I have often said that one could get through an entire three or four year curriculum here at CTS, without ever really engaging someone of another race beyond a passing “Hello.” I found that disturbing. So, when I was appointed as one of the three Kerux co-editors for the 2013-2014 school year, I was happy that the three of us enthusiastically agreed on opening channels of diversity. We hoped to intentionally give voice to those who are not part of the dominant culture at CTS.
A lot of the articles and cover stories were student, faculty/staff, or CTS community inspired. For example, we used our “In the Spotlight” section to feature students who were Korean, Japanese, Hispanic, American, and Canadian. We included several articles from the CRCNA Director of Disability Concerns, Mark Stephenson. Not only do we have students here with disabilities, but also some of us will one day be in congregational leadership positions that will include people with disabilities. This also served as a helpful reminder to us that diversity is not always just about race.
Additionally, we included articles about global missions, church planting, African American female seminarians, and Hispanic pastors’ training, because, again, everyone in our congregations might not look like us. What better opportunities for us to prepare for ways to positively engage diversity, than at a seminary? The feedback we got back from the students, most of them minority students, some of them faculty or staff, was very positive and appreciative.
Professor Howard Vanderwell frequently says that during his time in the pastorate, he learned that, sometimes, what they planned for the worship service was not always about him and what he liked, but rather was about the needs of his congregation. Therefore, I would challenge both the current Kerux editorial team and the CTS student body to continue to be progressive and forward thinking; to not focus on what fits into our own comfort zones and our own peer groups, but rather about those among us who still need a voice.
By Robin Rhodes