Annual Report 2022

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Supporting the Next Generation

For Rev. Carmen “Charito” Fernández, a seminary education was a long sought after dream which God brought into fruition. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Fernández first felt a call to ministry in the 1980s. Eventually, in 2001, she moved to the mainland United States to work with the Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries of the Disciples of Christ.

“Having completed her MDiv degree debt-free, Rev. Carmen “Charito” Fernández is eager to give back to the institution which nurtured her in so many ways.”

In this role she travelled the country, visiting a wide variety of Hispanic churches and ministries. In border towns she witnessed terrible poverty and the effects of violence, but she also saw great examples of faith and perseverance. Speaking of an orphanage she visited, she notes, “The love that I found in those kids was greater than the suffering they had gone through. They were happy because they knew Christ.”

Fernández was finally able to enroll at CTS in 2006 and completed her MDiv degree in 2010. The caring assistance of faculty and staff and the financial assistance provided by past donors allowed her dream of a seminary education to be realized. During her first semester of studies, Fernández’s father died, causing her to return to Puerto Rico for a time. The loving community at CTS helped her stay the course and continue her degree. Fernández especially credits former Dean of Students Mary Harris with encouraging her “every step of the way.”

While still a student at CTS, Fernández and her husband helped plant a new church, the first in a series of pastoral roles which led them on to Northern Indiana and then eventually to Central Ohio. Fernández recently retired as Associate Minister of Gender Road Christian Church in Canal Winchester, Ohio. Looking back upon a varied and active life, she says, “I’ve had lots of experiences, lots of ups and downs, but through it all, God was with me.”

In planning their estate, Fernández and her husband decided to provide for future students of CTS. Both have worked for and been deeply involved in the mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and both believe strongly in the importance of a seminary education for future faith leaders. To Fernández, her CTS education was a formative experience which prepared her for a new era in ministry. Having completed her MDiv degree debt-free, she is eager to give back to the institution which nurtured her in so many ways.

Fernández characterizes philanthropic estate planning as “tithing after death.” For this couple, the decision to help future persons in ministry through a planned gift was an easy one to make. “The next generations,” Fernández says, “are still our family.”