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October | 2011 | The 'CURE' for your Vocation

Archive for October, 2011

Good morning everyone!

Folks here at McCormick don’t just work here or study here, we also do other things! One of our professors, Deb Kapp, our Urban Ministry guru, has just started her own blog on, what else?! Urban Ministry! It’s called Footloose:Thoughts on Urban Ministry. So, I sat down with Deb about her blog and what she’s up to with it. Here’s what she had to say:

Tell us your name, title and what you teach here.

Deborah Kapp, Edward F. and Phyllis K. Campbell Associate Professor of Urban Ministry. I teach Urban Ministry and congregational leadership (mostly – but not exclusively – I teach the latter in the DMin program).

What made you want to start a blog?

I wanted to get some ideas into the urban conversation, and involve urban practitioners in thinking about some key dynamics of ministry in urban settings. I thought of trying to write a book about the ideas I’m interested in exploring, but then I thought that blogging might actually be a better way to share ideas, hear responses, and get some interchange going.

What do you think is the importance of doing a blog like this?

Well, that’s a good question. I’m not sure I know. I think that is part of what I will discover.

What exactly is the definition of “urban ministry?”

Ministry that takes place in an urban setting. Urban settings have large populations, dense concentrations of people, lots of heterogeneity, and lots of mobility. People and organizations function somewhat differently, I think, in the midst of the density and mobility, which is part of what I’m trying to explore in this blog.

How exactly does one ‘do’ urban ministry?

That’s another good question and there is not a single answer, or even a few good ones. There are, literally, dozens of ways to do urban ministry well. Depending on one’s ecclesiology, population, context, resources (or lack thereof), and imagination, one good urban ministry can look quite different from another.

What are some of the ways that students in the city can become involved in urban ministry here in Chicago?

One could (1) attend church regularly and get involved in a faith community and its ministry, (2) volunteer at various service agencies throughout the city, (3) get involved in some community or other organizing in the city.

How did you get into ministry yourself?

My pull to ministry was both intellectual and personal. I was always interested in religion and majored in religious studies in college—what could one do with that sort of degree except go to school again? Probably more formative was my experience with the church as a young person; the institutional church was a source of steadiness and strength to me at a couple different points in my life.

What do you get out of your own ministry?

Deep satisfaction, wonderful friendships, the privilege of sharing life with others, and a persistent intellectual challenge. It’s never boring.

Well, there you have it good people. Just one more way that our faculty and staff are reaching out to the broader community and encouraging the students to do the same!

Until next time!


Shelley D.

Greeting McCormick community! If you’re a middler or a senior here, then you know all too well, going to Min 404/405. It’s the class you take in conjunction to your field educational studies here at McCormick. I took the class last year, along with my work at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Evanston, IL. Now, this class gets a bad rap some days. Take it from someone who finished it last school year. Here’s what really happens…

Second year (or whenever you take the class), you’re not only taking classes and possibly working a part-time job (or maybe even full-time), and then you might even have a family to take care of as well; now let’s tack on 12-15 hours per week at whatever church or organization that you’re working with for your experiential education. It’s rough. There’s a lot to do. But that’s not what gets people. What gets them is simply going to class (well, atleast for many). You’re out there doing this hands-on learning, and let’s be honest, sometimes, seminary feels like it is a regurgitation of your feelings. I, for one, am not a fan of this. But my past life as a facilitator for groups in the outdoors and with experimental education tells me that we all need this “regurgitation” time. It’s a time for processing everything. There’s a lot going on in your life at the moment. And you need to talk about it, you need to think about it and compare battle wounds with other students. It’s pretty important.

While you’re out there saving the world at your field site, it feels stagnant to sit in a classroom. You know you have a paper to write for Reformed Traditions for Ken Sawyer and Anna Case-Winters. You have a Greek test just around the corner, and you have a sermon to write for your preaching class with Brad. But here’s the truth, even though you might not enjoy it while you’re there, you’ll appreciate it once you’re really out there.

So, I sat down for a chat with Joanne and Nannette. They are the ones who make all this happen. Well, them and a few others. The class consists of small groups; Joann serves as one of the leaders, and then there are 4 more:

Rev. Dr. Ozzie Smith with Covenant UCC in Indiana

Rev. Dr. Linda Wygant with Graceseeds Ministry

Rev. Patrick Daymond with Sixth-Grace Presbyterian Church in Chicago

Rev. David Watkins Greater Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church

So ladies, tell us your names and job titles.

(Reverend Dr.) Joanne Lindstrom, the Jean & Frank Mohr Director of Experiential Education & Field Studies and Associate Professor of Ministry

Reverend Nannette E. Banks

Why do you do what you do? (your jobs, that is)

Joanne: I have often said that “I have the best job in the joint!” I get to see/share/experience student transformation and growth in extraordinary ways…..from the first sermon jitters to a sense of confidence in preaching; from the fear of the first hospital visit to seeing oneself called to hospital chaplaincy or hospice care. I get to see how a student’s call is deepened through testing and experience. It is an absolute joy to watch students “come into their own”. And sometimes the transformation is so great that I can see a physical change – in the way the student walks and talks. What better “job” than to see God working in people’s lives!

Nanette: I am excited to journey with students who are actively discerning their current and future impact on the church and broader community. I am always stoked when students integrate their creative expressions (poetry, painting, dancing) and theology which reflects and embodied ministry.

All students studying for a Master’s of Divinity have to do field studies. In your opinions, what is the importance of doing field site work?

Joanne: Field Studies allows students the opportunity to test out classroom learning and theory in a living, breathing ministry context with real people. It also allows students the opportunity to observe Christian leaders, pastors, institutional directors and to learn from the best! It provides mentors and colleagues who often remain connected to students for years to come – a “wisdom circle” to use the language of Dr. Braxton.

Nanette: It was in the midst of my field studies experience at Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministry when I realized that I am called to “The Church” not a particular church context. As I explained to the supervisors during this years’ training students’ minds will be blown and God’s providence expanded to encompass all.

We all know that MIN 404/405 does not have the reputation for being the most enticing class. From what I hear there are many nicknames for it. What should people really know about it? Why do you do it? (teach it and offer it is, that is)

Joanne: What do you mean MIN 404/405 doesn’t have a reputation for being the most enticing class?????? And I have heard no nicknames for it – so what do you call it – inquiring minds want to know – smile. My experience is that folks do not appreciate MIN 404/405 until they are in ministry for a couple of years. Then folks come back and tell me “Oh, I get it now. I wish that had paid better attention. I wish that I had taken advantage of the experience.” I think the “doing” of ministry is ever so much more exciting to students than engaging in the “being” – the journey into self-awareness. As Paul Tillich says,” The pain of looking into one’s own depth is too intense for most people. They would rather return to the shaken and devastated surface of their former lives and thoughts.” However, once you are fully immersed in ministry you find out that you must delve into your own depths in order to touch the lives of those you have been called to serve.

Tell us something about yourselves.

Joanne: I have a purple bike that I love to ride along the lake shore. I’m a gym rat – work out at least three times a week and usually more. I fondly call my weight trainer either ‘the trainer from hell’ or “Arron the Terrible” and my pilates trainer I call “his (Arron’s) Evil Twin”. I have god children in Hawaii and Ghana and try to get to each place at least once a year. Fortunately my newest love, 7 month old Jaden, called Bliz because he was born during the blizzard, just lives a few blocks away.

Nanette: I am a 2009 graduate of McCormick having won the Martin D. Kneeland Sermon Delivery Award. I hold a Masters of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and I love to write. I am an ordained Elder in the non-denominational church, now pursuing ordination in the United Church of Christ and currently worshiping at Covenant United Church of Christ with Pastor Ozzie Smith.

So, what else do you two lovely ladies do outside of McCormick?

