): What was the journey that culminated in you enrolling here at McCormick?

“Tisha” Mason (TM): First of all, I met Wayne Meisel from the Center of Faith & Service in early 2013. Then I went to the World Council of Churches gathering in South Korea, where I met McCormick alums Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung and current McCormick students Ben Snipes and Vimary Cruz. They all talked about McCormick a lot. It was good to see McCormick students and alums so active in the World Council of Churches and that appealed to me very much. Listening to them talk about McCormick and watching how actively involved they were in the World Council of Churches events and programs played a huge role in me eventually deciding to enroll here at McCormick.

LY: What did you do prior to enrolling in seminary?

TM: I went to Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, one of only seven work colleges in the country, where the students both work and do service projects. My job was in the ceramics art studio, where I was a studio manager.

LY: What made you decide to attend Warren Wilson College?

TM: The school offered me the opportunity to study subjects in which I had a great deal of interest—Ceramics, Ceramic Sculpture, Metalsmithing and Bronze. If I have an interest in something, I go with it. If I have a way to do something I want to do, I’ll do it. I follow my gut on a lot of things and it hasn’t led me astray yet.

LY: I understand you are a licensed blacksmith. When and how did you take up that line of work?

TM: It was during my second year of college when I met all the requirements of being a blacksmith. Soon thereafter, I worked for a while as a blacksmith at Camp Falling Creek in North Carolina.

LY: When did you decide you wanted to go to Seminary?

TM: My major in college was religion. I already knew I was going to attend seminary someday. I just didn’t know when.

LY: As a student in the M. Div. program, what is it that you hope to accomplish?

TM: I’m in the M. Div. program with the goal of eventually being ordained in the PCUSA.

LY: How’s everything going so far?

TM: All right, so far. I see a lot of potential in the people McCormick is educating. There are a lot of people that I feel honored to know here. When I first arrived here, some of the people I met were so genuine and true with me; and if they are still part of my life 10 years after I leave here, I will be so grateful.

LY: What are your career goals after graduation and ordination?

TM: I have a lot of lofty dreams. Perhaps going on to get a Masters and a Ph. D. Parish work is also an option. Non-conventional ministry—such as working in the non-profit sector—is also a possibility.

LY: What role have Jesus and faith played in your interesting and very unique journey?

TM: I always feel like Jesus was in my heart and part of my life. But there always are times that I question my faith; but that’s when I grow in my faith even more. Those who don’t question their faith can be like lambs being led to the slaughter.

Walking Home: The Journey in to Seminary and out Again

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An excerpt of Kathi’s essay appeared in the November 12th edition of the Herald. Kathi Worthington is a 2014 Master of Arts in Ministry graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary, living in Colorado.

I emptied my storage cage today. I’d hauled my huge rubber maid bins up a few days ago—with the intention of starting to fill them with winter clothes and shoes, things that I hope, at last, will not be needed again till next November.

I emptied my storage cage today, and as I was dragging the TV box and luggage, the only things left, I flashed back to the end of August, 2010. My sister and I drove from Denver to Hyde Park—Molly-the-Minpin in her crate having nine kinds of a fit. We landed in front of the Kimbark building, met Diane, did the paperwork, and got the key to the apartment. We lugged all the necessities up from the car and blew up the air bed. We yelled down at a delivery guy who was bringing food in to someone else, how we could get some, too, and he got us a menu.

The movers showed up the next day, did most of the heavy lifting, then some unpacking began.

A good measure of unpacking happened before my sister returned to Denver, but there was still a good deal left. It felt lonely. I emptied boxes, discarded books (ouch!) that I had no space for, emptied my huge rubber maid bins, and schlepped stuff down to my storage cage. Over these 4ish years, I was in and out of that storage cage, for a suitcase, a widget, a thingy, a bin, a box. Getting settled, that storage bin held the chunks that wouldn’t fit in the closets or under a bed or in a corner. Things that weren’t needed regularly, but that needed to be handy.

