Finding My Way

by Clara King

When I arrived at VST as a lost, young 20-something, I was without any vision or sense of vocation for my life. I loved God, but I didn’t know how to live that love out in this world, in the day-to-day. It was at VST that I learned to love the Church, and the people of the Church, in all our best gifts and our holy mess(es). At VST, I learned to do good ministry–effective, resilient, impactful ministry–to build up the Body of Christ. VST taught me that faith and intellectual creativity are not opposed. We can faithfully explore new possibilities, and how the Spirit is moving in our midst, while valuing and respecting our traditions. I will always be grateful to have gone to a small school (and VST was a very small school in those days). That smallness gave us a real closeness not only with our fellow students, but also with the faculty as they navigated the practicalities and human challenges of creating a rich and faithful learning environment for us. 

VST helped me find a path to walk in my life, both into ordained ministry, and into a journey of continuous curiosity. I learned to enquire what the Holy Spirit is doing in our midst, here and now, and how God is calling the Church into the world. This habit of faithful curiosity brought me directly to where I am today: studying for a PhD in Practical Theology, exploring ways to enhance how we train the leaders in the Church. My dissertation research has the fingerprints of VST all over it. Our historic mainline denominations are struggling, as we all know. But VST reminds us of their best gifts: generous, faithful curiosity; a loving respect for the diversity of our traditions; and a search for what God is doing now, in the world that God so loves. 

I received an excellent education at VST; as a Research Affiliate for 2023-2024 I am looking forward to being part of this outstanding community once again. 

Clara King is a proud graduate of VST (MDiv ’09) and a newly-appointed Research Affiliate. She is a PhD student in Practical Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. For her dissertation, she will be developing and testing a new way of teaching adaptive leadership to clergy in the Anglican, Presbyterian, and United churches in Canada in 2024 and 2025.