Student Spotlight

Brian

Master of Arts in Religion graduate, May 2010

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I’ve lived in Champaign - Urbana for 9 years. I am a member of First Mennonite Church of Champaign - Urbana, where I serve on the Worship Committee. I’m recently married, and I work for Faith in Place. Our mission is to help people of faith understand that issues of ecology and economy—of care for Creation—are at the forefront of social justice. At Faith in Place we believe in housing the homeless, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. But even if we do all those things, and love our brothers and sisters with our whole heart, it will not matter if we neglect the ecological conditions of our beautiful and fragile planet. My studies at the University of Illinois in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences inspired me to think more deeply about how faith informs the environmental movement. This led to me studying at Urbana Theological Seminary.

I believe in community. Urbana Theological Seminary allowed me to continue building relationships here in Champaign-Urbana, a community that I love, while exploring this interconnection between theology and ecology.

Urbana Seminary has given me tools to help me become a better Christian. It has been challenging to find a theological voice in writing and speaking, but professors were patient and helped me develop these skills. I have found that the relationships I built with students and faculty while studying at the Seminary have been most helpful. These relationships led to fond memories of great classroom discussions. Many of them still make me smile to this day.

Advice I would give future Urbana Seminary students is to be kind, cultivate friendships with people different than you, read widely and carefully consider many views. Also, develop convictions slowly, don’t obsess over small things, and don’t fear considering other ideas. Most of all, don’t forget to laugh.