Story Magazine - Third Quarter, 2005
Walking Christ's Road
Left:Patti McKitterick, Master of Arts Junior from Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Right: Mary Hinkle Shore, Associate Professor of New Testament; Associate Dean of Learning Systems and Techology, Luther Seminary
Discipleship Groups at Luther Seminary build among students a sense of community with each other and with faculty and, above all, help students be disciples of Jesus Christ.
Patti McKitterick, Master of Arts Student
Mary Hinkle Shore, Associate Professor of New Testament; Associate Dean of Learning Systems and Technology
At Luther Seminary, students explore the implications of being a follower of Jesus Christ by participating in discipleship groups. Held once a week, the gatherings present students with three opportunities for fellowship. "First, we check in on how the week is going, what's going on," says professor Mary Hinkle Shore, about the group she facilitates. "Second, we practice a kind of discipline instituted by Ignatius of Loyola, reviewing our day, discovering our high points and low points, our moments of consolation and desolation." Finally, students and their mentor end the meeting by engaging in prayer.
A dedicated and talented academic who views teaching as her ministry, Mary sees the primary benefit of discipleship group as "the experience of being with other students who come from a variety of backgrounds. What I find beneficial about it is that we come together once a week and check in with one another. We're able to get to know each other on a more individual, more personal level. It helps to create a fellowship."
Patti McKitterick, a Master of Arts student in pastoral care who taught special education for 20 years before coming to Luther Seminary, says that participation in her discipleship group "helps me sort through a variety of other viewpoints, through different people's eyes. I get a different perspective as I go through my week."
Mary notes that she wants discipleship group students to take from the gatherings the feeling that someone is praying for them. And, Patti definitely appreciates this blessing: "It also helps in that I know that group members are praying for me as I am for them during the course of the week. There's some investment in one another that is spiritually very comforting." Patti sees the discipleship group as "a safe place to bring myself."
Inspired by the spiritual commitment of Patti and the other dedicated students at Luther Seminary, says Mary, "I am struck year after year through discipleship at the faith that the seminarians bring, and at the connection with God and the eagerness to serve that they feel. And that bolsters my faith. It makes me feel like the church is in good hands. God's hands."