Andrea's Story: "Three Ministries"

CDSP’s desire for students to have a multi-cultural background is really important for ministry in the 21st Century – and it influenced the course of my ministry. I had the opportunity to take a Graduate Theological Union course in Latino religious expressions at the Jesuit School of Theology, and the multicultural requirement led to my involvement in a CDSP summer project in Honduras. A conversation with the bishop there led to an assignment in Honduras after CDSP graduation teaching in Episcopal bi-lingual schools.

 Throughout seminary I balanced my work at seminary with a husband and two teenage children.  Being a commuter student, I worked out a schedule where I could be at CDSP one or two nights a week and the rest of the time home with my family.  I was still able to complete seminary in three years. 

 Prior to seminary, I served in the U.S. Army as a signal corps officer. During that period, I felt called to military chaplaincy.  Twenty years later during my first year at CDSP, an Army reserve chaplain recruiter was looking for people interested in becoming Episcopal chaplains for the military.  After three years of discernment, I find myself back in uniform at the age of 49 serving with a lot of young soldiers and a lot of folks that have been in the reserves for a while.

 CDSP also prepared me for being in an environment where pluralism is open and expected.  Most of the soldiers have a foundation in a Christian background and most of them in conservative backgrounds.   The challenge for me will be to figure out how to remain true to my own faith tradition and still support them in seeking their faith traditions.  Another role of a chaplain is to serve as the ethical, moral and spiritual advisor to the commander as well as just being a ministry of presence. All of the coursework that I did at CDSP prepared me in many ways for all three of these ministries.

Andrea Baker (M.Div. ’10) serves as interim rector for Epiphany Church in Vacaville and is a Chaplain for the California National Guard near Sacramento, CA.

© 2012 Church Divinity School of the Pacific