MOURNING LOGSDON DURING LENT
By GRACE SOSA
It’s been a week since I found out that my school, Logsdon Seminary, will be closing. It seems that every day offers another blow—another professor learns she’s lost her position. Another university program cut or moved. My emotions range from sad to angry to confused throughout the day. I do not understand.
While I was not a Logsdon student in my undergrad, I got here as quickly as I could. I had the privilege of taking two years of Greek with Dr. Ken Lyle, New Testament with Dr. Meredith Stone, Theology with Dr. Rod Taylor, and an Honors class with Dr. Dan Stiver. I even got to experience a Creative Writing class alongside Dr. Susan Pigott as she pursued an additional master’s degree in English. Each of these professors has either left due to the cuts made last year or have been offered terminal contracts for one final year at Logsdon.
It was in those undergrad classes that I first experienced Logsdon’s affirmation of women in ministry. Attending the annual Baptist Women in Ministry conference, learning from my female professors, and talking to female MDiv students all helped me understand that God calls women to all kinds of ministry, and he just might be calling me as well.
During my first year as an MDiv student here, I have enjoyed classes from Drs. Ellis, Maurer, and Johnson. These professors will also only be offered one-year contracts. I don’t want to make an argument about whether these cuts were financial, theological, or political. Many have spoken to that end. I do want to reflect on the situation at Logsdon in light of the season of Lent, which will begin with Ash Wednesday on Feb.26.
We often think of Lent as a time to give something up—social media, television, sweets. I never wanted to give up Logsdon. It was taken from me. And while I do not think it was God’s will for Logsdon to close, I do know that God can use anything for good. And maybe, just maybe, God will teach me something as I give up this place that means so much to me.
Lent is also a time of mourning. The season begins with Ash Wednesday, where we are reminded that “you are dust and to dust you will return.” We intentionally take the time to remember the death of Christ before rushing to the celebration of the resurrection. I am in a time of mourning now. My seminary is dying. As people wear black when they mourn, my fellow students and I wear Logsdon shirts in remembrance of this place.
I am taking a class on the passion narratives in the synoptic gospels. Every week, Dr. Lyle reminds us how the gospel writers slow down to detail the events of the betrayal, crucifixion, and burial of Christ. Especially in a gospel like Mark, which does not have a resurrection account in its earliest forms, Dr. Lyle asks us, “How is this good news?” They killed our lord. How can that be good news?
I think the answer is that we have a God who suffers with us. God is with my professors who look for jobs to provide for their families. God is with the students who are trying to decide if they will finish at Logsdon or transfer elsewhere. God is with our international students who wonder how this change will affect their status in this country. We all love to celebrate a resurrected lord, a God who will come to our rescue. But I think sometimes the gospel is Jesus on the cross, hurting with us.
I ask for your prayers for the Logsdon community and for the countless other professors and students associated with other majors and minor which will be cut. It is a time of mourning for us. But I have to believe that there can be no resurrection without death.
Grace Sosa is coordinator for children’s ministry at First Central Presbyterian Church and a student at Logsdon Seminary
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