This past summer and fall, CTS welcomed four new members to its staff and faculty: Rev. Ayanna Garrett, Associate Dean of Student Life; Melissa Trahyn, Education Technology Specialist; Rev. Jim Farrer, Director of United Methodist Studies; and Kishundra King, Visiting Instructor of Pastoral Theology and Care.
Having joined CTS during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the seminary’s buildings are closed and everyone is working remotely, their time in the community has been somewhat unusual. We checked in with them to hear more about their experiences over the past semester.
Rev. Garrett, who works closely with students and faculty to provide pastoral care and student support, said that, despite the unusual circumstances, “my colleagues have welcomed me and my gifts with open arms. I consider my work at CTS ministry, it is meaningful and fulfilling work.” Similarly, King, who just finished her first semester teaching at CTS, shared that “Joining any community during a pandemic would be challenging, but the CTS community has been so welcoming and has helped ease my transition.”
Rev. Farrer, who mentors students pursing ordination in the United Methodist Church, explained that connecting with students has been more difficult because of the pandemic, but he is grateful for the interactions he has been able to have online. He said that using technology for staff meetings, student groups, and one-on-one communications “has given me a great opportunity to build more connections.”
Working with faculty members to develop and implement integrated technology for classroom use, Trahyn talked about how getting to know people online takes more patience and intentionality, which she is learning along the way. On a similar note, Rev. Garrett said that, “the pandemic has taught me to be a better listener, to not be afraid to be creative, and it has certainly increased my faith.”
King remarked that she has especially enjoyed the opportunity to attend online community events, such as the showing of Las Posadas and the Hope and Healing community care service.
Looking ahead to a time without the restrictions of the pandemic, all four said they were excited to spend more time with their new colleagues and to get to know students better. Echoing the sentiments of her colleagues, Trahyn said, “I look forward to the day when we can meet each other face-to-face and share a meal, a coffee, or a laugh.”
Also included in the January 2021 Christian Theological Seminary Connection
- Faith & Action Project January 2021 Newsletter - Read the newest edition of the Faith & Action Project’s monthly newsletter!
- Pandemic Brings New Frontiers for Learning - For the safety of its community members during the COVID-19 pandemic, CTS has since March maintained its operations and classes entirely online, a move that has created valuable new learning opportunities for interns and residents at the CTS Counseling Center. The Counseling Center, which had historically offered services in person, has transitioned entirely to using […]
- Russaw Impacts Academy and the Public Square - 2020 has been a prolific year for Prof. Kimberly D. Russaw, whose leadership, speaking, and writing continues to contribute richly to both scholarly audiences and the public square. Her commitment to the academy, the church, and the broader community shine through in these numerous and wide-ranging projects. Over the past year, Prof. Russaw has been […]
- Honoring the Legacy and Moral Imagination of Martin Luther King Jr. - On Monday, January 18th, 2021, the United States celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The CTS community regularly honors and studies the lives of transformative leaders like King, but on this day in particular we stop to consider his life and legacy – especially for what they might say to us today. A central figure […]
- Welcoming Dr. DeNeen Collins, Director of Recruiting and Admissions - CTS is excited to announce the appointment of Dr. DeNeen Collins as the new Director of Recruiting and Admissions. A native Hoosier, Collins grew up on the northeast side of Indianapolis in a large family with deep commitments to social change and community involvement. Reflecting on her new role at CTS, Collins said that she […]
- Reflecting on a Semester of Working from Home - This past summer and fall, CTS welcomed four new members to its staff and faculty: Rev. Ayanna Garrett, Associate Dean of Student Life; Melissa Trahyn, Education Technology Specialist; Rev. Jim Farrer, Director of United Methodist Studies; and Kishundra King, Visiting Instructor of Pastoral Theology and Care. Having joined CTS during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, […]