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February | 2011 | The 'CURE' for your Vocation

Archive for February, 2011

A Presidential Interview with President of McCormick, Cynthia Campbell

Good afternoon everyone. Right now I’m sitting in the sanctuary of the Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana for the Next Church Conference. It’s been pretty amazing thus far, you’ll hear more about it on Wednesday!

Today we’ve snagged an interview with Cynthia M. Campbell, our President here at McCormick and Cyrus McCormick Professor of Church and History. She’s the author of several books and teaches classes here at McCormick, such as Polity. In May of last year Cynthia announced her retirement from McCormick, and we are sad to see her go, but we managed to sit down with her among her busy schedule and ask her a few questions. She’s always open to conversations with students and welcome questions. She lives with her husband, Fred and cat Shadow. So, without further ado, here’s Cynthia!

Name & Title: Cynthia M. Campbell, President, McCormick Theological Seminary

Where did you go to school & what did you study; seminary? My undergraduate degree is from Occidental College (small liberal arts, formerly Presbyterian college in Los Angeles where I majored in philosophy). My M.Div. is from Harvard Divinity School. I did a Ph.D. at Southern Methodist University (in Dallas) where I concentrated on theology and wrote a dissertation on the doctrine of the Trinity in the theology of Karl Barth.

How did you end up working for McCormick? I was serving as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Salina, Kansas, and was invited by the Presidential Search Committee to apply.

We hear you’re the one to take polity with in May, any words on that? So, actually I am not (sadly) going to be able to teach polity this May. But Doug Tracy will and I know he will do a great job.

What’s one of the favorite parts of your job? One: signing diplomas … and all that represents, namely the accomplishments of all of our students. Two: telling other people about how important theological education is for the future of the church.

You announced your retirement last year; what’s next for you? Some time for reflection, first, and then I am open to the leading of the Spirit. One of my dreams is a return to congregational ministry in some form, perhaps interim ministry. It was very hard to leave the parish when I came here and I hope I will be able to return to that ministry again before I “finally” retire.

What advice would you give to the next president? Enjoy this work. Pray daily. Embrace the legacy of McCormick while you build the future.

I’ve met several people who knew you before you got to McCormick, they all say great things about you. Who is one person who has influenced you in your life and ministry and why? That’s hard because there are so many! But the one who remains most formative is one of the first. H. Ganse Little was the senior pastor of the congregation in which I grew up in Pasadena, California. He was a brilliant man, a formidable preacher, a major leader in the Presbyterian Church and Moderator of our General Assembly in 1966. What captured my imagination was the way his preaching made me want to study the Bible and think deeply about Christian faith and its implications for things like fair housing and war and poverty and scientific advancements.

We haven’t done a spot yet on your cat Shadow, but we’d love to. Can you tell us a little about Shadow? Fred and I adopted Shadow from the Anti-Cruelty Society two and a half years ago, and I cannot imagine life without her (except maybe when she insists on getting me up before the alarm in the morning!). She is a black and white American short-hair. She loves to sleep on or near the radiators in our apartment. One of her other favorite activities is running up and down the long  hallway in our apartment (often in the middle of the night!). She is a very happy kitty, and actually pretty spoiled.


On Wednesday, look for more coming your way from Mormick!

Peace~ Shelley D.

An Interview with MTS Alum, Rev. Laura Cheifetz, Class of 2005

This week, we’ve interviewed the Rev. Laura Cheifetz. Rev. Cheifetz works as the Director of the Leading Generations Initiative at the Fund for Theological Education, which is located at Emory in Atlanta, GA. Previously, Laura was the Director for the Common Ground Project here at McCormick. That’s where I first met Laura when I was a first-year student. She hired me on as one of her student-assistants; one of the greatest privileges I’ve ever gotten. She has a contagious laugh and always has fun music playing in her office. She also gives pretty good advice. Enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Rev. Laura Mariko Cheifetz and I was born in San Francisco, CA, from Poulsbo, WA. I was a Sociology major (and department student of the year, cum laude, with Honors) at Western Washington University. I graduated from McCormick with an M.Div in 2005 and I lived in the 1400 building while I was there.

