Before attending Ashland Theological Seminary, Karen Reaume had “lots of dreams and ambitions” about how she would serve in ministry full time. After a couple of years in the M.Div program, those ideas have been wiped clean. But that’s not a bad thing.
God gave Karen a vision of a white board: “I felt the Lord telling me to erase and wait for the new thing he has for me.” She continues to wait to see what God will reveal, but for now, she is taking her faith journey one day at a time, and finding it to be an adventure.
Listening for God’s call is a theme that shows itself again and again at Ashland Theological Seminary, and Karen has worked to help others cultivate that practice. As the first student Chapel Coordinator, she develops spiritual formation practices for students, staff, and faculty, including morning devotions, biweekly community worship services, and times of intercessory prayer.
Karen says her involvement in the chapel as helped her “fulfill my passion to share the impact spiritual formation activities have on us in our own personal lives and on us as ministers. . . I cannot be effective in ministry if I don’t have that. It’s important to me to create space and opportunities to help people develop their own devotional lives.”
By taking on these coordination duties, Karen not only creates opportunities for spiritual formation, but also frees up faculty and staff to come to chapel activities as full participants, rather than responsible parties. “I hope my impact has been to free them up and let them focus on the administrative activities of the seminary, while trusting that [the chapel] is being handled well.” She acknowledges that her role has helped her own spiritual formation, too. “If I say there are going to be devotions every morning, guess where I am every morning?,” she laughs. “I understand the importance and challenges of keeping spiritual formation as an important part of life.”
Karen cites her journey with the Life 631 cohort as a highlight of her seminary experience: “We are not alone in our doubts and questions and hard times. We are free to be weak and vulnerable, to love and support one another.” This thread weaves through the classroom as well, where instructors start every class session, whether in person or online, with a devotional element.
“That’s huge to me,” Karen says. “We’ve had times when class has been put on hold to minister to someone in their time of need. At ATS, you get a great education. The academic challenges are fun and rewarding. But the real ATS difference is the community. Every person I have encountered is passionate about their love for the Lord and for others. It’s priceless.”
Ashland Theological Seminary integrates theological education with Christ-centered transformation as it equips men and women for ministry in the church and the world. The seminary offers certificate, master’s and doctoral level programs in Ashland, Cleveland, Columbus, and Detroit. Learn more at seminary.ashland.edu.