Joanne: I am the Associate Minister at the First Baptist Church where I do general ministry stuff, am overseeing the ordination process (which includes major theological papers) of two sisters in ministry (they were not happy to find out that one of my MIN 404/405 nicknames was “The Hammer”) and serve as spiritual advisor to the young adults. I serve as a speech coach for a couple folks and have 2 Dmin in preaching advisees. Geez, this is a lot of ministry stuff – I need to get a life. Oh, yeah, taking dance lessons from one of the ladies in my church – no, not liturgical dance.

Nanette: Besides sample new restaurant cuisines, write/teach poetry, and preach I serve as a Coordinator/Planning Team for the Chautauqua Institute New Clergy Program.

What is one piece of advice, concerning field sites and MIN 404/405, that you would give to first year students or to students who are thinking about coming to McCormick?

Joanne: Chicago is an incredible place to do ministry – all sorts of ministry sites and opportunities. Don’t wait until the last minute to check things out. Come talk to Nannette or me with your ideas, concerns, questions. We love finding just the right place for you!

Nanette: Be open, be prepared, be transformed and be a transformer!

Thanks for the interview ladies!

Below, you’ll find a list of all the current field sites.

Advocate Trinity Hospital

A Just Harvest

Bay View United Methodist Church (Milwaukee)

Calvary United Protestant Church

Clarendon Hills Community Presbyterian Church

Christ Community Church

First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette

First United Church Oak Park

God Can Ministries

Greater Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church

Interfaith Worker Justice

Kirk of the Lakes Presbyterian Church

Korean United Methodist Church

Lakeview Presbyterian Church

Liberation Christian Center

Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church

Living Springs Community Church

Northminster Presbyterian Church

Prayer and Faith Outreach Ministries

Protestants for the Common Good

Pullman Presbyterian Church

Ravenswood Presbyterian Church

St. James Cathedral

St. Sabina

The Night Ministry

Victory Apostolic Church

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care

Wicker Park Grace

Until next time! Peace!

Shelley D.

Greetings again my fellow furry, and non-furry friends alike! Today I’m excited to introduce you to my upstairs neighbor, Maddie. She stopped on our porch for a chat through the back door and I caught up with her and how she’s doing.

Tell us your name and what breed are you?

My name is Madeline. You can call me Maddie (it’s shorter). I am mostly yellow lab with a little something else thrown in. Mom likes to say that I am part lab and part crazy. :-) Don’t let that fool you.  I just really love life and get excited about things easily!

Who are your humans?

I only have one human right now, Kellie Griffin. I would be happy to adopt more!

How did you come to get your humans?

Kellie adopted me from the Cedar Valley Humane Society in Cedar Rapids, IA in August 2010.  The family I was living with before just dumped me and wandered around for a long time.  I didn’t have to stay at the humane society for very long though since mom came to get me. :-)

How do you like the living arrangements?

I love the living arrangements. Our apartment is nice and roomy.  There is plenty of space for me to play with my toys.

What’s your favorite place in the apartment?

That’s a tough one. I have a few places that I really love. The first one is on mom’s bed.  I could easily take up the whole thing, but mom won’t let me. I also really like sleeping on mom’s old comforter when it is on top of my dog bed. I spread it out across the living, and it’s great! I can see just about everything without ever having to get up.  Those new chairs are pretty good too.

What are your favorite treats?

Anything with cheese is fantastic! I also like Milkbones, Greenies, Pupcorn, and peanut butter.

How many toys do you have in the apartment and which ones are your favorite?

I have a bunch of toys (somewhere around here), but I can be pretty picky about my toys.  Only really play with about 4 of them.  My all-time favorite toy is a stuffed yellow ducky with a squeaker in his belly.  Squeaker toys are the very best!!! I can be kind of rough on the ducky though.  He’s got holes in his beak, belly, and feet.  I like taking out all his stuffing, but mom always puts it back in.   I think it’s about time for a new ducky! I also really like my Kong filled with peanut butter, my loofa dog (also missing his stuffing and full of holes), and my rope toy.

