We're excited to introduce to you some of our new students joining us for the spring semester of the 2012-13 school year. Today's featured student is Christie Walkuski, who is an MDiv Cooper Scholar from Cornwall, NY.
Hello friends! I am super excited about starting my studies at ESR, and (even with the small thought that pops in: “what on earth am I doing?!”) trusting that this next adventure is the result of divine inspiration and leading. As the time is nearing for me to pack up and head for Richmond, I am a mix of wonder and gratitude and nervousness.
I have previously studied environmental science and policy, peace and social justice issues and movements, botany, Buddhism, poetry, and maybe most importantly, the workings of my own mind and heart. I have worked mostly within the environmental and non-profit arena, recently for Hudson Link, an organization that facilitates college education programs within New York State prisons.
I want to study all of ESR’s competency areas, but a chaplaincy track through the pastoral care emphasis is the one I have decided on at the moment. I’m also very interested in the idea of writing as ministry, in conflict resolution and reconciliation processes, and interfaith understanding and activities. I’m excited to approach learning in an environment that emphasizes my own spiritual development, and where I can challenge my own thinking about things like identity, the church, God, and what it means to live a spiritual life.
Currently I have been inspired by the indigenous movement called Idle No More (www.idlenomore.com), emerging recently after the Canadian government passed legislation which cut treaty rights and land and water protections. The images, words and prayerful action coming out of this movement have caused me to reflect about the reality and legacies of colonization, genocide and institutionalized racism, and also, more importantly, about how to resist these forces, and about the need for different ways of knowing and being and thinking. Am I personally willing to walk in this largely unfamiliar territory? Can I commit to an awakened life? Am I courageous enough to be idle no more? These questions and thoughts have converged with my discernment about entering seminary.
The answer is YES. I trust that I will continue to find out what such a life looks like and how I can best be of good use and purpose as I navigate through it with all of you at ESR in this next part of my journey.