In accepting this year's Distinguished Alum Award from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Marti Gates Lundy ('93) urged graduates to answer the call before them with "hope and love."
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries supported by the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment of the United Methodist Church.
"We serve in an interesting and unique time in the United Methodist history," she said. "And regardless of what happens in February, this, graduates, is what I want you to remember. You are the way forward . . . we are the way forward, and the love of Jesus Christ, my friends, that is the way forward."
She also reflected on her time at Garrett-Evangelical. "The seven years I spent in Evanston – the four at Northwestern and the three at Garrett – had a profound impact on my life," she said.
Lundy grew up in Indiana and went to Northwestern University to study music. She graduated in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in vocal performance and music education. Originally, she had hoped to work at a pediatric hospital as a music therapist, but felt a call to ministry in her junior year of college that made her realize she needed to change direction.
"I realized that ethically I couldn't share in a hospital setting what I felt families really needed to know and be comforted by in that situation," she said. That's when she decided to go to seminary.
Garrett-Evangelical was what she had hoped for, and she especially appreciated the seminary's culture that allowed for diverse thought. "Garrett-Evangelical gave me a place to explore who I was, what I believed, and how I was going to do ministry," she said. "It wasn't a place where you got a cookie-cutter education, and everyone was going to be alike."
In 2000, she became senior pastor of the Evangelical United Methodist Church (EUM) in Huntington, Indiana, where she has served for the last 18 years.
In January 2012, Lundy and her staff asked the question, "Why are we not helping out more in our own community?" Although EUM was supporting a number of ministries, the church decided, under Lundy's leadership, that it could do more and created a program called Mission Huntington. Each summer from 2013 to the present, more than 100 volunteers have gone out into the Huntington community to witness to those in need. In 2017, the program became year round.
In 2008, 15 years after she graduated from Garrett-Evangelical, Lundy earned a doctorate in leadership and spiritual formation from George Fox Theological Seminary. She wrote her dissertation, "Offering Hope: Providing Ministry to the Chronically Ill," to help inform churches how to care for people with chronic illnesses.
In the future, Lundy expects to do more of what she has been doing. "I love working with the local church," she said. "I don't see that changing."
AWARE magazine, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Ministerial Education Fund is at the heart of preparing people for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The 13 United Methodist seminaries help students to discover their calling through the challenging curriculum. The fund enables the church to increase financial support for recruiting and educating ordained and diaconal ministers and to equip annual conferences to meet increased demands. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment at 100 percent.