By Karen Webster, DMin ’16
“Running so others can stay in the race to which God has called them!”
Travis and I were raised to believe that movement makes a difference. The church in which I grew up, in San Jose, CA, supported Church World Service’s CROP walk to end hunger throughout my childhood. In fact, one of my earliest church memories is captured in this photo (right) collecting money for the CROP walk, coupled with the tangible, public, physical activity of walking. We walked as individuals, as teams, as churches, as people in solidarity with one another to raise awareness that many people in our world, both near and far, struggle to get basic sustenance.
At around the same time, my husband Travis and his family was, for several years in South Carolina, involved in a team fundraising walk supporting the March of Dimes. So, at about the same age, on entirely different sides of the country, we were both learning the importance of putting not just money, but self, in the service of others.
As it turns out, 2,000 years ago, Jesus was doing much the same thing! Adding up the distance Jesus walked, based on the biblical witness, a conservative estimate is that he would have gone 21,525 miles over his lifetime. Whether he was on pilgrimage, preaching, teaching, healing, or engaged in some other act of ministry, Jesus moved, far and wide, so that he could have the greatest impact.
Movement in the service of others, then, is at the heart of how we understand Christian vocation, and the reason we chose Miles for Ministry as our fundraiser. It expresses something that is genuine to our sense of discipleship: running so that others can stay in the race to which God has called them.
Join Us in Improving the Health of Our Future Church Leaders by Supporting Healthy Seminarians – Healthy Church’s Today!
Travis and I are co-founders of Healthy Seminarians-Healthy Church (HSHC). One of the things we learned as we prepared for our first trail marathon (March 2018) is the strong parallel between serving in ministry and marathon running. Simply put, ministry is far more like a marathon than a sprint! It requires long-term endurance, fueled by being physically, mentally, and spiritually fed, stretching oneself even when it means pushing past one’s comfort zone, and taking adequate time for rest and recovery along the way.
We invite the Columbia Seminary community to join us as we train for and run our first 50k trail ultramarathon on Oct. 5, 2019. Miles for Ministry is a fundraiser for HSHC, a 501(c)(3) non-profit and validated ministry of Trinity Presbytery (SC). Your support helps us continue to expand our outreach to seminary students, and will help them to publish their health-oriented curricula to be used in both seminary and congregational settings.
Columbia Theological Seminary is where Travis and I were inspired to start the HSHC in 2012, when I was a DMin student. The organization has been housed at Columbia Seminary since fall 2014, when Travis began pursuing a ThD in pastoral care there. HSHC has partnered with the Columbia Seminary community on a wide variety of health-oriented projects, event, and activities. In addition to offering theological reasons for the importance of living a healthy Christian life, we provide practical methods for how to make this part of everyday discipleship. As a result, we are helping church leaders become agents of positive transformation in their communities. Click HERE to read more about HSHC’s ministry.
If you or somebody you know would consider a gift of any amount in honor of the 31 miles Karen and Travis will be running on October 5, please visit: https://www.healthyseminarians-healthychurch.org/hshc50k/or contact them via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (803-873-1682).
Comments from the CTS community about HSHC:
“Due to the guidance of HSHC, I can better identify how I am a better pastor, communicator, and community leader when I think more holistically about my spiritual and physical well-being. From seminary to calling, I am grateful for my personal and professional relationship with HSHC. My own well-being and the well-being of our Trinity families have been enriched and blessed by the work of HSHC.”
– The Rev. Chris Peters (CTS alum, currently serving as associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Fairhope, AL)
“At a time when clergy wellness, resilience and the education to nurture and sustain both are more important than ever, the work of Healthy Seminarians is an essential component of the mission of Columbia Seminary. Please consider a generous donation to support this faithful and deeply significant work.”
– Dr. Bill Harkins, Senior Lecturer of Pastoral Theology and Care; Director of ThD Program