Marilyn B. Kendrix, '13 M.Div
God’s still small voice can be very hard to hear as one lives a full life, a life that includes a husband and children and a career. And so, it was with some surprise that I experienced a call to Christian ministry after my children were grown.
As an Organizational Development Consultant at AT&T, my job was to help everyone in my department be “more effective.” The great thing about it was that I got to decide how to do that. If they needed training, I could facilitate that. If they needed coaching, I could facilitate that. If they needed someone who would listen to their hopes and fears and struggles and joys non-judgmentally, I could do that. This became my first ministry but in this ministry, of course, I never mentioned church or God or Jesus – that was not the place. Now, looking back, I realize that God’s still small voice was always there, always calling but it wasn’t until I answered “yes” by applying to and attending YDS that I found the fertile ground in which I could nurture what has become my ministry.
It was during my middle year, while taking a remarkable course called “Jesus and Paul on Poverty” that this ministry became clear for me. Learning about mass incarceration in America and its link to an inescapable poverty motivated me to advocate for all YDS students to read Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow. My hope was that each student would understand this link and use this knowledge to inform how they would live into their own calls. That it was possible, as a student, to influence the faculty and administration to not only buy a copy of the book for each student but to also support my plan to engage in a school-wide discussion, complete with a visit from the author herself, is a testament to how I was encouraged to live into my call, not only after graduation, but while still learning and growing and preparing for ministry. I will be forever grateful for my time at YDS where learning happens in class and in chapel, in small discussions and in work in the community. It is indeed a place where faith and intellect meet and for me, it was a rare privilege, one that I will always cherish.
In September 2013 I will be ordained and will serve as Associate Pastor for Faith Formation at
The Church of the Redeemer in New Haven, Connecticut.