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January | 2011 | The 'CURE' for your Vocation

Archive for January, 2011


Meet Second Year, MTS Student, Mi Suk Shin

Greetings again everyone and Happy New Year! We’re back! We might have been back sooner but the flu caught up with yours truly, so I had to sit on the sidelines for a while there. Today, I want to introduce you to Mi Suk Shin. She’s one of your international students from South Korea. We sat her down to ask her a few questions about what life is like here at McCormick for her. Here’s what she had to say…

Name? Where are you from?

Mi Suk Shin, from South Korea.

What degree are you working on?

My degree is the MTS (Master’s of Theological Study) course.

What has it been like being an international student here?

1) I can experience multi cultural understanding. 2) I can learn diversity of study.  So my prespective of Bible and culture is changed to broad rather than narrow-minded. 3) I could pursue languages at McCormick. Especially program of learning partner for international student gives me great help. Nevertheless, the hardest part of language is still yet to come to me. I try to enhance language skills such as speaking, listening, and writing.

Why did you choose to come to McCormick?

There are several reasons. First of all, I have known of McCormick since 1994 through my Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Korea. In addition, I want to learn cross-culture and diversity of study here. Finally, international students receive much help from the LRWC which is the language program.

What are your plans after you graduate?

There are three options in my plan. One is a PhD course of study. Secind is that I come back to Korea in order to minister in Church or Christian organiztion. Third is that I could teach children and teens in immigrant Church of Korea.

What has been one of your favorite things to do here in Chicago since coming here?

I like to see music concerts at music festivals in the summer.

How has the language helped/hindered you since being here? Is it hard to come here to school in a different language?

It is good for me that I can directly read and discuss many books which are written by the world’s greatest scholars. However, it is difficult for me to do exact translations of such books.

What advice would you give to other international prospective students about McCormick?

Firstly, international students can learn multicultural diversity such as religious disposition and cultural diversity at McCormick. The cross cultural diversity provides students with new perspective for study.

Secondly, programs of Language and learning partner are excellent for international students during study in McCormick. This is the thoughtful consideration of McCormick. Through learning partner, students can share their culture, religion, and global issues together.

Thirdly, ACTS system is good program. Student can learn theology in other seminaries.

Thanks Mi Suk!

Until next time!

Peace~ Shelley D.

Meet Geoff Ashmun, McCormick’s Director of Public Realtions!

Greetings everyone! I’m really excited about our interview for today. I want you to meet Geoff Ashmun, just in case you haven’t met him already. Geoff’s great. He’s a lot of fun and he really likes to talk to the people of McCormick and try to tell their stories. Sort of what we’re trying to do here, but he does it in a much more sophisticated way. If you ever have a chance to sit down with him for lunch or just a chat, you totally should. I like to keep him around mainly because he laughs at my jokes. Someone has to.

Name/job title? Geoff Ashmun, Director of Public Relations

Where did you go to school/what did you study? I graduated from Mary Washington College in 1997 with a B.A. in Religion.

How did you come to work at McCormick? I was the staff editor for an international association serving printing firms. All of our positions were outsourced to a large association management company in downtown Chicago named Smith Bucklin in the fall of 2003. Fortunately, we were given a lot of notice, and one day I stumbled upon McCormick’s “Communications Coordinator” listing in the Tribune. I interviewed with Grayson Van Camp and John Evans, Interim VP for Seminary Relations & Development at the time. I think they liked me.

What do you do? Practically speaking, I do a lot of writing – and several different kinds of writing – from within the Department of Seminary Relations and Development. It might be advertising copy, a solicitation letter, a press release, a devotion, various kinds of programmatic content for print, email or the Web site, profiles of alumni/ae and students, and so on. I’m trying to tell stories about vocation, primarily. While I have a lot of opportunity to be creative, I’m not interested in fabricating anything, as “PR” people are sometimes accused of doing (you know that word, “spin.”). Really, I think I’m doing what we’re all doing in one way or another: bearing witness to what God is doing here in the particular way I feel called.

Best part of your job? With the possible exception of a person or two in the Department of Finance and Administration, I have occasion to work with literally everyone. With all due respect to those who get the thanks of the Board, I’m most impressed with the folks behind the scenes. There’s some magic about these people. What is it about just being in the presence of Carol Biesadecki and that infectious smile of hers that just makes you feel better? Imagine if we could bottle that stuff. Or what about Luke Wallace? I think he’s the only person I’ve never heard complain. And yet, every time I turn around, he’s working on something that just broke.

Hardest part of your job? Expectations are nowhere near commensurate with the resources I have available. It goes with the territory of not-for-profit education, of course. That said, the hardest thing is not being able to tell McCormick’s stories as well as I want to. It’s possible that I’m an idealist who needs to accept the limitations with which I’m confronted. I do struggle with deadlines sometimes, it’s true. I’m working on it. But I also care a lot about the integrity of the stories I’m telling and the people who graciously share them, and I rather like that about myself.

I know you’re doing some work with the pres. search committee, what else are you involved in there? When I start to think about this, my brain hurts. Part of doing my job well requires me to insert myself into as much campus life as possible – without, I hope, being a bad husband. The community is always changing, and so as I represent the seminary in my work, I need to stay on top of who we are.

