Nancy Moore and daughter Kelly have each received seminary support along the way
A friend who had already been to the Theological Education with Youth (TEY) summer event
"told me I should go," says Kelly Moore, 17, a member of Christ Lutheran Church, Christmans, and a leader in the synod's Lutheran Youth Organization.
So she obtained a nomination form for TEY's Summer Theological Academy at Muhlenberg College and took it to her pastor, the Rev. John Hassler.
Attending the two-week academy "deepened my faith and made it stronger," Kelly says.
"I also made new friends. I became more outgoing and confident than I was
One of Kelly's great academy memories is "Dr. Wengert's class." The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert is Professor of Reformation History and the Confessions at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, a co-sponsor of TEY with the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.
"His class was a basic introduction to theology," Kelly says, "but he didn't
dumb it down for us. He helped me to understand my faith more in depth, kind
of like what a math teacher I know says to me sometimes: 'I know you know
what this is all about, but it helps to have a good review.'"
Kelly also recalls vividly the moving reflection groups she was a part of at the academy.
"We split up into groups of four or five and met with a mentor to think about what happened to us that day." The Academy lasts for two weeks and is one of several TEY programs designed to help youth
"fall in love with theology."
Kelly's journey as a young believer complements one being taken now by her mother, Nancy Moore, a middler (second-year student) at LTSP. Nancy plans to become a pastor in the ELCA. The mother of three (Kelly's sisters are Jenifer, 15, and Emily, 11), Nancy Moore says she has
"always been involved" as a church leader, including being a volunteer director of Christian education in her congregation.
And she's used to juggling responsibilities. Early in her professional career Nancy lived in Horsham with her family, including husband, Bob, and worked as an administrative assistant to a section chief of surgery and professor at Temple University Hospital. She also earned 95 credits at Temple toward a bachelor's degree while working at the hospital. Later on, she held a similar job with a group of neurosurgeons at Lehigh Valley Hospital. The commute from her home in Jim Thorpe to Lehigh Valley Hospital
"really got to be too hectic," she says. "I had to work long hours and try to be a mom and wife." So she took a position 15 minutes away from her home as administrative assistant for the chief executive officer of Vacation Charters Limited, the parent corporation for five Pocono Mountains-based resorts, including Split Rock Lodge. The corporation encouraged her to complete her bachelor's degree requirements at East Stroudsburg.
In 1998, Nancy began to think of seminary study and becoming a pastor. Lutheran Family Services, Inc. sponsored a retreat for lay people to help them discover their gifts for ministry.
"All of my gifts turned out to fit into the category of pastoral ministry," she says with a smile. She took the report of her gifts to Pastor Hassler for advice.
"He already had seen the possibility in me, but he was trying to help me
discover things for myself."
She left her Poconos position to enter seminary at LTSP and is studying as a resident-commuter. That means Nancy lives at school from Sunday evening through part of Thursday and then returns to be with her family.
"I support what my Mom is doing," Kelly says. And Nancy notes she is blessed to have a family attitude of support.
"I've found it a struggle to balance getting an education with being a wife and parent," Nancy admits.
"It took a while for me to detach myself and concentrate on studying something like Hebrew when I wondered how things were going at home. I discovered that they (the children) don't always need me there to manage their schedules and control their lives." She notes that husband Bob, who has worked with a robotics division of Alcoa for 23 years,
"does incredible things with the kids. During part of the week he is a single parent and supports them to be part of school, the band and their sports activities." Bob is also the youth advisor for the Christmans congregation.
"Having a family that is willing to give the kind of support I receive is critical to my being able to study to be a pastor," Nancy says.
While mother Nancy and daughter Kelly are taking different journeys in the service of Jesus Christ, they seem to be on the same faith-filled road together.
This article is excerpted from a press release by Mark Staples, director of communications, LTSP.