What was something you were looking for when considering seminaries?

A couple of things. I looked at the financial package, diversity, urban, a place that would train me for ministry, and mostly… the right community vibe.

What was it that led you to McCormick?

Well, Harvard didn’t give me a great financial package. That helped narrow the field a bit. The other two full rides offers were at seminaries that didn’t give off the right vibe for me. I was led to McCormick based on the awesome vibe from the other students and prospective students. Also, Theresa Cho, on a student panel, said something about Asian American feminist theology and I was sold. I did think that remaining on the West and East coasts was a cop-out and I needed to know what it was like to live in a fly-over part of the country. I also knew that my brain was in fine shape, and so was my ego. I was a little worried that if I went to one of those big-name seminaries at that time I would become even more arrogant. Given my sometimes painful self-awareness, I knew what I really needed more than anything was for my heart to be shaped into the heart of a pastor. McCormick appeared to be the place for that.

Can you tell us a little about your time at McCormick as a student?

I was at McCormick with some really amazing classmates. I will always be grateful for them and for the great faculty I learned from, such as Homer Ashby, Hearn Chun, David Daniels, Joanne Lindstrom, Lib Caldwell, etc.

What was your field site experience like?

I did field studies at Interfaith Council for the Homeless, with the Rev. John Hobbs. He was a really great supervisor, and the social workers there taught me a lot. I think John taught me the most about how to be a really great pastor with parishioners while also being myself. I then did a full-time seven-month internship at a bilingual church in San Francisco. It was a really good growing experience. I was in some really difficult real-life situations in regards to immigration, community and staff relations, etc. I also found that preaching in my second language could be really hit and miss, and preparation was really important.

Well, what are you doing now?

I am working at The Fund for Theological Education as Director of the Leading Generations Initiative. I do alumni relations, development, and work with the Lilly Endowment on the Transition into Ministry project. I get to work with the coolest people in these programs. I feel so fortunate to have great colleagues. I learn something new about leadership every day, and we have a blast together. And, I’m graduating from North Park University in May of 2011 with an MBA!

How did McCormick equip you for ministry?

I could have learned how to be a Presbyterian minister anywhere, but McCormick has made me into myself as a minister! I learned how to listen to others and work together with people very different from myself. I also learned to drive my own learning process. When I needed to get more perspectives, I audited extra courses at McCormick or other seminaries. I learned how to be wrong, because every day I found something to be wrong about. I also learned how to stand my ground when it really mattered. I learned how to analyze and navigate complicated political situations.

I found a really solid and supportive community that has continued to be sustaining as we have all been out working in the world. What has been most helpful was developing my own voice as a person of color in a bipolar racial framework. Now that I live and work in Atlanta, being able to navigate a black-white framework in a much more complicated and diverse world is invaluable.

What would you love to go back and do again?

I would not go back. I went when I went and it was sufficient.

Any parting words of wisdom?

Not all these words are my words: Life is awesome and ministry is a gift. Don’t force it and don’t waste it. Know thyself. As someone who works with people, never underestimate the power of projection. Learn from other people’s mistakes and your own. And hey, God loves you! Try and live that out by being kind (but never a doormat) and making sure everyone gets something to eat.


Awesome! Thanks Laura. For more information on the work that Rev. Cheifetz does, check out the link above for the FUND. There are some great opportunities there!

Until next time!

Peace ~ Shelley D.

