Welcome Back to The New Seminary Blog (2023) from Rev. Pamela Marie. Initially, I was excited to share on The New Seminary Blog. Although I journal frequently, give speeches to hundreds, and provide numerous presentations, I have never posted on a blog. Yet, I sense that taking my ministry to the next level is sharing through writing. Then a few days later I was selected to go first. “Oh my. I am going to go first … Why?”

“Is it because I responded first? Or is it something else? God, Great Spirit, Source Ugh!!!”

Perhaps, as this year’s class President, it would be a wise choice for me to go first. Still Ugh!!!

Yet okay, I will allow my light to shine not only through my voice but also through my written words. You see, I prefer speaking rather than writing.

As I work through my apprehension, and my resistance, let me continue on about the amazingness of The New Seminary and the light it shines as an interfaith institution regionally, nationally, and internationally. From my initial enrollment in 2006 pursuing ordination as interfaith, I was awed by my classmates who lived and worked in New York City or were from the Caribbean or Hawaii or other states like California or Montana. We had all responded to a call, a nudging to develop and further our spiritual practices to serve those who need or seek guidance, presence, and expansion. We gathered monthly, (before Zoom), on W. Broadway in New York City. I had made it to Broadway! Many years after my ordination, I have now returned to The New Seminary to receive my Doctorate of Ministry.

What is my ministry? Ministry of Presence. Overall, my ministry is eclectic and parallels the essence of TNS.  A Ministry of Presence, rooted in Christian theology but not limited to, can simply mean being there when a person needs you. Like being there when a friend needs a ride to work 10 miles, and you need to go and care for your mother who is also 10 miles away but in the opposite direction. Yet,  through miraculous, synchronous efforts you accomplish both. Or simply holding space while riding a public bus to work, or holding space in a meeting with later recognition from the Director with gratitude. Growing up I wanted to be similar to the CBS anchor in “On the road with Charles Kurult”. He traveled across the United States, featuring people and their stories.

There are a lot of people who are doing wonderful things, quietly, with no motive of greed or hostility toward other people, or delusions of superiority. -Charles Kuralt

Besides Kuralt, I believe my Ministry of Presence is reflective of the Dutch theologian, Henri Nouwen found in his later year’s quote:

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence.” –Henri Nouwe

I could talk more about the Ministry of Presence. How I see it showing up in our society now in institutions of Higher Education through efforts in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging departments. Moreso,  I believe I am heeding my call and building my framework. I am emerging now. I am becoming courageous. I am embracing my innate leadership qualities. They are real, not perfect. I no longer need to see myself as a perpetual caterpillar, crawling on shaking branches. I am emerging like a butterfly, flying freely, fertilizing flowers, and bringing joy to all who see.

Thank you for reading these words. I hope they informed you, touched you, or possibly vexed you. But after getting over my own resistance, it is an honor, a service to be the first post to The New Seminary Blog. I look forward to reading future posts.

Rev. Pamela Marie Allen, with The Divine Spiritual Consultancy, was ordained in 2008 through TNS and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry.