Opportunity is a funny thing. Doors can open at any time in life, leading
us on unexpected journeys and linking spheres in our lives we always
Dana Heckman-Beil knows firsthand the power of opportunity and the importance
of following your dreams. From business student to ordained minister,
Ms. Heckman-Beil has followed her heart and found herself living out
Like many adult students, Dana was working full-time when she began taking
classes at Lehigh Carbon Community College. Always an active member of
her Lutheran congregation, Dana decided to return to school and earn
her degree so she could become an associate in ministry. She earned an
associate’s degree at LCCC and started taking classes at Muhlenberg
College soon thereafter.
Although Muhlenberg’s Lutheran heritage was an attraction for Dana,
she was sold on the college when she received a warm welcome from the
staff. “Muhlenberg was a place that, as an adult student, you felt
safe and that people cared about you academically, personally and professionally.
Anybody in the office would sit down with you to go over your classes
at any time. The location and flexible class times were great. I felt
called to Muhlenberg.”
Dana soon realized that God was calling her to service as an ordained
minister. With a definite goal in her sights, and at least another four
years of seminary ahead of her, Dana left her job as assistant to the
vice president at Lutheran Services Northeast and started attending classes
full-time. She pursued her studies with the same zeal she exhibits in
the rest of her life. By December of 1999, she had completed the coursework
needed for a business degree.
Throughout this time, she was meeting with candidacy staff of the Northeastern
Pennsylvania Synod to discuss her desire to become a candidate for ordained
ministry. She completed the process and was approved as a candidate for
ordained ministry. In 1998, she also met her future husband, David. They
were married in the summer of 1999, while Dana was attending Muhlenberg
After graduating from Muhlenberg, Dana and David moved to Columbia, S.C.,
so Dana could attend the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Soon
after arriving Dana learned she was pregnant. In January 2001, daughter
Emily Sue was born and started her life as the “dorm baby” of
the seminary. Emily attended classes with Dana that spring. “Every
one of my classmates changed at least one diaper,” noted Dana.
Dana, who grew up in Lehighton, has been called to Good Shepherd Lutheran
in Ashland, Pa. She will realize her dream to become an ordained minister
on August 8 at the synodical Ordination Service to be held at Faith Lutheran
Church, Whitehall, at 4:00 p.m.
(Excerpted from the newsletter of the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College.
Used by permission.)