Meet Session member, Marge Vander Wagen

Good day all you McCormick Blog readers! As we sift our way through the Student Session, I want you to meet Marge Vander Wagen. She represents the commuter students on Session. Now, the commuter students are pretty important to us here at McCormick. They make up a large portion of our student body. It makes community very interesting around here most days. And by interesting, I mean that in a good way. It brings together all kinds of people. Just a personal note, but I think commuter students don’t get much credit most days. Most of them have homes and families and jobs off campus so they can’t always be here as much. Yet, they still make the effort to not only be in their classes, but to be involved in so many other ways. So folks, cut ‘em a break. They work pretty darn hard. Next time you see one of your fellow commuter students, tell them how much you appreciate them. Consider this your “Hug a Commuter Day” here at McCormick.

And Marge, we appreciate you; not just for being a commuter student but for all you do on the Session and for other students!

Marge, tell us a little about yourself and who you represent on Session.

I’m Marge Vander Wagen and I represent the commuters at the Session meetings. Although we are all students at McCormick, commuters may have different needs or concerns that should be heard at the session meetings.

So Marge, why did you choose McCormick?

I choose McCormick because it offered interaction with students and professors from many different denominational backgrounds. Seekers and congregations are melting pots embracing many different or no church backgrounds. As a follower of Christ and potential leader, I need to learn how to listen and how to encourage each person.

What’s your background? You know, what did you do before coming to McCormick?

My background includes 30 years as a hospital medical technologist and 10 years as an adjunct college biology instructor. I have served as an elder at a Reformed Church in America and currently am serving in the Caring Community Kitchen at Downers Grove Community Church.  We serve free warm meals to 50 – 60 clients every Wednesday evening.

What is something that you’ve learned since coming here?

At McCormick I have learned to appreciate the lessons that my fellow students and professors have subtley taught me. I listen, process and realize the value of specific conversations, joint projects, and mini-confrontations. Out in the real world, I must learn to work in a heterogeneous society, if I am to be effective for Christ.

What’s one hope that you have?

My hope is that the field studies classes (Min 404 and 405) will give me skills to teach, preach and lead a congregation without burning out.

Thanks Marge!

Peace ~ Shelley D.

Good Monday everyone! It’s a bit cold and grey here in Chicago, but in the walls of the McCormick building, we’re staying warm and bright (well, as bright as you can be on a Monday morning in Greek class).

Now, if you’re someone looking at McCormick as a possible choice for your next step in life, then there are several people that you will encouner. One of those is the fabulous Jamie Wasowski. She is our Associate for Master’s Level Recruitment. If you don’t get one of our reps on the phone or via email then you will probably get Jamie! She is a huge help!

When I was applying to McCormick she was my go to person (as well as Kate Ester!). Jamie answered all my questions and helped walk me through the confusing parts. We did a quick interview with her here; it doesn’t sum up everything about her but its a good starting point! She’s a great person to get to know. You might have met her dogs last week, Gordon and Liberty.

You can reach Jamie at jwasowski@mccormick.edu or (773)947-6255.

Jamie Wasowski, Associate for Master's Level Recruitment and Admissions


Jamie Alexandra Montgomery Kasik Wasowski, but because it is so long I prefer Jamie Wasowski for short! :)

Who does your family consist of? (pets too!)

My immediate family consists of my husband Bob who I have been married to for seven years this year, my Mom who I am very close with and of course my two Golden Retrievers: Gordon Fergus and Liberty Belle.  I also have two cats who have been temporarily adopted by my Mom, they are Little Guy and Mew Mew.

Where did you go to college? Seminary?

I began my college experience by studying Vocal Performance and Journalism at  Columbia College Chicago. At the time, I decided it was best to work full time, since I was paying my way through school and already accruing debt. Due to the costs and my inexperience with money, I decided to work full time.  However, I eventually returned to school in the Fall of 2000 and received two scholarships which gave me enough incentive to return.  I decided to continue to pursue music, but changed my major to Philosophy after taking two Philosophy classes that really impressed me: Intro to Philosophy and Ethics.  I completed my degree at St. Xavier University where I graduated in 2003 with a BA.  Around the time of my graduation I was considering seminary, but like most people, I had doubts if it would be the right fit.  However after encouragement from my Pastor and others, I decided to attend an Inquiry Into Ministry event.  After feeling excitement from my experience at IIM, I finally decided to apply and see where God would lead me.  I was admitted to McCormick Theological Seminary and graduated in 2008 with an MDiv degree.

