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 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.
Stay tuned for next time!
Peace~ Shelley D.