Peter Harrits 11 S.T.M.
09 M.Div. Yale Divinity School
B.A. Hamline University 2001
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

HarritsI returned to Yale Divinity School this past September having spent the 2009-10 academic year serving as an intern pastor at a Lutheran Congregation outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Now, like a boomerang of sorts, I find myself being flung back to Southeast Asia to serve with the Global Mission unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as the country coordinator for their Young Adults in Global Mission program in Malaysian Borneo.

The intervening nine months of coursework, research, and writing that have marked my time as an S.T.M. student have left me better equipped to affirmatively answer that specialized call to global service. With the solid foundation of my M.Div. beneath me and the lived-experiences acquired through the ELCA’s Horizon Internship program surrounding me, this year of study has allowed me to integrate that which I have seen and heard in the field with scholarship in World Christianity and the intersecting areas of globalization, migration, and mission as they affect the church in Southeast Asia.

Of particular significance this time around have been a handful of social science classes taken through the graduate and other professional schools, the Faith and Globalization course offered in conjunction with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and the Divinity School’s travel seminar to China. For those opportunities, as well as for the ongoing support and encouragement of my advisors, faculty, classmates, and YDS’s administration, staff, and alumni, I am indeed grateful.

Recently ordained by the ELCA, in Malaysia I will be accompanying young adults from the United States as they engage in a year of service with local Christians in the areas of education, social justice, and compassion. Guiding them as they learn to navigate and thrive in a complex, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, the questions that I’ve learned to ask during my time here will serve me well as we seek to knit the worldwide Body of Christ closer together through shared knowledge and the construction of powerful, transformative relationships across cultures and continents.

Although I’ll be stationed on the exact opposite side of the planet for the next couple of years, I look forward to continuing to be part of the greater Yale Divinity community. It has been, and I trust that it will continue to be, a central component of my formation as a leader in church in world. Should you happen to find yourself in the neighborhood of Sabah, please do drop in and consider yourself warmly welcome.

Posted: 07/05/2011