What’s your job title?

I am the Associate for Master’s Level Recruitment and Admissions.

How long have you worked for McCormick?

This is an interesting question since I began working for McCormick in my Senior year as a Student Worker for Development and Alumni Relations.  I was hired into my current position in July of 2008.  Technically, 3 and a half years, but sometimes it feels like much longer!

Why work for McCormick?

I love the people who make up the community, many of whom inspire me on a daily basis.  Also, I meet a lot of people who are in their discernment processes and who aren’t sure if seminary is the right next step to take. It gives me much joy to work with these people and help them through the process.

Favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job, is definitely meeting and working with prospectives and student recruitment representatives!  I really enjoy working with the Recruitment Reps because I have found that they can bring so much perspective to the needs of the office and can really give voice to the process having come into McCormick more recently that both JC and myself. I also like the times outside of my job that I get to spend as a part of the community, whether it is through worship or in participating in an event that is hosted here at the seminary.

What’s something interesting about yourself?

Not too many people know this, but those who are close to me know that I like to collect things. For example, I have a doll collection that my grandmother started for me as a child, a thimble collection from places I have been or from where others have been and a button collection containing music, Irish, sports and even political buttons.

What is something that you love about Chicago or that you recommend?

There is so much that I love about Chicago!  First, there is so much culturally! If you love the arts then what better place to call home!  There are so many different museums to choose from and many different music venues no matter what style you claim.  Second, the rich diversity in food!  Whether you are interested in Chicago pizza, Chicago hot dogs, or ethnic food: Polish, German, Thai, Korean, Soul, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, French, fill in the blank….it’s all here and it is amazing!!!  Third, the Sports!  I honestly believe we have some of the best sports teams right here in Chicago! Whether it’s the White Sox, Blackhawks, Bears…or even the Chicago Cubs! ; )  Fourth,  Chicago is on a grid system and is real easy to navigate and not get lost!  Plus, why Drive?  especially when there is access to Public Transportation!!!  You can’t beat it!

More pets!

We recently interviewed a few new dogs, Jamie Wasowski’s to be exact. They were pretty great to interview. So here they are!


Gordon Fergus

Liberty Belle


Jamie and Bob
Tell us a little about yourself and what makes you so interesting?

GF:  I am a Golden Retriever, but I get mistaken for a Irish Setter on a regular basis because of my Reddish Coloring.  I love to lick my feet, but sometimes I am very itchy because of my allergies. My parents sometimes get angry because they say I smell like Corn Chips.  I have tried everything to smell better, even changed my diet, oh well!

LB:  I love everyone and feel like a princess, but sometimes I get scared if I am somewhere new.  I am really afraid of the big scary monster that my parents pull out of the kitchen closet every now and then. When they plug it in and turn it on, I run into the bedroom and jump into bed and hide until it’s all over.
What’s the best part of your day?

GF: I love sleeping on my very own bed. It is so comfy and I can sprawl out and still fit. I also love when my parents get home because then I can go to the bathroom!

LB:  I love when my parents are home the best, because they spend a lot of time with me and let me cuddle with them.
Favorite toy?

GF:  My favorite toy is my cheeseburger squeaky toy, but recently I have really liked playing with my “Mr. Bill” toy…he says “Oh, Noooooooooo” an awful lot!

LB: My favorite toy is usually whatever Gordon has, but I love my Chew Rope!
Favorite treat?

GF: Did somebody say rawhides?  Those are my absolute favorites! I also love whenever my parents give me table scraps, but that doesn’t seem to happen very often.

LB:  I love rawhides too!  I usually will hide them around the house or stash them outside…sometimes I will steal them from Gordon because he doesn’t always finish them.

