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A Letter to DISCERN Participants

I graduated from my M.Div program in May 2020, at the beginning stages of the COVID pandemic. Like many of my peers, I spent 3 years studying and doing my best to prepare myself for the pastoral calling that I felt over my life. But once the pandemic took over, I started questioning my calling again. How could I not? With thousands of people becoming unemployed and sick, and churches closing their doors, the very vocational industry that held my vision of a pastoral calling had closed its doors. I felt lost, graduating into a world that held no value for me and my desired vocation.

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By: Howard Kim September 17, 2021


Have You Listened to FTE’s Podcast on Meaning, Purpose and Vocation?

FTE’s podcast on meaning, purpose and vocation is back starting September 10. Subscribe today on the platform you enjoying listening to. New to our podcast? We have 10 episodes ready for you to binge! https://fteonline.org/sotg

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By: Patrick B. Reyes September 08, 2021


Get To Know Montague Williams

Meet Montague Williams, associate professor of church, culture, and society at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. He is also the author of Church in Color Youth Ministry, Race, and the Theology of Martin Luther King Jr. In his Q&A, Montague shares what inspired him to write this book, why churches need a re-reading of Dr. King’s work, how he views mentorship, and his hope for the next generation of faithful leaders.

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By: Angela Giles January 28, 2021


This is America

In 21st century America, we continue to operate under the disillusionment of the American myth—that we are the “United” States of America. Contrary to popular belief, since its founding by design, America has been a divided, not a united country.

Yesterday was a stark reminder of this fact.

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By: Stephen Lewis January 07, 2021


Wrestling with the Deep Questions of My Life

I don’t know about you, but when I have had times of wrestling with deep questions, I don’t sleep much. I end up watching the moon turn into the dawn breaking. During this time of dealing with the restrictions, limitations and isolation that Covid has brought into my life, compounded by the realities that black lives do not hold equal value as white people’s lives in our country, I have been wrestling with a lot of thoughts and questions over the past six to eight months.

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By: Andrea Sawyer-Kirskey December 08, 2020


The Ugly Truth About Church

Let’s be honest. The church is often not a hospitable space. Faith communities have centered the privileged and pushed others to the margins. Religious groups have tried to snuff out those with a burning zeal for justice in order to maintain the status quo. Ministries have dismissed many who doubt and ask curious questions.

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By: Rich Havard October 20, 2020


Stories From the Field: Oregon Fellowship

The Oregon Fellowship is a collaboration between Together Lab and the Oregon Synod. Watch, listen or read the conversation between pastors Ron Werner, Jr. (Together Lab) and Melissa Reed (Oregon Synod) as they share their four markers to create hospitable space within the Oregon Fellowship.

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By: Christina Repoley September 24, 2020


25 Questions from a South Minneapolis Pastor During the George Floyd Uprising

The police murdered George Floyd in the same neighborhood as my church, New City Church. Many pastors have reached out to me asking how they can help, and lately my most common response has been: start having conversations with your own people, because if this hasn’t happened in your neighborhood already, it certainly can.

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By: Tyler Sit June 05, 2020


Dark Moments Call for Faithful Leaders

The events over the past several days following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are the result of anger, grief, and trauma from the injustices and violence Black people have endured for hundreds of years.

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By: Stephen Lewis June 02, 2020


I See You

To those with chronic illnesses and disabilities—I see you. In the midst of this pandemic, I see you. With messages around us of whose lives are worth saving, of how maintaining productivity is critical, of how social distancing is the “worst” and must end soon…

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By: Zoie Sheets May 04, 2020


Go offline on April 22, 2020

On April 22, 2020, Earth Day turns 50. During that first celebration in 1970, more than 20 million people, including many religious leaders and young adults, went outside to demand a better world. In that same year, the National Environment Protection Act went into effect establishing the Environmental Protection Agency.

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By: Patrick B. Reyes April 21, 2020


Thoughts In A Pandemic

how do we do social distancing in community

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By: Emilie Townes April 17, 2020


Walking Into the Future this Easter Season

Vocation rarely unfolds in the abstract. It is granular, day-by-day, often emerging out of life’s bone-crushing losses and the grace-filled ability to create ourselves anew. I thought about this when I read novelist Arundhati Roy’s haunting account of the massive trauma unfolding among migrant workers in her native India amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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By: Dori Baker April 10, 2020


God has Left the Building

Recently a friend asked, “How’s the ‘God business’?” I wittily replied with a play on an Elvis catchphrase, “God has left the building.”

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By: Anton Flores-Maisonet March 30, 2020


Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon - In Her Own Words

The loss of a life well lived can give rise to good grief. Over the past week, while pained and saddened by the passing of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, the FTE community has paused to reflect with deep gratitude on the tremendous legacy she leaves. In both seemingly small gestures and grand strides Dr. Cannon’s teaching, mentoring, and ministry helped us remember how to be human, how to be the family of God. Sometimes good grief sends us into the picture albums, shoeboxes, and scrapbooks that enable us to tell ourselves the story of the love that will endure beyond the grave.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams August 17, 2018


Callings

This past year has been a roller coaster of questions, reflection, doubts, and fears. After spending my whole life thinking I knew what I wanted to be in this world, I decided I had been wrong. I was not called to a life of practicing medicine. When I made that decision, I voiced it aloud to various groups I belong to, including my campus ministry, which voiced affirmations and support, making me feel secure in my decision.

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By: Zoie Sheets July 27, 2018


FTE Remembers Rev. Dr. James H. Cone

Today we grieve the loss of Rev. Dr. James H. Cone, a Bill & Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. He was a friend and mentor to many in the FTE community and will be missed dearly. On behalf of FTE, I offer our heartfelt condolences to Dr. Cone’s family, friends, and colleagues.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams May 07, 2018


Oh the places we will go…to write

Literary great Virginia Woolf once described her desire for a room of her own, a place to write and think in peace. I agree with her wholeheartedly. Having the time and space to write are so important. However, writing time seems to be the first to be eliminated from any busy academic’s schedule. More often than not, we must be intentional about protecting both. We have to make time to write and have a physical space for writing. Carving out time and better yet, reclaiming our writing time is crucial.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra March 23, 2018


Five Influential People You Meet in Grad School

It has been said that we are a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. I grew up with a dicho or saying in Spanish that goes: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.” Translation: “Tell me who you walk with and I will tell you who you are.” Who we surround ourselves with speaks volumes about our character. I find this to be especially true in academia because academia often fosters competition over collaboration. For this reason, discernment and learning to identify who has your best interest at heart is important.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra January 26, 2018


A Risk I Am Willing To Take

A short time ago if you had told me that I would be moving states for a church, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I had been deeply wounded by a church in the past and finally found a safe place. Yet as unexpected as it was, that is exactly what my husband Will and I did! It all started like this:

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By: Ashley Easter January 18, 2018

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