Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ashley Applying to Seminary FAQ

Hey Ashley, I hear you are applying to seminary?

It's true, I am!

Are you applying to a Quaker seminary?  Are there Quaker seminaries?

There are Quaker seminaries, but no, I am not applying to a Quaker seminary.

So where are you applying?

I am applying to Candler School of Theology, in Atlanta, GA, Drew Theological School, in Madison, NJ, and Claremont School of Theology, in Claremont, CA.

Why those schools?

Honestly, one of the biggest reasons I chose those three is financial considerations―they all offer excellent financial aid.  I still have a significant amount of debt from law school and I am going to need quite a bit of financial aid if I am going to go to seminary.  

Additionally, these three seminaries seem great.  They are different from each other, but each one has aspects to its program that convinced me it would be a good fit for me and an excellent place to continue my education.

But why go to seminary at all?  You know you don't need to go to seminary to be a minister in the Religious Society of Friends, right?

I know.  As I have mentioned before, I am currently in the process to be recorded as a minister by my meeting, Freedom Friends Church.  If way opens, I will be recorded before I begin seminary.

The primary reason that I am applying for seminary is that I feel like that is what God is calling me to do.  I have felt this call for the past few years and tested it with people I trust to listen and be honest with me.  Throughout this time of discernment, I have felt clearer to go ahead and now feels like the right time.

But if you don't need to go to seminary to be a minister, why go?

A few reasons.  For a while now, I have carried a concern for supporting ministers in the Religious Society of Friends.  I believe that seminary will give me some of the tools I need to support those ministers.  I also think that a Master of Divinity will help me develop skills for sustained public ministry.  I tend to give ministry everything I have, and I hope that seminary will help me acquire some better boundaries and self-care in doing ministry.  Finally, I am interested in learning systematic theology, to give me perspective on the biases I unconsciously bring to ministry.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I am not sure, and that is scary!  As of now, there is not a specific, paying job for what I am feeling called to do.  But my experience of leadings is that I only get one step at a time.  Right now, I feel that God is leading me to apply to seminary, so that is what I am doing.

When will you know whether you got in?

At this point, I am hoping to get all of my applications done by mid-January.  I should hear back within the next few months.

What about being a lawyer?

I am a member of the Washington Bar Association; if I go to seminary, I will go on inactive status.  After I graduate, I will have the option of going back to being an active member of the bar if I choose.

How do your friends and family feel about this decision?

Everyone has been really supportive!  My close friends and family have been watching me over the past several years as I have felt called to ministry, and me going to seminary has seemed like a natural next step for many of them.  I am grateful to have so many wonderful, supportive people in my life.

Is there anything I can do?

You can pray for me.  I can always use prayer and especially in this time of transition.  I would also appreciate any information about scholarships I might not know about.  And if you feel led to support me financially, that would be great.

Any other questions?


  1. Ashley, I read this and thought, "Of course! Why didn't I realize she would go to seminary?" Keep us posted, dear one.

  2. We whole heartedly support you and think that God is doing great things with you :)

  3. Ashley --

    Found your blog via your Mom on Facebook and am blessed to read about God's (new) call on your life. I'll be interested to see how the Lord leads -- and how you rejoice in following!

    Blessings on you!
    Jan VK

    1. Thanks, Jan! It's great to hear from you!


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