Favorite place to sleep?

GF: My Orthopedic Dog Bed!  It’s the best! What can I say…my parents spoil me!

LB: I love sleeping with my parents! They have the biggest Doggie bed and I love it!
How do you feel about the snow?

GF: I love the snow, especially making snow dog angels! But I hate the Dog booties my Mom makes me wear. They feel so awkward!

LB: I love playing in snow and my Mom always makes sure that I am bundled up in my snow suit so I stay extra warm. It’s lot’s of fun especially when I find a bone that I left outside in the snow!

Any social commentary of the day you want to share?

GF: Well this more affects me and Liberty, but I would really like our new house better if my brothers were here with us. I really miss our feline siblings, Little Guy and Mew Mew.  They weren’t allowed to come with, but I am hoping my parents might be able to figure out a way for us all to be a family again.  It just doesn’t seem fair. (insert sad puppy face here)

LB:  I think everyone should love everyone, but especially me because I want to be a princess.

How do you feel being labeled a “seminary pet?”

GF: I think it’s fine. I would love to meet some of the other seminary pets sometime. When my Mom was a student she lived off campus and never brought me to school. It think it would be great to have a dog party at the seminary sometime.

LB: Do I get to be princess over the other seminary pets? If not it’s ok…I like getting lots of attention!

Thanks for the interview guys! Catch us back here on Monday morning with more interesting stuff!

Peace~Shelley D.

An Interview with Alum Honna Eichler, Class of 2010

Greetings everyone. I am really pleased to bring you our most recent blog. We sat down with Alum, class of 2010, Honna Eichler, to ask her a bit about her time at McCormick and what it is that she is doing now. I met Honna in my first year here (she was a senior), and as a new student in a new city and school, Honna was a student that looked out for the new kids on the block. She was an active Session member while here at McCormick, serving as one of the Co-Moderators for her senior year, and she also sat as a student representative on the Board of Trustees here at McCormick. She was also an amazing MC at the annual Session sponsored Feast of Fools (you have to come to McCormick to find out about that one). Honna was also a Beatitudes Society Fellowship Recipient, just like yours truly. In fact, Honna was the student that first planted the idea in my head. And I can easily say it was one of the best things I ever did. You can read more about that on my blog, The Travelling Theologian (with 2 l’s). But for now, here’s Honna!

So, tell us about yourself.

I’m Honna Eichler. I am from a small town in central Illinois and moved to Chicago eight years ago. I studied English Literature, with an emphasis on Harry Potter, at North Park University.  I graduated from McCormick in 2010 with a Master in Divinity and lived in the 1400 back during the BZ&H57 time period. Many are unfamiliar with the historic classification of “BZ&H57,” but I can tell you it refers to the sad period in Hyde Park history before Z&H Market Café was located on 57th street.

What was something that you looked for when considering seminaries and what led you to McCormick?

I wanted the seminary I selected to be Presbyterian, open minded, innovative and committed to fostering cross-cultural learning. I came to McCormick because I believed it exemplified a commitment to those ideals and my time there only confirmed this belief.

Tell us about your time at McCormick and how has it equipped you for ministry?

It is hard to summarize three wonderful and challenging years in a few sentences, but I will try. My time was deeply enriching and affirming. I cannot think of one class that was not incredibly valuable, and I deeply respect the academic commitment of the faculty. My greatest learning, however, was through observing how the faculty engaged students with non-pretentious faithfulness, grace and kindness. In short, not only do I feel McCormick intellectually prepared me for my sense of vocation, but it helped me put into perspective the value of kindness in ministry.
What are you doing now?

I work at Interfaith Worker Justice where I spend a lot of my time developing the board of directors and organizing an interfaith theological symposium that will take place this June.

I write and serve on the executive committee for a new blog, State of Formation, with about seventy other recent and current graduate level students from interreglious and non-religious perspectives. This blog falls into the “progressive interfaith movement” which incorporates voices often marginalized (such as the GLBTQ perspective) from the traditional interfaith movement.

