This fall the Seminary welcomes 44 new master's-level students and 12 special (non degree) students, representing eight denominations and ten states. The median age of this incoming class is 36. This class includes those with military service, professionals in the medical field, writers, and teachers. Two are certified yoga instructors and one served as a Young Adult Volunteer here in Austin this past year.
We also launched the Certificate in Ministry program, a new distance learning initiative for lay leaders, with 25 participants from Washington State to Ohio, representing four denominations. These lay leaders are directors of Christian education, camp directors, worship committee chairpersons, Sunday school teachers, and Commissioned Ruling Elders. The response to this program was outstanding, and we look forward to forming an expanded sense of our community as we seek to meet the need for distance learning among lay leaders at different stages of their spiritual journeys.
Community remains at the heart of the Austin Seminary experience, and we’re happy to open up this sense of community to a small group of young adults who are spending a service year in Austin as they investigate the intersection of faith, service, and vocation in their lives, both personally and professionally. This year, eight young adults who are serving the greater Austin community through both the PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer program as well as through AmeriCorps are living in residence at the Seminary through the AYAVA House program, now in its third year of existence. These 8 young adults come from Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Alabama, and Texas, and represent a broad diversity of denominational backgrounds and experiences.
Austin Seminary is thrilled to welcome the dynamism that our expanding community brings as we continue to strive to be “a winsome and exemplary community of God’s people.”