Check out the latest alumni spotlight of one of our newest Central alums, LeAundra Stewart-Boyice, MDiv'21, in her own words!
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was involved in a ministry planted by my wife, Rev. Dionne Boyice, which housed people who have been morally injured by the church. Although COVID brought about an abrupt cease to in-person worship, our ministry WHOSOEVER Community of F.A.I.T.H (Finding Answers in the Hurt), had a strong internet presence that continues to grow.
The challenges COVID has brought to my life, ministry, and seminary studies are not unique to challenges faced by many of us during this time. The biggest challenge I faced in my personal life was isolation. I love the fellowship that comes with not only ministry, but in everyday life. In ministry, social distancing, masks, and other preventative methods threatened the close ties church families shared with each other. COVID, also, placed a strain on students in different areas. The devastation COVID brought to families all over the world allowed our hearts and minds to become distracted from our studies.
Overcoming the challenges of COVID began when we were forced to do ministry in different ways. It allowed many of us to realize that God is not confined to the walls of a church and that can not allow it to restrict our compassion for others. Although COVID brought about a physical separation, God allowed us to use this as a catalyst to "shake things up" in ministry by taking God out of a box many of us placed God in. COVID allowed us to use the time of quarantine to become closer to our families and spend time getting to know God on a more personal level. Central became a large part of overcoming the stress of COVID by reaching out to all students to offer comfort and support in ways that may have been overlooked by other institutions.
My experiences at Central have been matchless to those I have ever experienced in my educational background. There have been many courses and professors who have impacted my life. However, the two that stand out for me were Biblical Interpretation taught by the Rev. Dr. Wallace S. Hartsfield and Justice in Ministry Education course taught by the Rev. Jessica Williams. Biblical Interpretation challenged and expanded my theological beliefs not just because of the content but also by the deep wisdom and integrity of the teachings from Dr. Wallace. Secondly, Rev. Williams taught from her heart of compassion that humanized Justice in Ministry in such a way that compelled me to understand more fully the needs of the marginalized and to become a fearless voice to a hurting community.
My hope for ministry after graduation is that I may be able to utilize the information I have been equipped with to continue to do the work of Christ in which I was called in a more compassionate and knowledgeable manner.
I would like the Central community to know they are in the most capable hands to assist them in completing the work God has placed on their lives. Central is not just an institution of higher spiritual learning, it is truly a place that shows impeccable personal care, love, and compassion in an effort to propel each student to a successful life in whatever ministry they have been called.