Sarah Warren ’10 M.Div.
B.A. William Jewell College 2007
My time at Yale Divinity School has been one of growth and transformation. From the beginning, YDS and the greater New Haven area challenged me in so many ways. I moved to New Haven after living all my life in a small suburb outside Wichita, KS. Navigating the narrow and disorganized streets of New Haven or the high-speed traffic of I-95 continually reinforced that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Welcoming and encouraging from the start, the Divinity School community helped me to explore and at times reevaluate my faith and intellectual convictions. Despite the rocky transition, over the past three years the Divinity School and New Haven community have become an incredible home that I will be sad to leave.
My academic experiences helped me to think more deeply about my faith. The introductory lectures in Bible, ethics and systematic theology provided a strong foundation for further learning. I also relished opportunities for more in-depth study in seminars on agape ethics and Paul Tillich’s systematic theology. Yet it was the discussions outside classroom in the Refectory or up late studying for an exam where these more esoteric academic discussions took on practical meaning for living out my faith. At YDS, nothing is taken for granted. While this has often been a source of great frustration, it has also helped me understand and articulate my own faith, while giving me the resources to understand and share in the perspectives of others.
While my academic pursuits were personally challenging, my two internship experiences helped form me for my future career in education. The summer following my first semester, I completed a 12-week summer intensive unit of clinical pastoral education at Yale New Haven Hospital. As I daily encountered new beginnings and tragic endings, theology became very real. Humbly, I learned to rely on God and God’s presence as I attempted to comfort and care for a multiplicity of needs. During my final year of Divinity School, I undertook an internship at the Taft School just outside Waterbury, CT. Working with the chaplain and religious studies teacher, I had the opportunity to hone my teaching skills as I helped with the “Buddhism in the West” and “History of God” courses. These experiences taught me that as a teacher I will never stop learning.
As I now begin packing my bags to move to Massachusetts to begin a position teaching religious studies at a boarding school for high school students, I know that my time at the Divinity School has equipped me as a person of faith and academia. While I still have much to learn, YDS has given me the resources to continue growing and changing. Moreover, I go away knowing that the community I have developed here will continue to support and challenge me as I grow in my faith and ministry.