At Tyndale, the experience of a student is often a full circle one—the years spent learning paves a path to years of teaching and leadership. Sarah Patterson, the new DMin Spiritual Formation Track Leader, graduated from Tyndale’s Leadership Track program in 2014. While she has taken on many roles at Tyndale, including teaching a DMin preaching course and being a supervisor in the spiritual direction internship, this new role is her first leadership role where she and two other non-professors will coordinate the three tracks.
Sarah spoke with staff writer Jane Igharo about the new, exciting role and her experience as a Tyndale student.
Q. How are you settling into the new position?
Sarah: Right now, I'm just catching up with everything on Moodle, looking at all the courses that are presently in the program. As I get to know more of the students, I'll become part of the admissions process. Different times of the year will bring me further and further into the process.
Q. Why did you decide to accept this role?
Sarah: I did my DMin at Tyndale in Leadership, and I just love that program. The Spiritual Formation program didn't exist when I did my DMin in Leadership. By the time it did, I was asked to be the retreat leader for the June residency, so I sat in on some of the classes, and a part of me wished I'd done my DMin in Spiritual Formation. And now being able to contribute in this way is wonderful. I'll be sitting in on all the residency courses and finding my way. I will also be looking after the students who are in the program. Learning and looking after people are my two favorite things.
Q. Why should a student enroll in the DMin in Spiritual Formation track?
Sarah: We're all being formed, and we don't always understand the forces that form us, either for good or bad. I think we're becoming more and more aware that spiritual formation is the overall umbrella under which discipleship and spiritual disciplines come. When a leader who might apply for the DMin Spiritual Formation Track comes into that program and spends enough time finding out about her or his own formation, they not only gain the gift of understanding how they were formed, but they are more attuned and readily able to recognize how other people are formed.
Q. Why did you choose to study at Tyndale?
Sarah: I did some research, and what I really liked was the multicultural, multi-ethnic, and trans-denominational environment because that's what I was living in and going to church in.
Q. How did your studies at Tyndale impact you?
Sarah: My DMin was about how spiritual direction facilitates pastors’ roles, their relationship with God’s call, and their congregation. I learned a lot. Even though I was doing my research in a leadership program, it was a spiritual formation project, and I had a lot of support from Tyndale.
Q. What should students expect to get from the DMin track at Tyndale?
Sarah: The world is changing so rapidly, so I think it gives an individual an opportunity to pause and understand how they were formed and how they are forming now. Also, the DMin Spiritual Formation Track gives every student a lot of opportunities to try out different spiritual disciplines and gives them permission to engage in things that they probably, unless they were an Anglican or Catholic, historically, would never have been invited to engage in. It also gives them an understanding of the breadth of what's out there in terms of their own spiritual lives and how they can spend time with God.