While working for the General Board of Global Ministries as a global mission fellow, Audra Hudson decided she wanted to go to seminary. She found her work as an immigrant and refugee justice community organizer fulfilling, but she realized she needed more education.
“I recognized that although I loved working with faith communities and doing community organizing, I lacked some theological training that would help me do that work better,” she explained.
Choosing a seminary wasn’t hard for Hudson. When she heard about Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s new master of arts in public ministry program, she knew she had found exactly what she wanted — a seminary that affirms both ordained and public ministry.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries supported by the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment of the United Methodist Church.
“I could have pursued master of divinity degrees at many different schools, but this new program really intrigued me,” said Hudson, who did her undergraduate work in political science and religion at Kalamazoo College.
“I came from a background of political science and thinking about power and justice from a more theoretical perspective,” she said. “What I really appreciate about this program is that it merges the theoretical approaches
to justice with theological approaches to justice.”
This fall, she started classes in the public ministry program, and in addition to taking foundational courses, she has chosen to pursue a concentration in ecological regeneration. “I decided to choose that concentration because I see that our world is in a climate crisis, and I believe that the church has something important to say in this time of crisis,” she said.
While in seminary, Hudson is working as a sustain GETS associate. She and Josh Richardson are helping Garrett-Evangelical work toward its Green Seminary Initiative Certification. Their work includes everything from thinking about infrastructure improvements at Garrett-Evangelical to cultivating a community that thinks more intentionally about creation care.
For example, Hudson has been working on a carbon offsetting plan. “We thought we would create a system where every time employees travel for seminary-related business, the seminary would allocate resources into an account that would be used for infrastructure improvements,” she said.
Hudson has also helped develop the Genesis Collective, a community of Christians focused on engaging in spiritual practices that reconnect people to earth care. Every week, the group shares a meal and thinks deeply about spiritual practices related to earth care. The group also supports regional efforts around climate justice.
Although it is too soon to know for sure, Hudson imagines that when she graduates, she will work at the intersection of ecological justice and the church. “It may be in the local church context, or it may be outside of the church,” she said. “I’ve done work in both before, and I’m interested in both areas.”
excerpt of a story from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL
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.