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Thoughts during the pandemic

Dear friends,

Right now, you might be regretting, as are we, not taking the seminary course, “How to preach, minister, counsel, lead, and survive during a pandemic.”

We joke, not to make light of this situation, but to emphasize the unexpectedness of this situation. Your Austin Seminary Association Board wants you to know you are not alone at this time, and together we can be both a resource for each other and a pastor to one another.

For alumni who are pastors, chaplains, counselors, or educators, we give thanks for the work you’re doing and how you’ve responded to the immediate need to overnight do church and pastoral care differently. For alumni leading community causes, organizations, and other ministries, we give thanks that you are giving all that you have to serve those who are most in need. For alumni who own your business or work for someone else, we give thanks for the ways you can minister to those in the workplace and beyond during this crisis. For alumni who are retired, we give thanks for how you have reached out to help your local congregation or pastors in need. Friends, someday we will look back in awe and exclaim, “Wow, how did I do that?” Future generations will echo that response.

Remember to take care of yourself at this time. We can’t emphasize this enough. If you need someone to talk to, cry with, run ideas by, or need a mentor, please contact one of us. Please. We will help connect you to your ASA board representative or connect you with other alumni who will be there for you.

We also encourage you to share resources you’ve written or found elsewhere that have been helpful. These resources might be orders of worship for a memorial service, ways you’ve counseled families who’ve had to delay a service, baptism, wedding or other milestone event, helpful tips and lessons learned from conducting service online, how to continue stewardship during a crisis. Any resource you share will be helpful to other alumni and will help us archive this time in history. The seminary will include much of what you share on its resource page.

Also, if you would like to be a mentor to a fellow alumna or alumnus please let us know. We especially want to keep a list of alumni who have unique experience with financial crisis, addiction, domestic abuse, or needs that congregations should be prepared to face.

More than ever we need to stay connected to one another. You can do so by joining Austin Seminary Alumni on Facebook and making sure we have your e-mail address. Your ASA board may e-mail you more frequently than the usually monthly newsletter. We believe that at this time it's better to be in too much communication than not enough.

In summary, great job alumni! Share your resources. Reach out when (not if) you need care, by contacting any of us listed below.

With gratitude and love, your ASA board,

Sheila Sidberry-Thomas (MDiv’14), president
Melinda Hunt (CIM’16), vice-president
Josh Kerr (MDiv’14), secretary
Barrett Abernethy (MDiv’13)
Sarah Allen (MDiv’07; DMin’19)
David Gambrell (MDiv’98)
John Guthrie (MDiv’06)
Paul Sink (MDiv’00)
Carl McCormack (MDiv’95)
Denise Odom (MDiv’99)
Noemi Ortiz (MATS’15)
Jean Reardon (MDiv’05)
Valerie Sansing (MDiv’00)                                       
Rita Sims (DMin’15)                                                
Ayana Teter (MDiv’06)                                             
Michael Ulasewich (MDiv’05)                                 

Gary Mathews
Director of Alumni and Church Relations
512-200-5901 (c)   512-404-4806 (w)