Thursday, August 5, 2010


Several years ago Bluffton received a grant from the Lilly Endowment to promote the “theological exploration of vocation” or to put it in other words, to help students consider their vocational decisions as callings.

Typically when we think of callings, we think about the path into the ministry. Pathways helped us consider that some are called to vocations in education, in wellness professions, in the sciences, fine arts, mathematics, etc… Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to discover that place where “our great love meets the world’s great needs.” (Palmer)

Several programs were introduced and/or strengthened through Bluffton’s “Pathways to Mission and Vocation” also known as simply as Pathways. We celebrate the opportunities provided and seek stories of how the program helped students and graduates look at vocational decisions in a new way.

Students were given the chance to apply for grants to explore vocation during the summer. Several students received Summer Dreaming Grants to experience new vocational possibilities. This program will continue as Summer Discovery Grants with funds from the Karl V. Schultz Endowment.

For students considering a pastoral call to ministry, Pathways supported the Pathways to Ministry Scholars program which provided social support and scholarships. Several students, faculty, staff and community members received 20-hour mediation training and Bluffton formed the first student Damascus Road committee.

Pathways monies were used to bring national figures to campus as special Forum speakers including Jim Wallis, Sojourners magazine editor-in-chief; Robin Wright, former Washington Post foreign correspondent; Cornell West, civil rights activist; and Alan Page, state supreme court judge and former NFL great.

Special guest speakers were brought onto campus as Pathways Scholars-in-Residence and as guests for specific departments. The Civic Engagement Themes of the past three years were supported by Pathways as were three major conferences planned and held on campus (Women in Ministry, Mennonite Writers and Beyond Borders.)

These opportunities and many more were provided by Pathways. Now the question is – how did Pathways help you discover your call? That’s where you come in. We are looking for feedback from you. What did you experience? How did it shape your future? Would you recommend the experience to others?

No comments:

Post a Comment