A close study of Phillips Seminary’s archives reveals that I was an adjunct professor for several semesters beginning in 1977 and, after a 34-year hiatus, returned to that position—surely a school (if not a world) record for interrupted service.
Being back on campus every week has been a blessing, an opportunity for which I’m grateful. The enthusiasm of students, faculty and staff for what’s happening at my alma mater is contagious. I’m hoping a glimpse into my experience will help you catch that excitement too, moving you to support generously the work God is surely doing at Phillips.
Theological Reflection Group is the class I teach. It is heavy lifting for neither the students nor the instructor, but through it I witness the seminary’s new tag line, where faith leads, coming to life in every class session. I figured initially that my role in TRG, as a grizzled parish veteran, would be to sprinkle a little hard-earned wisdom benevolently on the greenhorns.
I was wrong.
Instead, for an hour a week, first-year students and I gather to ponder the challenges of theological education and the mysteries of being called to ministry by the Holy. This is for all of us sacred space, akin to worship.
During this time, I sit with women and men who are bright, inquisitive and committed, and generally younger than the average seminarians of a decade ago. Seldom do I leave their presence without renewed hope for the ministry and the church and stopping to give God thanks.
They inspire me.
Where faith leads is an apt description of Phillips Seminary as a place where these students come to immerse themselves in the joy—as well as in the fear and trembling—of contemplating a divine claim on their unique gifts and talents and preparing themselves for service to the world.
And because Phillips is where faith leads these aspiring church leaders at this critical juncture in their journeys, please consider supporting the seminary so that this important work can continue.
I’ve also discovered where faith leads testifies to the role of the faculty. Having been a student back in the heyday of sainted giants like Rose, Craddock and Boring, I’ve claimed immodestly to have been around for the Golden Age, but truth told, I rate the current crop as altogether extraordinary—even if some of them weren’t yet born when I received my MDiv.
Phillips’ professors are vastly diverse in their backgrounds and fields of study but are bonded by their passion for wrestling with the toughest theological questions of our day and for educating those on the spiritual quest—even as they pursue their own spiritual quests. The work of these gifted scholars affirms again Phillips as a place where faith leads. And when you give, you provide them an opportunity to pursue God’s distinctive calling on their lives, enabling the seminary to fulfill its mission.
Where faith leads captures the place of Phillips Seminary in my own theological journey, too, for it has been the well to which I’ve returned again and again through four decades for refreshment and renewal. From my days as a first-semester student to this day, the seminary has stood as a continuing source of insight, challenge and nourishment about what it means to be a follower of Jesus and a minister of the gospel.
Please join me in making sure that this hallowed legacy will be passed to the next generation of students and faculty by making a gift today, because Phillips is—for me, for them, for all of us—simply where faith leads.
The Rev. Dr. Bill Inglish
Class of ’72 & ‘77
P.S. My journey began for me years ago as a student and has come again full circle as an adjunct professor guiding students as they discern Where Faith Leads. Your generous gift today ensures this transformative education is available tomorrow.
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