Student Story: Sarah

Sarah is an undergraduate student, studying the Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission at St Mellitus College, South West. Below, she answers a few questions.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 34 years old, originally from Orange County, California, 6 feet tall, and have been based in Cornwall for the past 3 1/2 years. I love to read, laugh, eat good meals, drink good coffee, meet people, and share stories. I feel a calling on my life to preach and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in churches, on trains, in conversations, at conferences. Jesus has changed my life, made me new, and it is my greatest joy to share His love with those I meet.

What drew you to study at SMC South West?

During my time in the UK, I have consistently sought mentors and training courses, but the combination of my fairly remote location (Cornwall) and busy schedules have made that intentional investment a challenge. I “bumped into” Donna Lazenby, our South West Centre Director, in the Truro city centre last year. I had looked at a few other theology schools, but was intrigued by the location, generous orthodoxy model, and quality of St Mellitus. As part of my prayer and guidance conversations, I spent time seeking counsel from leaders in the South West, who affirmed the quality of the course. My charity (Creation Fest) released my time to engage with the course, two generous donors covered most of my tuition and book fees, and I felt God confirm that my time in St Mellitus would be like train tracks, significant in shaping the foundations for future opportunities. The effects of theology training are often unseen and unglamorous, but a train cannot travel without sturdy tracks.

What has been your highlight so far?

I recently created a “top ten list” of my highlights of my time at St Mellitus. Rather than include that again here, perhaps I can start by very simply saying that there have been several significant highlights from my time at SMC South West. 

By far the most significant highlight has been the consistent, intentional, generous learning community at St Mellitus. In our small cohort in the South West, we have 5 undergraduates and 9 ordinands. Our backgrounds are remarkably diverse, we represent at least four countries, our styles of worship, learning engagement, and our understanding of the role of Scripture are broad. It is in light of this diversity that our unity within Christ becomes even more remarkable. 

Study comes at a sacrificial cost. It costs our time, our self-righteousness, the practical expenses of travel, the intangible cost of wrestling with our theological darlings. Study comes at a sacrificial cost, but I am thankful each week to be surrounded by those who show me the generous love of Christ. Through the teaching staff, theological reading, and my fellow students, I am actively learning what it means to love the Lord my God with all my mind.