M. Div. Student Monica Whitaker Reflects
Third-year M.Div. student Monica Whitaker joined the Rev. Dr. Fran Toy (’84, ’96), Professor Emeritus John Kater and more than 300 leaders in the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries Consultation and 40th Anniversary Celebration (EAM@40) held in Burlingame, CA, June 20-24. The event, which included workshops, presentations and worship, celebrated the diversity of Asiamerican ministries throughout the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion in North America and Asia.
Toy, one of the Asiamerican pioneers who worked with EAM founder the Rev. Winston Wyman Ching, encouraged Whitaker to attend EAM@40.
“My experience at EAM significantly influenced how I view myself as a ‘hapa haole’ – half white and half Chinese – and Asiamerican, and contributed to my deeper understanding of ministry with Asiamericans and other people of color,” she said.
Although Whitaker had little experience with Asiamericans before relocating to the Bay Area in 2011, she said that “attending seminary at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and taking classes at the Graduate Theological Union have deepened my understanding of my Asiamerican heritage and provided me opportunities to explore my identity as a biracial Episcopalian.”
“I had the privilege of becoming fully immersed in the rich diversity of Asian races, languages, cultures, ethnicities and faiths during EAM@40,” she said. “The wonderful variety of activities increased my awareness of the importance of raising up people of diverse ethnic backgrounds in our ministries within and beyond the walls of our church buildings. EAM@40 inspired me to continue to deepen my appreciation for my Asiamerican heritage and celebrate God’s gracious goodness with people of all races.”