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Campus Minister's Proud of the Far Reach of Catawba's Ministry Students

July 11, 2013

Category: Academics, Faculty, Religion & Philosophy, Students


JoynerAsk Dr. Kenneth Clapp about his former students who have gone on to pursue careers in ministry and his face lights up. He'll share details of where they went to school after graduating from Catawba and where they answered their first call to serve. He'll explain with the pride of a father and the true spirit of a mentor.

This past April, he made a trip of almost a thousand miles that reconnected him with a handful of his former students who are now sharing both their faith and their Catawba experience from pulpits across the country.

In his ongoing mentoring role to Kendra Joyner '11, Dr. Clapp was invited to be a part of her mid-course evaluation at Yale Divinity School. During her interview, Dr. Clapp said, "Kendra affirmed the quality of the education she received at Catawba and spoke glowingly of the role the Catawba community had in her journey toward ministry."

Kendra, he explained, had written about the Catawba community and the opportunities she had to explore the calling. She said her calling was affirmed by Catawba classmates like "a German student at my college who was still learning English and on his own spiritual journey who said, 'Kendra, there seems to be a light coming out of you. I do not know where it comes from but I feel like it comes from your God.' "

Clapp and Mabe"Sometimes it takes a whole community to help us make the journey to ministry and at Catawba, the Lilly Center has attempted to create such a community that will be there for those on the journey," Dr. Clapp shared.

And what started out for Dr. Clapp to be a part of the educational experience of Kendra Joyner turns out to be a celebration of Catawba's role and influence in the life of leadership in today's Church. While on the Yale campus, Dr. Clapp reconnected with another former student, the Reverend Zachary Mabe '00 who also graduated from Yale Divinity School and who currently serves as pastor of Terryville Congregational United Church of Christ in Terryville, Connecticut.

Rev. Mabe, Dr. Clapp said, has ongoing conversations with other pastors in his geographic area to let them know about Catawba's ministry preparation program. Rev. Mabe is anxious to get students from his area to Catawba.

Leaving Yale, Dr. Clapp flew from New York City to Chicago to participate in the ordination of Rachel Bahr Anatasie, '04, another of his former students.

"Again, the Catawba connections were evident in many ways," Dr. Clapp said.

Rachel has been serving as the minister of children and youth at Glen Ellyn United Church of Christ in the Chicago suburbs. She was hired to this position by the Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniels, the pastor with whom Rev. Zach Mabe, '00 had interned during his seminary days.

Rachel had invited Emily Joye McGaughy-Reynolds, '05 to preach the ordination sermon. Emily, another of Dr. Clapp's students, had come to Catawba from California to study in the outdoor ministry concentration of the Religion and Philosophy Department. She now serves as an associate pastor at First Congregational Church of Battle Creek in Michigan and is active in camp and youth work in her area.

In her sermon, Dr. Clapp recalled, "Emily spoke affectionately of the Catawba community, acknowledging that initially she and Rachel were on opposite ends of the spectrum theologically and politically. She said that God's love in a caring, small community was sufficient to let what was in the heart transcend ideological differences and allow the desire to share God's love in a needy world to emerge."

Since the inception of Catawba's Lilly Center, almost 30 Catawba graduates have answered the call to ministry. Their preparation for ministry has taken them to Duke (2), Hood (3), Lancaster (3), Wake Forest (3), Yale (2), Pacific School of Religion, Candler and a number of other educational institutions. These Catawba alumni are now serving and touching lives far and wide, a source of pride for Dr. Clapp and an incentive for Catawba's Lilly Center which he directs to continue its work.         ;


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