The storage bin is a real thing, but it serves as a metaphor for my experience here as well. I came to seminary with the accouterments of life, the world, and all. I had dresses and shorts and shoes and books and art for the walls—real items, and inward possessions as well. I came to seminary with an eager desire to study, to learn, to do well, to excel. I came to seminary with a mind hungry for study, for expansion, for—well, for things that I couldn’t name. I just knew that mind and soul were hungry, and I wanted to be fed here. This experience storage bin was wide open, waiting to be filled. And so it has been.

My storage bin held a specific collection of things. These things didn’t change, they just got sifted around as I needed to get to a suitcase or a carry-on bag or stash another thing that just needed to be out of the way. The storage bin of mind and soul has been richly filled over this time.

Walking home. I walked a long distance away from home, coming here. Two full days drive-which isn’t exactly walking, but stopping to walk and water the dog, to eat, to add fuel to the tank to keep us on the road are all things that were the journey. Walking isn’t always done with the feet.

In fact, I’ve been walking home since the second I arrived in Hyde Park. To what home? There are many homes. The first walk home was settling into Hyde Park and school. I walked the neighborhood with my goofy dog, meeting long-time residents walking their dogs, and made friends. Friends with whom I’ve dined and had coffee and laughed and mourned. Friends with whom I, and two other folks who reside in Hyde Park—Dirk and my neighborhood friend Ann—will celebrate our graduations. A party thrown for us by another Hyde Park dog person. Walking home. This neighborhood has been home for four years. I walk home more than once every day—out with the dog and home again, off to class or work and home again, to Hyde Park Produce or CVS or Walgreens or Office Depot or Treasure Island or Ace Hardware or one of the libraries or book stores or restaurants and home again. A lot of walking home here.

Walking home. In classes, I discovered that I knew more than I was aware of, and that was exciting. I also discovered so much that I hadn’t yet encountered, and that has been exciting and enriching. AND, I discovered, painfully, that there were also some particular gaps in my tool kit that led to a very rough time. Missing the particular capacity necessary to do academic writing flatly dropped me on my butt, hard, gasping for breath. There are still shadows of bruising—to backside and ego.

Walking home. This experience, this falling down, also led to experiences of care, compassion, and grace that have taken my breath away. I have been blessed with affirmations of my gifts that have smoothed some of the rough spots on this walk home. Lamentation – the hard butt-drop (maybe drop kick!). Crying out, sorrow filled, walking with a hitch, but still walking. The grace and kindness of professors has softened the path beneath my feet. Uplift, encouragement, recognition, and congratulation. All these things are part of the walk.

Living, studying, working, playing, bellyaching, singing, dancing, laughing, crying, eating, sleeping, caring for one another. Community. This is the particular home that I, and we all, have occupied here. Walking home—to the home that is standing in place. Home is school, sidewalk, apartment, Trader Joe’s, Petsmart, Target, trips to Ikea and Whole Paycheck—oops, I mean Foods—for the least expensive steel cut oats in the area. All this is home, because we have become community, deeply nurtured by one another, experiencing the commonalities of shared experience. I can speak only for myself in this particular, immersed in community in such a way that every single thing I’ve done here has been communal whether in a group or with one friend. Community moves with us who live in community. In this regard, wherever we walk, we are always walking home.

Kathi Worthington Graduation

Kathi, front row on the far right, pictured at Graduation

And, “The Walk”. Graduation. Another walk. This walk begins another journey, the walk into a new vocation, a new location, a new way of being in the world. Completion carries with it much that is new, as new as the beginning of the walk. It feels different. My steps are different. My stride has shifted. The path is muzzier, with edges that aren’t distinct or defined.

The experience here opened with arrival, unpacking and organizing my Chicago home, integrating into the communities of living and studying, eating and thinking and talking and playing and praying, finding my way, and discovering that in community, in all the ways we have been in community, we are always walking, home and away from home. Home is a settled reality. Home is also a metaphor for things that are not concrete. Home is a thing that I now carry in my heart and the deepest part of my soul. Home is a place, home is an idea, home is family, community. But, finally, home is the essence of who we are; a concept, a reality, something that is at once tangible and ethereal.