Favorite way to pass the time?

My favorite activities kind of depend on the time of year.  They all revolve around being outside though.  In the summer, I absolutely adore going swimming in Grandma & Grandpa’s pool.  Grandpa even built me a special ramp with floaties so I can get in and out more easily.  I could swim all day if they would let me! I always love going on walks, especially when there are squirrels out. I just love chasing squirrels.  In the winter, I like to play in the snow.  Last year when the blizzard came through Iowa, I had lots of fun pulling mom through the waist high snow banks.  I had a blast!!!

Any words of wisdom you want to share with everyone?

I am an incredibly friendly dog when it comes to being around humans.  However, I get pretty scared when I am around other dogs (of any size). I do best when I can just be people and not other pets.  I had kind of a rough life before I came to live with Kellie, and I am still trying to move past that.  Otherwise, I think I am a great pooch. I would love to meet all of you!!!

Well, there you have it. Another McCormick Pet, settling into her new home here in Chicago! Until next time!

Peace and PAWS!


Welcome to my little corner of McCormick Seminary  — which is NOT actually a corner, but an office in the middle of the second floor of the seminary building – a veritable Grand Central Station of activity.   It’s never a boring place, rarely a quiet place, and it’s filled with the comings and goings of staff members and administrators, students, faculty, prospective students and all manner of guests and visitors – all engaged in some form of active ministry, learning and faith formation for leadership in the church of today and tomorrow.    Which is what I hope this blog will be about – leadership, spiritual formation, and what it means to take this uncertain,  yet incredibly awesome journey into ministry.

And that makes me think of Moses and his progressive formation as a leader of the Israelites (a logical segue).   Having crossed the Red Sea to escape from Pharoah and his armies, Moses and the whole congregation “journey[ed] by stages , as the Lord commanded (Ex. 17: 1b),” moving through the perils and challenges of their trek through the wilderness.

At first glance, Moses doesn’t appear to have qualities that would make one think he’s a natural leaders – he’s not a genius; he’s not an eloquent speaker – after all, he stutters; he’s on the lam after having killed an Egyptian who was beating “a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk (Ex. 2: 11).”  And when God calls out to him from the burning bush, he is filled with doubts about his ability to do what God asks of him.

Yet Moses does have an alertness to the presence of God; he turns aside to look, listen and discern what God commands, and he demonstrates a willingness (after much protestation and many excuses) to take on the responsibility that God lays upon his shoulders. He agrees to put himself at risk to do what God says  needs to be done, and to serve God when he might have preferred to do anything other than……  Moses drags his heels, but ultimately he understands  that the best and most faithful ways to lead others is by serving – by always listening for God’s leading, and not his own desires.

As you consider seminary, or journey through seminary, or continue to practice whatever ministry you believe God has called you to follow, ask yourself what you’re willing to risk.   What things need doing that are the things of God?   Are you willing to be God’s humble servant, even more than you are determined to be God’s chosen leader?

Ken Crews: Frist Year Student, New Deacon and Lover of Dunkin’ Dounuts

Good morning McReaders! We’re introducing you to the first of the three new Deacons at McCormick. This past weekend, we shared some time together getting to know one another and also eating some delicious food at the Chicago Diner. If you’ve never been, you should go. Right. Now. Our first Deacon is a family man, and he also has a love for Dunkin’ Dounuts…

Your name, degree and where you’re from?

Most people call me Ken (Crews), but I’ve definitely been called worse in my life! I am from Valparaiso, IN and I’m pursuing a M.Div.

In his spare time, Ken also practices his pink flamingo poses and then goes and stands in people's yards.

Who makes up your family?

My family consists of my wonderful wife Heather, my two crazy children Owen (8 – going on 80, he seriously is like a grumpy old man some days!) and Evelyn (4 – going on 40), Sasha Marie the lazy black lab, and Ruby Sue the tabby cat. We recently lost Bob the toad to old age (at least that’s what we’re calling it!).

