New Beginnings: The First Semester of Seminary

by Jenny Saperstein, Junior MDiv Student, PC(USA)

For me, as for many students, the first semester at Austin Seminary signified the start of a long-anticipated journey toward ordained ministry. Over the better part of a decade I had been discerning my sense of call and gathering support. I arrived eager to learn and participate in community life and was not disappointed.

“Seminary is challenging me in ways I never expected ...” So read my Facebook status in September after agreeing to participate in the annual Polity Bowl -- the flag-football game against the Episcopalian Seminary of the Southwest. Now I would be learning how to play football (I am new to Texas) in addition to learning about the Old Testament, theology, the history of Christianity, oh, and Hebrew, too! Teamwork saw the seminary through Polity Bowl. But teamwork, in the form of study groups, also saw many of the juniors through our classes, and new friendships emerged over countless discussions.

There are too many wonderful experiences to list them all. However, my favorite moment of the semester was a Harry Potter themed Mid-Week Manna (the weekly student organized social time), when students gathered with faculty and staff to have fun exploring the Christian themes of the Harry Potter book series.

It is the friendly and deeply caring community of students, faculty, and staff—supporting one another through joys and sorrows—that makes Austin Seminary the exceptional place and experience that it is. 

Jenny and her husband Patrick at the 2014 Polity Bowl
Above; Husband Patrick Saperstein and Jenny Saperstein celebrate Austin Seminary's 2014 Polity Bowl victory.
2014  Trunk or Treat
Above; Amanda Mackey (MDiv Middler), Patrick Saperstein, and Jenny Saperstein (MDiv Junior) dress in Harry Potter attire for Austin Seminary's annual "Trunk or Treat" event.