Wade Pond '08
"My understanding of other religions was expanded by the coursework that included an introductory course to world religions as well as classes in Buddhism and Hinduism with Dr. Jeffrey Long."
What made you choose Religious Studies as a major and, further, what made you choose Elizabethtown?
I had a clearly developed sense of call to ministry when I began searching out colleges to begin pursuit of this call. I knew that I had to get as much foundational knowledge of the bible and ministry studies as possible. A friend (now fellow pastor) suggested three schools with Elizabethtown being one of those. Of those three, Elizabethtown was closest to home, as I commuted (I was an older non-traditional student with a full-time job and family). What I truly enjoyed about my first visit was the hospitable nature of those I encountered in admissions, the small but lovely campus size, and the prospective student/teacher ratios being small. I like to engage people in conversation and the faculty/staff seemed very approachable.
How did your Elizabethtown education prepare you for your career?
Marvelously!! In pursuit of a call in ministry, I was leaps and bounds ahead of fellow seminarians when I decided to pursue my Masters of Divinity (MDiv.) In my class, there was not a single student who had the opportunity to study biblical Hebrew or any form of Greek prior to seminary! I had both and it made the transition to seminary (where Greek was a first semester course) so easy! Also, the history course that I took helped me in seminary as well.
Also, Elizabethtown, being a Brethren affiliated school, provided me the opportunity to engage other people who had a different denominational or religious background than myself. I am Presbyterian but I had fellow students who were Brethren, Mennonite, non-denominational, Methodist, etc. My understanding of other religions was expanded by the coursework that included an introductory course to world religions as well as classes in Buddhism and Hinduism with Dr. Jeffrey Long.
Tell us about the day-to-day of your career – and, in what ways do you feel you are carrying on the mission of Elizabethtown – where learning is most noble when used to help others?
I am the solo pastor of a small church in Lima, Ohio. I administrate most day-to-day operations of the church which include worship planning, mission planning, church visioning and community relations. The mission of Elizabethtown falls in step with God’s mission. As Christians, we are called to reach out to others to exhibit the love of Christ in a world that is in need of such a transformative message.
What is most memorable from your experience as a Religious Studies major at Elizabethtown?
There are so many delightful memories, it is hard to focus on one! However, I remember being invited (along with some fellow Hebrew students) to Dr. Chris Bucher’s home to celebrate the end of the semester as we presented our final papers. It was a time of fellowship, friendship and academia all wrapped into one!
Another that I will share was hearing my name being called to receive my diploma. I was the token “OLD GUY” on campus so I did not share in many of the same non-academic experiences as my fellow graduates. However, in my 4 years as a Blue Jay, my fellow students grew to respect me, develop relationships with me and realize that the “OLD GUY” wasn’t so bad. This all came together when my name was called and a ROAR from the student body flooded the dell. It was the perfect conclusion to a wonderful collegiate experience.