As I get to know the Central Baptist Theological Seminary community, I want you to hear some of the amazing stories that I am hearing. To share those stories with you, I am “interviewing” students, alums, faculty, staff, board members, and supporters and sharing an interview on my blog, THIS IS CENTRAL. I invite you to join me on the journey of meeting members of our Central community.
Today’s interview is with Angela Lowe, a graduate of Central and a current board member.
Angela, tell us about your Central origin story. How did you come to be connected with Central and to serve on its board of trustees?
During the summer of 1997 I sensed a call to chaplaincy after hearing a female army chaplain's faith journey at a conference center. That fall I participated in an eight-week Clinical Pastoral Orientation at the Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. I remember the director of pastoral care stating, "After the completion of your CPO, you will have acquired enough hours to qualify for seminary credit." My comment was "I've already earned a Master of Religious Education degree. I'm not sure if I want to go back to seminary." Little did I know that I would be standing in the fall orientation line at Central the following year.
It's always amazing how our Triune God works in our lives through relationships. Prior to applying for seminary, I made an appointment with my financial advisor to discuss my investment portfolio. I confided in him that I was going to begin working on a Master of Divinity degree, yet I didn't know which seminary to attend. During that conversation, he recommended that I look into Central Baptist Theological Seminary because Molly Marshall had been his youth minister when she was on staff at Pulaski Heights Baptist Church. The rest is history! I remember standing in the orientation line beside Day Lane (also now a board member) that hot humid August morning. I was assigned to Dr. Marshall as my faculty advisor. Her friendly personality consoled my homesick heart with warm genuine assurance and confidence. I had lived and served in Arkansas for thirteen years. It was difficult to leave my friends, my church, and a state that I had grown to love.
During the spring semester I sat beside Janie Fickle during a three-hour evening church history course. Now, we serve together on Central's board of trustees.
Dr. Marshall asked me to consider serving on the board while I was still working at LMH Health in Lawrence, Kansas, as the manager of spiritual care. She was aware that I was planning on taking early retirement. I began serving on the board in May 2017. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve as chair of the governance committee. For me personally, serving on the board is a way of expressing my gratitude to Central and helping ensure the seminary's legacy to the students yet to enroll in theological education.
Tell us about your life's journey.
I'm a native of Colorado. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be raised in a loving Christian home where faith and family were the priority. My formative years were spent in an oil and natural gas community that had some of the finest education opportunities in the state. My parents were charter members of my home church. My father literally helped build, with a hammer and nails, our church building. My mother was the volunteer church secretary, Woman's Missionary Union director, Vacation Bible School director, and church camp coordinator, and she always assisted in meal preparations for "Dinner on the Grounds." I'm the oldest daughter and have two younger sisters. We lavish retelling our childhood stories to my middle sister's children and grandchildren. The foundational blocks of serving God, loving family, helping neighbors, sharing garden produce, working together, and staying in school were instilled in my life at an early age. A part of my heart will always reside in the desert oilfield and arid mountains of the Western Slope of Colorado.
What do you believe are Central's best gifts and greatest strengths?
I believe Central's best gifts are the ongoing networks that are strengthened through faculty/student and alumni/ae relationships. Central continues to grow and expand on a personal, global, and horizonal level. I'm grateful for presidential leadership from the past and present which keeps Central on the cutting edge of theological education. Enlisting outstanding leaders to offer seminars and to speak at Commencement plus our Sacred Arts Chorale performances are opportunities to draw the Central family closer to the Spirit's yearning to draw us closer to our calling to serve Christ, church, and humanity. I especially enjoy the fellowship of God's people gathered at Commencement. Hearing the spoken Word in various languages truly brings it home that Central is reaching its arms and heart around the globe.
What is bringing you joy in this hard season of COVID-19?
The "new normal" of the pandemic has been spending safe-distancing time with close friends in their respective homes. I miss the warm hugs, yet we'll have a vaccine someday, we pray. I've enjoyed working on several online photo projects, completing DIY home projects, working in my vegetable garden, bike riding with friends, sharing porch visits over tea, as well as helping friends pack boxes and relocate to their new home. I'm currently in the process of selling my house to relocate to another community neighborhood to share a home with my traveling buddy and dear friend, Carol Ann Holcomb (former board member). After I'm immunized with the vaccine, I look forward to traveling to the Northwest to see my sister and her family again. My great niece and nephew are growing up too fast. I appreciate seeing their photos and hearing their voices on Facebook and Facetime, yet I long for an in-person warm hug. I miss greeting and hugging the congregants in my faith community. I don't believe I'll take face-to-face worship services for granted again. My daily prayer continues to be healing from COVID-19 and racial justice for our nation and world.