At­lantic School of The­ol­ogy

How Kim Curlett be­came a voice for jus­tice and change

The Coast - Career Minded - - PAID CONTENT -

There’s a sim­ple an­swer for why Kim Curlett en­tered the Mas­ter of Divin­ity pro­gram: God.

Af­ter dis­cern­ing a call to be­come an or­dained min­is­ter in the church, the divin­ity pro­gram was the clear next step for Curlett. As an ac­tive mem­ber of the United Church of Canada, she knew most of the peo­ple in min­istry would have trained at the At­lantic School of The­ol­ogy.

“I was ex­cited by the idea of an ec­u­meni­cal learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment, and it also helped that Pine Hill Divin­ity Hall takes care of tu­ition for ac­tive can­di­dates for min­istry in the United Church,” says Curlett.

When en­ter­ing into her stud­ies at AST, Curlett made a com­mit­ment to be a “yes” as long as that didn’t mean be­ing a “no” to her two pre­teen daugh­ters. As a sin­gle mother, she needed to main­tain that work-life bal­ance.

“Find­ing time to work, study and be a good mom was a con­stant jug­gle. Thank­fully, for the most part, my course work was re­ward­ing and in­ter­est­ing,” she says. What she fo­cused on in her area of study at a mas­ter’s level at AST was her choice, even within spe­cific classes.

Curlett’s pro­gram took her three years, with five classes per se­mes­ter. Many of her class­mates were from other pro­grams and de­nom­i­na­tions, but there were a num­ber of classes re­quired specif­i­cally by the United Church. She also took Ro­man Catholic and Angli­can-spe­cific classes.

But back when she made that com­mit­ment to say­ing “yes” in her ed­u­ca­tion, she opened doors she wasn’t ex­pect­ing.

“I didn’t know that God was go­ing to use me to be the kind of voice that I am be­com­ing. A voice for change and jus­tice in the world. I thought I was just be­ing called to be a min­is­ter in a church, I now know there is no such thing as ‘just a min­is­ter,’” says Curlett.

This pro­gram re­quired that Curlett let go of all of her ideas about how life is sup­posed to go, and how she saw her­self in min­istry. She had to re­main open to how she would be shaped by the Holy Spirit in her stud­ies.

“Each thing we learn changes us, and you must be open to sur­prises along the way. If you aren’t, I prom­ise you are go­ing to miss an op­por­tu­nity that you never ex­pected,” she says.

Curlett is just at the be­gin­ning of her ca­reer in min­istry, and she says she would not be able to be or­dained with­out this pro­gram. Not only on pa­per, but it pre­pared her to be a leader in a church, as one re­spon­si­ble for the pas­toral care of the com­mu­nity. As the motto of cur­rent AST pres­i­dent Rev. Neale Ben­net goes, it has shaped her into “a faith­ful and ef­fec­tive leader” in the larger com­mu­nity.

“I stand with con­fi­dence as a grad­u­ate of AST,” Curlett says, “as some­one who can be called on to help with spir­i­tual mat­ters in the com­mu­nity, or to speak on is­sues of spir­i­tu­al­ity with the wider au­di­ence than sim­ply those who show up to church on a Sun­day morn­ing.”

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