I was just ordained as an elder at my church, Edgewater Presbyterian, and am discerning if I should further pursue ordained ministry in the PC(USA). At Edgewater, I work with a youth leadership team to develop youth ministry.

Finally, in late February, I am going as a Presbyterian Delegate to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. I’ve been preparing since October and I cannot wait!

What would you love to go back and do again?

Only one thing: I should have taken Ken and Anna’s Reformed Tradition course with my classmates. I mourn the conversations I did not have in that class.
Any parting words of wisdom?

Do everything possible to make friends with people from other schools and foster cross-cultural relationships. And, for fun, go to Z&H as much as financially possible.

Honna with Dean Lib Caldwell and Board of Trustee Carol Wehrheim.

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Honna. You can also find Honna online @ Facebook or on Twitter @HonnaEichler.

Stay tuned for next time!

Peace~ Shelley D.

Confessions of the Most Interesting Cat in the World

Good morning all you McBloggers! Today we have something extra special. You won’t find this interview with other seminaries. In fact, I’m pretty sure we have been the only ones ever to snag an interview with this cat. I give you “The Most Interesting cat in the World.” You’ve met plenty of our other animals from the McCormick Community; today, I want to introduce you to Jake, the furry, grey, George Clooney of the McCormick community. He roams the halls of Recruitment Director Rev. J.C. Cadwallader’s apartment, making sure the food bowl has fresh food and nothing is out of order. If it is… well, you don’t want to be around for that. Jake takes no prisoners.



Who is your human?

JC…she’s been my human for 8.5 years now.

So Jake, tell us a little about yourself and what it is that makes you so interesting?

Well, I had a bit of a rough start to my life.  I was a stray for a couple of years…got into some fights but I’m pretty tough so it was no big whoop to me.  Then, I was lucky enough to find my way to the Humane Society in Boone, North Carolina.  JC came in one day and spent a bit of time meeting all the other cats in the room.  I was asleep on the top of the tower the whole time.  She was just about to walk out of the room when she spotted my sleepy self on top of the tower and she woke me up.  I opened my eyes a bit, got up and she lifted me down off the tower and we sat down on the chair.  Moments later, I hopped down and walked over to meet her friend who was with her and then settled in the middle of the room to take a moment to really wake up.  She patted her lap, said “come here little buddy” and I scampered over…I knew she was talking to me.  She took me home the next day.

We’ve lived in several different places over the years and I think I’m pretty well-traveled for a cat.  She used to take me on long road-trips mostly for holidays…from North Carolina to Tennessee to Chicago and back and forth all over the place.  But, thankfully, she doesn’t take me in the car very often for long road-trips like she used to.  Those don’t make my belly feel very good.

My interests are pastoral care giving, eating, sometimes playing with toys and/or hunting bugs in the house.  I am not needy but I’m pretty snuggly and I’m always told how dang cute I am.  I totally understand English and if I had the capability to speak it, I would.  But, most people understand my meows so communication is not typically a problem for me.

On a regular basis, what would you say is the best part of your day?

I would say the best part of my day is waking up.  The morning sun shines through the living room windows and I like to stretch and sunbathe.

Do you have a favorite toy?

I know I used the word “toy” but I’m not sure if that’s what I would call them.  Most of the time, they are simply things to lay on.  But, every now and again, I do like to toss around the mouse, or the turtle or the snake.  They have cat nip in them…

Do you have a favorite thing to eat?

If I had my druthers about it, I would drink milk all day.  However, it makes my tummy upset so I’ll just stick with the delicious Purina One Hairball and Weight Control/For Mature Cats +7 mixture that is my daily diet.

Out of the entire apartment, where is your favorite place to sleep?

This is a tough one…I have a rotation of favorite places.  There is an old, foam egg crate that is under that futon in the guest room in which I bury myself…that’s a nice place.  But, I also love to sleep on JC’s pillow (but only when she’s sleeping there too though…I think it’s funny!), or on the brown blanket on the couch.

