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Creating a Safe Haven: Alum Transitions from Welcomed Student to Welcoming Chaplain


When Reuben Sancken-Marx (MDiv ’16) began looking into seminaries to pursue his MDiv, he had come up against financial roadblocks to fund his education. Then CTS offered him a place in The Discipleship Project (TDP) to help pay for tuition. That assistance—on top of how welcome he felt as an openly gay man from the first time he set foot on campus—made it evident to him that God was leading him to CTS.  

“There are many reasons I chose CTS. The teachers, the diversity, the inclusive environment, and the community. I felt like I could be myself at CTS. Being an openly gay man, I felt like that was a part of me that was embraced and included. It was something I didn’t need to hide.” Sancken-Marx shares.  

“I felt like I could be myself at CTS. Being an openly gay man, I felt like that was a part of me that was embraced and included.”
– Reuben Sancken-Marx

On top of feeling that sense of welcome, Reuben received a financial aid package that helped make his seminary education possible. He says, “The financial assistance solidified that it was the place for me.” 

After graduating in 2016, he became a chaplain a Eskenazi Hospital—another way that God and CTS had imprinted his life. Serving in ministry outside of the church had never been on his radar until he took the Clinical Pastoral Education class during his time at CTS. 

“Initially when I went to CTS, I envisioned my calling to be with a local congregation,” he explains. “Then I had the opportunity to have Clinical Pastoral Education as part of my ordination process. As I went through it, it felt like something that I was called to—something that would bring meaning to me.” 

In addition to the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) curriculum, he feels he was well-prepared by understanding different theological backgrounds and using that to meet people wherever they are and accommodating different beliefs and traditions.  

After graduating, Sancken-Marx started his residency at IU Health, which included University Hospital, Methodist Hospital, and Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. He felt at home ministering to patients, families, and caregivers, and knew he wanted to remain in a hospital setting. Shortly after, Sancken-Marx began work at Eskenazi as a chaplain. 

“The church looks different than it did in the past,” Sancken-Marx says. “So ministry is looking different. We’re still meeting people where they are and we’re following Jesus. All of those things are still there but there’s just different ways.” Now, Reuben fulfills his calling by providing his patients and their caregivers the same kind of welcome and support that he received as a student at CTS, showing them love as they face difficult medical circumstances.  

If you would like to share your CTS story, please contact Content Producer Stephanie Seeger at or call 317-931-4437.