Peter Harrits ’09 M.Div.
B.A. Hamline University 2001
I transferred to Yale Divinity School from a Lutheran Seminary in the Midwest with the hopes of completing my theological studies in a richly ecumenical setting and to complement them with the classes and resources available in a larger university. Specifically, I wanted to build on my experience working with the Global Church in East Africa by pairing my ministerial preparation with African Studies. During the intervening three-years, I have been able to do just that and am now graduating with a Master of Divinity degree and Graduate Certificate of Concentration in African Studies.
Thanks to YDS Professors and instructors like Lamin Sanneh, Jaime Lara, Jonathon Bonk, and Jan Holton, I’ve been able to examine and explore topics such as Muslim-Christian Dialogue, African Religions, The Art and Architecture of Conversion and Evangelism, and Pastoral Care among the Lost and Displaced. Thanks to the University’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, I’ve been able to broaden my knowledge with classes in Anthropology, Sociology, and International Relations – not to mention becoming conversant in Swahili. Finally, thanks to grants and fellowships available through the University, I’ve been able to spend the past two summers in East Africa, participating in a language course in Mombasa, Kenya and, most recently, studying/practicing Clinical Pastoral Care in a remote Lutheran Hospital near Iringa, Tanzania.
As I prepare for the next leg of my journey, I do so incredibly grateful for the community of students, faculty, and staff at the Divinity School who cultivated a supportive environment where I could fully wrestle with the question “Where in the world might God be leading me?” After the tassel-flip and handshakes at graduation, I’ll be setting my sights on a new horizon. In September I’m off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I will serve as a pastoral intern in a local Lutheran congregation.
In Kuala Lumpur I’ll be practicing ministry in an incredibly diverse setting in which Christians compose about 9 percent of the population. While the context is vastly different from any place I’ve been before, I trust that my time at Yale Divinity School has more than prepared me to respectfully and faithfully enter into and engage with this new community of faith. Where the road goes from there, Mungu tu anajua (only God knows)...and therein lies the adventure.