Overall, how do you feel about your living conditions?

I’m quite content with my living conditions.  I know all the nooks and crannies of this place now so I know if there’s an intruder, like a centipede or something, that I can eat.  Our last place had carpet but I’ve gotten used to the hard-wood floors in this one so it’s easier for me to run around (and I use the term “run” loosely). It’s a little lonely sometimes, I’m not going to lie, but it’s a nice place.

Do you have any social commentary that you feel is relevant to the world today that you would like to share with everyone?

There is a lot of sadness in the world these days.  It’s important to remember to think of others first.  It not only helps you to get out of your own head but it’s helpful to others to know there’s someone that cares.

I have to know, how on earth do you deal with the title of “handsome” so often? That must get to a cat.

I’m a big believer in truth…so, I deal with it.

Do you have a favorite TV show? I know JC really likes Law & Order: SVU a lot.

The Vicar of Dibley…that Alice is hilarious!

So, do you think Jesus had a pet cat?

I think Jesus was a cat.

What’s the best part about being a cat?

I don’t have to do any chores around the house.  She asks me all the time but, I don’t have any thumbs.  I can’t really take the garbage out, do the dishes or go to work for her.

Do you have any questions for us?

Anyone need someone to listen?  I have hours available.

Thanks Jake, for the wonderful interview! You clearly are the most handsome cat…

Well readers, there you have it. An interview with the most interesting (and in my opinion, the most handsome cat) in the world. We’ll see you all again on Monday!

Peace~ Shelley D.

Meet Second Year Student Session Representative, Amber Ellignton

Greetings again everyone! Well, you got to meet some amazing people last semester so we thought you’d like to meet more of them. Today we’ve got an interview from Amber Ellington, second year student here at McCormick who sits on the Student Session as a student representative and also sits on the Board of Trustees. She keeps pretty busy but we were able to catch up with her!

Our readers need to know, who are you?

I’m just an average girl from South Louisiana. I was raised on sweet tea (entirely too sweet), crawfish etouffee, boudin, fried shrimp, jambalaya, and grits with Tabasco sauce. Luckily I was always heavily involved in sports and dance, or you would be able to physically tell I once ate like that! :D

I also have the best friends and family anyone could ever ask for! I have an older brother, two younger sisters, my mom, dad, and two dogs.

In my head I’m a yoga master and top chef, but in real life I’m just a McCormick middler who doesn’t socially exist anymore because of the demanding field education schedule.

Any hobbies you might have?

Working out (P90X or running), Pilates (Windsor), Yoga (Ashtanga), reading, journaling, watching Netflix (way too much), cooking (vegetarian), baking, watching The Next Great Baker on TLC or Cupcake Wars on Food Network, and daydreaming about someday graduating and getting a dog.

There were lots of places you could have gone, why did you come to McCormick?

I came to McCormick for not only the same reasons you always hear, such as diversity, being urban, progressive, the community, blah blah blah, but most importantly because of the faculty. When I originally visited McCormick through IIM there was a faculty panel presented in which prospective students were able to ask questions and listen to the experience of McCormick through a faculty perspective. How could you not want to be a part of McCormick after meeting the people that work here?! After hearing Dr. Frank Yamada speak, I heard a voice telling me that this was where I was supposed to be. And here I am.

Oh, and location, location, location. Who wouldn’t want to go to school in Chicago? Well, maybe not in the winter.

Which group do you represent on Session?

I represent my class for the second year now, which is currently the middler class. I am also the student representative to the McCormick Board of Trustees, which is an AMAZING group of people who are passionate about and care very deeply for MTS.

What are your responsibilities for your group?

I represent my class through making various issues known to the session. I originally proposed getting a student microwave in the McCormick building- that is where my priorities lie. I also do the same in regards to the Board of Trustees, but I’m representing all students- not just middlers.

