Ashley Hurst ‘12 M.Div.

B.A. University  of Florida 1993
J.D. University of Florida 1996

Three years ago, I walked away from a twelve-year legal career, law firm partnership, and an abundant life to respond to a simple invitation:  Follow Me.  If you have ever wondered how Andrew and Simon felt, ask me.  I believe I have some insight into their experience.  Accepting this invitation, I eventually made my way to YDS.  When I arrived, I discovered that my classmates, too, were following a call.  For some, the call was clear and directed; but for others, like me, our calls were unfocused and needed time to develop.

Ashley Hurst '12 M.Div.YDS became the laboratory for our calls.  The place where we could mix and mingle new ideas, theologies, and perspectives together and see what happened.  YDS was both a place of distillation—getting to the essence of faith, hope and love—and a place of expansion, creating a space to encounter different faith traditions, practices and experiences.  

In YDS’s laboratory of faith and intellect, various ingredients were combined in the classroom, in the refectory, in the Quad, in Marquand Chapel, at the communion table, and in the wider communities of Yale and New Haven.  For me, the product of this three-year experiment was unexpected, unimagined and Absurdly Divine.  Following a providential email at the start of my second year, I found myself exploring and teaching bioethics to undergraduates at Yale and UCONN.  Using theological, philosophical, legal and medical lenses, my students, my colleagues, my professors and I investigated what makes us human and what are the obligations we have to one another as fellow humans.  Believing that we are created in the image of God and we are commanded to love one another as ourselves gave me the foundation for investigating these questions as both a teacher and a student.  YDS provided me the resources and the lab time to test and apply these foundational beliefs to various bioethical questions confronting our society.

Incubated at YDS, my passion for bioethics has led me to pursue a Ph.D. in bioethics at the University of Virginia, where I will also teach undergraduate bioethics classes starting in spring 2013.   When I dropped my nets three years ago, I never imagined this is where the call would lead me.   “Follow Me” is the most profound and demanding invitation one can receive.  I am forever grateful to have received it and for my time at YDS to watch it develop.

June 28, 2012
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