By Chris Jimmerson
A sense of almost limitless creative potentiality is a core element of my personal theology. I have found that Meadville Lombard fits very well with that sense of creative potential. Entering into my third year at Meadville, I have watched as the students with whom I entered the school have created their own paths toward ministerial formation – some, like me, have gone through on the three year plan as originally outlined (though none of us has done that in exactly the same way), others have attended part-time and worked with the school to create their own timeline for their formation.
During my time at Meadville, I have, as a part of my assigned classes, attended a hysterical production at a Chicago theatre, twice visited local museums, and turned in my own theatrical performance as a pots-and-pans loving, lecherous villain. During my time at Meadville, I have also participated in and attended some wonderfully creative and inspiring worship, discovered a heretofore-unknown love of photography, and engaged in creative activities involving paint, clay, crayons, paper, journaling, singing and synchronized body movement, though thankfully never all at the same time. These are only a few examples of the wonderfully creative experience I have had at Meadville.
Even more importantly though, I have formed some of the deepest, most meaningful friendships I have ever known. These are people I have come to love deeply and whom I will love deeply the rest of my days. My sense of my calling to the ministry has deepened and grown stronger. My commitment to justice and public ministry has intensified. My own sense of having a spiritual grounding and a sustaining theology came to be largely because of my experiences at Meadville Lombard, and have helped me through some very challenging times both in my personal life and in church service.
I have watched all of this happen with my fellow students also, but in their own way and following their own timeline. None of us will leave Meadville the same as when we first entered it. For me, what we call “formation” has been transformation!