What is one thing you’ve learned so far at McCormick?

That I learn best amidst diversity, that I don’t know anything, I am not called to be an expert on all things theological, and that God did not call me to be “right” (in a sense of being “correct”- not a political or theological right ). Also, that I am a strong, intelligent, happy and capable woman- I always have been, always will be, and I will not allow anything or person to change that.

What’s one thing you’re hoping for?

Finally being finished with field site and one day graduating!!!!!!!! (And getting a dog after that)

Thanks Amber!

Until next time! ~Shelley D.

Confessions of Seminary Pets: the one after the third…

Well, McBlog readers, we’re back. We had to take a bit of a break this week with the insane snowstorm that blew though! But we’re back!

A while back, you all met Abby Mohaupt, one of our representatives on the Student Session here at McCormick. Abby is also the proud mother to three wonderful kitties. They aren’t just kitties, they are something more. I’m not sure what, but I’ll let you know as soon as I find an appropriate word for it. It’s a good thing, but still my vocabulary needs to be expanded before I can find the right word for them. But there is a lot of lovin’ to go around with these three ladies. Enjoy!


We have really long names because our humans are weird. These are what are on our papers, though:



and Eve.

We also have a fish named Food who we’re not allowed to play with. He mostly swims around in circles, and he’s boring.


Abby Mohaupt and Nathan Fleming

So guys, tell us a little about yourself and what makes you so interesting?

Mama: I was a stray cat who was really pregnant and gave birth to my six babies in Abby and Nathan’s basement. Before I was found, I kept my babies alive and I almost died. But then I was found and I discovered that I love people. I love to give kisses and sleep on Abby’s lap.
Panda: My Mama is the best Mama in the whole world. I like to play with her. Sometimes Abby chases me and I do not like that. But sometimes I can’t find Mama and Abby helps me find her, so I guess she’s ok.
Eve: I’M TWO! I like sleeping under a blanket and jumping onto the counter and hiding under the bed and jumping on Panda. I also like to yawn with my eyes open and I can say “no.”

You must have ever entertaining lives; what’s the best part of your day?

Mama: When Abby comes home so I can cuddle with her.
Panda: Cuddling with Mama.
Eve: Tackling Panda from above.

Do any of you happen to have a favorite toy?

Mama: This really old sock with catnip inside of it. It is the best.
Panda: The weird red light that nathan sometimes makes appear out of nowhere!
Eve: People! I especially like people who will pet me without picking me up (I’m a little afraid of being picked up).

Favorite treat?

Mama: Sunchips….yum.
Panda: MAMA!!
Eve: Drinking water out of Abby’s glass.

Favorite place to sleep?
Mama: In the papasan chair.
Panda: On top of mama!!
Eve:  On my Nathy’s legs.

How do you feel about the snow?

Mama: It’s ok…

Panda: What does Mama think?

Eve:  SNOW? What’s that? I think I like snow!!! Can I play in it?

Any social commentary of the day you want to share?

Mama: Its ok…                                                                                                                                Panda: What does mama think?                                                                                             Mama: The comic strip “Mutts” is an excellent source for common sense pet news. Its where I get all my information. Its particularly correct on its stance on puppy farms and shelters. We need more cutting edge legislation on how we treat animals, and people need to recognize that we’re important members of their families. Now, where is my Abby?
Panda: Everybody should love everybody. And everybody should take a nap.
Eve: Can we eat during social commentary? I choose the nearest electronic cord. HAUMPF.

How do you feel being labeled a “seminary pet?”

Mama: Abby is the best seminarian in the whole world so I’m okay with the label.
Panda: Is mama a seminary pet? Yes? Then so am I!!!
Eve: Seminary?! What’s that? Does Nathan go there? Can I play in it?

Well, thank ladies for your time! We really appreciate it. Stay tuned for more to come all you McCormick Bloggers!

Peace ~ Shelley D.

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