Where do you think McCormick is heading? I was going to liken this question to forecasting financial markets, but then I realized I actually had a real answer to this. We’re in the midst of a change in leadership, which will precipitate a series of other changes over time. And so there is a lot resting on the Search Committee and those visibly and invisibly influential in this process. But then there is the danger of over-flattering ourselves. I don’t think McCormick’s “direction” entirely hangs in the balance of who sits in the president’s office or who presides over the board. Over the course of decades now, McCormick has developed relationships with communities – “communities” parsed geographically, culturally, and theologically – that have come to regard and depend on us an important partner in raising up pastors and leaders of faith. They will be holding us accountable to be good stewards of our ability to serve them. That’s really the wind at our backs, as I see it, and so we have to continue trimming our sails accordingly to catch that wind. It’s not just about direction; it’s also about whether we’re being propelled forward by something larger than ourselves. Ultimately, that’s God’s business.

Anything else interesting we should know? I’m a music junkie, which means that I’m always digging around in dusty record bins in sketchy neighborhoods. Music has become this diffuse thing that sits on our portable devices. I’m resisting this. For me, part of meaningful relationships to “things” is actually a willingness to be inconvenienced by them. It’s about the visibility of the relationship. Actually, I don’t think it’s that different with people either, which is probably why I have yet to get much out of social media.

(Geoff and his lovely wife, Lorien)

There you have it folks! Geoff in a nutshell. Take care!

Peace ~ Shelley D.

A Journey through CPE…

Happy New Year! It’s been cold here and the holidays have flown by, but we’re back! We would have been back a week ago but for a lovely flu that took me out last week. Speaking of the flu, I’ve been doing some research into some health care places. Not what you think… CPE.

Very recently I discovered the joy that is preparing your application to send out for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). [Note: I say joy in irony. Complete irony.]

Now, if you’re an MDiv student and you’re Presbyterian Church (USA), you will more than likely have to do this. If you don’t you might want to talk with your Presbytery. CPE is something that is invaluable. For reasons that I can’t explain yet, but I trust my colleagues when they ALL tell me this. It’s not only for others, its for yourself. You delve into who you are as a person, pastor, etc. I’ve already discovered this in the application process. You have to tell who you are. Not just who you are, what you’re made of. And that means letting it all hang out there in the most graceful way possible. Scared yet? You should be. Excited at all? Well, you should be that too.

Right now, I’m only in the process of applying for CPE. It’s hard. And there’s a lot of writing involved. I cried a bit when I did it. Ask me why.Maybe I’ll tell you.

So, I realized how confusing it can be, so I thought I should share what I’m learning with all of you. It’s a very confusing process in my opinion, unless you know exactly what you are doing. And honestly, I don’t. Let’s start at the beginning.

1) There are different places to do CPE. Hospitals are the most common places that I know of to do them, but there are Urban CPE’s as well. Or own JC Cadwallader did the Urban CPE program here. Once you figure out where you want to do CPE, you’re on the right road. First, where are you going to be for CPE, and I mean this as in State. For instance, I’m planning to do mine here in Illinois since I have my apartment here and my dogs. Figure out where you’re going to be.


2) Next, head to the APCE website. Once there, head to the Directories on the side of the page and click on the Accredited Centers. Then from there you can pick the region and state you are looking at.  Once you’re there, you need to know what to look for. Here’s an example: Say you click on the North Central area and you click on Iowa. You’ll be taken to a list where all of the accredited places will be listed. Here’s what you’ll find on each entree.

Iowa Methodist, Lutheran and Blank Children’s Hospital (PLACE),  1200 Pleasant St, Dept of Pastoral Services, Des Moines, IA 50309-1406. (ADDRESS) (2) Phone: (515) 241-6411; Fax: (515) 241-3422; PROGRAMS: CPE (Levels I and II), Supv. CPE   Offerings: W-Sp-Su-F-Yr-E  Stipends: Yr Application Fee : $0. Supervisor(s): Lyle B. Greiner, Robert W. Green

Now, where this can get interesting is with the Offerings section. W denotes winter, Sp is Spring, Su is summer, F is Fall, Yr is year-long and E means extended.

3) You need to know which one you will be doing. Many people choose to do CPE, if they are still in seminary, during the summer. I am applying for the extended. Not all of them will offer the times you might want. For example, not all hospitals that I looked at are doing extended, so I had to cross them off my list.

4) Once you’ve figured out the area, the places and the time amounts you are going to do, you need to get the application. This is the really fun part. Head to the Membership, Fees & Forms section on the side menu and then click on the forms. From there you can download the CPE application. Or, I’ve been so kind as to place it here. Thank me later. Now, the individual websites might also have this, but this one is good for wherever you send it.

5. Fill out the application and write, write, write.

6. After sending off your applications and fees (if they apply), you wait. Now, if you don’t hear back in a reasonable amount of time, then call them. Ask why you haven’t been contacted yet. You never know.

7. Interviews! You’ll have to do these face to face unless otherwise arranged between you and the interviewer. Go to them, dress nice. Eat some breath mints. Eat before you go so your stomach isn’t churning (then eat the breath mints!). Be polite but be honest. Have I missed anything?

I think we’re good. But this is just the beginning. I’m still in the beginning stages, so as I go along with this, I’ll keep you updated. But these are the basics and this will help get you off the ground as far as applications go.


Good luck and peace! ~ Shelley D.

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