"Seminary has confirmed my call. It is where I should be right now," says Tiffany Ortman, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary student and a member of Canistota UMC.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries supported by the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment of the United Methodist Church.
Tiffany first felt her call to ministry at the age of 12. Rev. Phil Lint recognized her gifts and passion at Storm Mountain Center during a camp that summer. "He talked to me at camp and shared how he saw my passion for people and God," Tiffany said. "After I got home from camp, he wrote me a letter and affirmed my gifts. I still have that letter."
She explored her call throughout her middle and high school years through Bible studies, camp in the summer, and mission trips to the help with Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and helping with flood clean up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Her journey to seminary was affirmed at West Fargo Flame of Faith UMC where she served as an Elisha intern with Rev. Sara McManus. "I stepped out of my comfort zone. It was a leap of faith. My relationship with Pastor Sara led me to ask questions, dig deeper into the Bible. I explored why and how, realizing my gifts," Tiffany states.
Today, in her first year of seminary, she is being supported financially by the Phil and Mary Lee Lint Scholarship. Seminary is going well for Tiffany Ortman. "I am meeting a lot of different people from throughout the country," she says. "It is a true learning community with diverse theological viewpoints."
"I am growing in faith and learning how I relate to God and others," says Tiffany. She is being challenged at seminary by the diverse perspectives. "It is humbling and interesting to learn from others. I was able to learn from a classmate from India that practicing Christianity is not always safe. People in India worship in secret houses."
Tiffany has been challenged to think about issues that the United Methodist Church is currently facing during her seminary classes. "We can dive deep into issues the church is facing. We can explore how we interpret scripture. We discuss how scripture has been or can be used to hurt people. We are experiencing how scripture can be uplifting in people's lives," says Tiffany.
In the upcoming semester, she will begin a field experience and will continue to work with her vocational mentor. "It is great to work with a Garrett graduate. I meet with her, and we discuss how things are going and share stories," Tiffany says.
Her gifts and desire to be in ministry have been affirmed in the first semester of seminary. Tiffany has learned that shepherding is one of her gifts. She looks forward to being a pastoral leader in a church and shepherding her flock.
Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC
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.