Today I emptied my storage cage and flashed back to August, 2010 when I moved here from Denver. I unpacked all my stuff, organized my apartment, and settled into this new home. I walked down the gangway and put the things I didn’t need in my house in that storage cage. Stuff has lived in that storage cage for nearly four full years.

The circle is unbroken. This cycle is complete. I am filling the giant rubber maid bins, packing the winter things first (hoping not to need them again till November), organizing, emptying closets and cupboards, the medicine chest, the fridge. Packing, winnowing, giving stuff away, going home.

Walking home. In a vehicle. A 12′ foot Penske truck filled with the material pieces; books, garments, my kitchen. Feet work the accelerator and the brakes, so feet are involved. Walking. In a very real way, this drive is walking home. Walking home to the place I’ve lived for a very long time, taking with me essential parts of home here in Chicago.

Walking home. To the home of my heart and my lungs—crisp, thin air. High altitude. To the home where my eyes see lapis lazuli skies, endless stars scattered across the heavens, elk, mule deer, bear, coyote, fox, wolf, eagle, white pelican (no kidding! In Denver, CO!), beaver, skunk, mountain lion.

Walking home. Knowing now that home is nigh infinite in reach, in community, in love and care.

Walking home to the widest home that can be. The home of experience, of learning. The home of transformation that, once started, will never cease. My home is Hyde Park and all who dwell therein. My home is the Colorado Rockies. My home is a seamless cloth made of all the experiences and goodness and support and sorrow and disappointment and nurture and affirmation that has been life here.

When I arrived in Hyde Park, and stepped onto the McCormick campus as a student, I stepped into a new thing that began to reshape my lived reality. Leaving Hyde Park, I know that there is no place that is not home if I’m in it. Leaving for the mountains, I take back golden cords that are the light of the presence of the Divine in all this.

It turns out that leaving Colorado for Illinois to study really wasn’t leaving home; it was just moving into a different neighborhood. I left the material home of my heart—those huge mountains—but I didn’t really leave home, because wherever I am, that is home, and all the other places that are or have been home are the same place—many rooms, one home.

Walking home. A different person. Walking home to the familiar viewed by new eyes.

Walking home. Wherever we step, we are always walking home.

Student Council Summary – Nov 3 Meeting

STUDENT COUNCIL SUMMARY REPORT

3 NOVEMBER 2014

The meeting was called to order at 4:12 pm by Co-moderator Addie Domske. The opening meditation was a prayer for Co-moderator’s Jene Colvin’s family who lost a family member earlier in the day.

Each of the attendant Student Advocacy Groups presented reports on their present and upcoming activities.

Housekeeping

  • The Antiracism training will take place on Saturday, January 24th. All student leaders are required to attend.
  • Elliott Johnson is planning a Fellowship Dinner at A10 for the members of Student Council. The date will be determined and reported in the near future.
  • Addie announced that McCormick has reduced the tuition by about $3,000 a year. This is an effort by McCormick to assist with reducing student debt.

New Business

  • Trustee reports
    • The Student affairs committee is planning a listening session with students tentatively on November 24 from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Addie will confirm the date and time. The Town hall will include two trustees that will listen to student concerns regarding McCormick Student life. It is important that students attend to express their issues. Everyone in the community is invited.
  • Bylaws review and minor languages changes
    • A Spanish translation of the title of the Student Council bylaws was proposed and unanimously adopted. A Korean translation is forthcoming.

Student Concerns voiced at the meeting

  • An international student is concerned about the status of his VISA.
  • Minority (race, gender, sexuality) students felt like token representatives at the McCormick Visionary Awards Gala and scholarship recipients felt like they were on display.
  • McCormick is not a safe place for LGBT students. Insults in the classroom are not addressed. There are some professors that may not know how to facilitate a class discussion regarding LGBT issues.
  • The African American center staff position is filled but the Korean center staff position has been empty for two years.
  • Students participating in a Field site Experience should receive a stipend.

The next Student Council Meeting will be Monday, December 1 at 4:30 in the Buchanan Lounge. Dinner will be served.