Why did you come to McCormick?

I came to McCormick because I honestly felt called by God to be at this place at this time. I believe God called me to McCormick to be experience the diversity that McCormick, and the city of Chicago, has to offer.

Why did you want to become a Deacon?

I wanted to become a Deacon as a way to be intentionally involved with the McCormick community, and to support my fellow seminarians in this special ministry.

What do you hope to be able to do as a Deacon?

As a Deacon I hope to survive the next three years of McCormick, and maybe make someone smile along the way…

What’s been the best part of being in seminary so far?

The best part of being in seminary so far has been creating opportunities to make lasting relationships with some amazing people.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far has been making the transition from full-time employee to full-time student, but it has been a very rewarding experience.

If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If I could eat one meal… hmmm…. so many tasty options… does coffee and a Boston creme from Dunkin’ Donuts with chocolate ice cream for dessert count as a meal?! I’m guessing it would be a short life!!!

What music is on your playlist right now?

Playlist, playlist??? You youngsters with your new-fangled techimonology! I honestly haven’t even listened to my ipod in months. However, I enjoy a wide variety of music from contemporary bluegrass to rock to classical to hip hop (both Christian artists and secular).

Stay tuned for Friday’s blog! It’s sure to be a good one!

Peace~ Shelley D.

Greetings Readers!

I know, it’s a Monday. And you’re asking, “Why is the CURE posting on a Monday?’ Well, I have an answer for you Tomorrow, we’re hosting our very first virtual seminary tour of McCormick. Well, actually, all of the 10 major PCUSA seminaries are doing it as well.

Here’s the thing. As technology enhances, we have to enhance with it. I remember getting our first computer at my house as a kid and it was that big hunk of machine with the blinking green light. Then we evolved; we got better computers and games like Oregon Trail. Let’s be honest, if you went to school in the early 90′s, you died of typhoid or scarlet fever, atleast once. And as difficult as it seems, we’ve progressed yet again. We find ourselves with smart phones where we can check our e-mail, watch TV, and find an online date, all from our pocket-sized phones. Could you have imagined doing that on your old Zach Morris phone? Nope. You couldn’t. But now, you can. So, here are some basics about this virtual tour.

If you, or anyone you know is thinking about seminary, this is a great way to check it out and even chat with folks like me: all from the comfort of your own home office, studio, car, wherever you have something that resembles a computer! Maybe it will even work on your smart phone!

Also, at McCormick, we like to save trees. They are our friends. (No, I’m not some tree-hugger but I do realize the simple fact that without trees you and I would be unable to breathe.) So, we designed this super-sleek invitation, all online. So first, before reading any further, check it out, here. Once you’ve finished reading, come back!

Next, you register. That would be here. And don’t forget to come back yet again!

Ok, here’s the cool part. Once you’ve read the invitation and registered, on October 4th (tomorrow!), you’ll enter into the portal. Once there, it will look like you’re going down a hall with booths. Similar to a college fair, but with a twist (that is, you can wear your pajamas if you want!). You’ll see banners for each school and you simply click on the banner of the school you want information on. In each “booth,” you’ll be able to text chat with people like me, other students, as well as our awesome Recruitment and Admissions Director, Rev. JC Cadwallader and our Associate of Admissions and Recruitment, Jamie Wasowski.

Each seminary will also be hosting an hour where they will do a live video chat. McCormick’s live video chat will be from 12pm-1pm EST (11am-12pm Central). So not only can you chat online with us, we’ll even let you see our bright and shining faces. Mine might not be so bright and shining depending on whether or not I’ve had my coffee…

“Well, what else is there?” you ask. There will also be online brochures as well as other information and social media sites so you can learn more about each school you’re interested in.

What are you waiting for?! Click the links, get registered and ask us some questions! We like the tough ones.

That’s all for now! Until we meet again on Wednesday!

Peace~ Shelley D.

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