Barbara Ballenger Begins Seminary
August 17, 2017
At the end of this month I’ll be starting seminary classes at United Lutheran Seminary (formerly Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia) right around the corner, on Germantown Avenue. I will continue in my full-time position as Associate for Spiritual Formation and Care, while working on my seminary degree part-time.
This first semester will see me heading off to classes on Wednesday and Thursday nights from 7 to 10, and taking some time off for a week-long intensive class in mid-October. My hope is that within three years, I will be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
For me, seminary is the next phase in a long process (20 years!) of discerning and accepting God’s call to the priesthood, and I could not have gotten to this place without the love, support, and encouragement of the community of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
I was received into the Episcopal Church seven years ago, a few years after leaving the Roman Catholic Church in order to be free to test and pursue this vocational call. Before that I had worked in professional ministry as a layperson in a variety of faith-based settings: a performing arts ministry, an international relief and development organization, in campus ministry, and in parish pastoral ministry.
My work at St. Martin’s for the past three years has allowed me to continue to discern my priestly vocation in an environment where the faith community embraces discipleship and spiritual growth, seeks out faith connections, labors for transformative justice and peace and whose members are willing to both give and receive support and care from one another. You have encouraged and have helped me develop my ministry skills in pastoral care, leadership, and liturgy, and you have deeply inspired my own growth as an Episcopalian and a Christian.
As I enter my fourth year in ministry here, while taking on this new level of learning and faith development, I ask for your continued prayers and support, as I will pray for you. The past few years at St. Martin’s have been for me an extraordinary walk of love and blessing, and I look forward to continuing it with you.
Associate for Spiritual Formation & Care