Fund for Theological Education, Volunteers Exploring Vocation Conference

Recently a few of our QVS cohort attended a Fund for Theological Education conference about exploring vocation. We all had different experiences I’m sure, so I’ll just tell you a little about mine. I was pretty wigged out arriving, honestly. It was hosted out of a fancy hotel and I felt out of place. I also felt like a bit of an impostor. Do I have to pretend to be confident about my faith to be here? Will they judge me when they find out my god doesn’t look like their God?

We began each morning and ended every night with prayer which was nourishing even when the structure was different from my familiar silent worship. I chose to take workshops on The Theology of Howard Thurman, the L’Arche Community Learning Vulnerability as a Way of Life, and Love Conquering Borders with the Alterna community. They were awesome. I also attend a panel discussion on Seminary and visited Mercy Community Church, which were both well timed adventures for me. Keynote speakers included Anton Flores-Maisonet about breaking cycles of violence, Leroy Barber about what we can learn from slave spirituals, Dr. Anna Carter Florence about teaching others to preach. Aspects of each of their stories spoke directly to me.

Some gems for me from the conference:

-The notion that boundaries need not be stagnant, that they can be fluid and used as a spiritual contemplative practice.

-Speaking to my living situation this year, that idea we as humans begin in community. That even before we experience a sense of self, we experience community.

-I was struck by Thurman’s affirmation of doubt as faithful, of asking as a way of praying.

-And also by the different ways that each of the presenters chose to meld their work and home life in a vocation of the heart.

None of us are finished ever. We are each constantly being shaped and transformed. The conference re-inspired in me a sense of following the divine, of learning to trust, of knowing that doesn’t mean I have to stop asking questions, and of loving my community for what it is. For that, I am grateful.

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