Greg Griffin ’11 M.Div.
B.A. Williams College 1971
J.D. Harvard Law School 1978
United Church of Christ
I could say that enrolling in YDS at the age of 59 was part of a long-term plan, or represented a long-deferred dream of learning more about God and religion. But that would not be true. The truth is that I had no choice. About 10 years ago, my compass began to swing toward serving God. Four years ago, I felt a strong call from God to ministry. This was accompanied by what I described in my YDS application as “a burning need to see and grab and know and experience everything I can about God and Jesus and spirituality; and to learn how I might ignite a passion for a Christian life of love and service in a local church; and to do all that at a divinity school brimming with people who are burning to do the same thing, as well as ever they might.”
Now, a few days after graduation, I can say that YDS satisfied that burning need. I learned a lot about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit too in Old and New Testament classes and in systematic theology. I learned about how Christianity took root and developed from its beginnings, through the Reformation, and in the United States. I learned how God worked in the lives of well-known and little-known people, leading them to live ethically as Christians in the church and in the world. I learned something about Islam and about Christian and non-Christian meditation and prayer. I learned in class and by frequenting Marquand Chapel how to fashion and lead lively, theologically sound worship services, and how to preach God’s word with passion and impact.
YDS augmented this valuable classroom learning with invaluable practical experience. Guided by a talented minister in a Danbury church, I entered the life of a congregation as a ministry intern. I helped plan and lead worship, preached, initiated small groups for Bible study and Christian accountability, and learned from successes and mistakes. Through a superb clinical pastoral education program at Bridgeport Hospital, I learned how to be a pastoral caregiver in trauma rooms and in the burn unit—places where patients suffer and sometimes die, and where families and the medical staff draw close to the thin membrane that separates life on earth from life beyond this life.
Most importantly, I made many friends. I found at YDS a school brimming with fantastic, hard-working, wonderfully diverse, inspired and inspiring, bright and engaging fellow students. Many of them are acutely focused on living out the Gospel in the work that awaits them after YDS. I would trust many of them as spiritual guides and allies. I have learned much from them, and humility has been my foremost lesson.
Now, my learning will continue in another setting. Accompanied by my supportive and loving wife, Posey, I embark upon the search-and-call process in my denomination. In this process, I will search for the congregation that is searching for me. When we find each other, we will make a covenant under God to do our best together to follow Jesus Christ. God has called me to this work. I am grateful and proud to say that YDS has prepared me for it well.