PHOTO: MOuSSa FaDDOuL ( FOTOReFLeCTIOn.COM)
Going to seminary for the first time –
at 50 – can be a bit daunting. Our writer
signs up, fears and all, and is surprised
by what she finds. By Patricia Paddey
Patricia Paddey in the
library at McMaster
Iimagined myself a sort of Indiana Jones, who – though admit- tedly rickety in his last movie – still had a noble quest to pur- sue. My own quest would involve travel – not to some far-off mysterious land filled with danger – but to seminary. At 50. Receiving definite confirmation such a course of study
would have God’s blessing was thrilling. Getting accepted into
the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program at McMaster
Divinity College (in Hamilton, Ont.) represented a decades-long
dream of pursuing theological studies come true.
Even as I tried to quash niggling fears I just might have bitten
off more than I could chew, I admit I also felt bold and brave –
and maybe even a teensy bit proud of myself – for attempting it.
After all, it’s been almost 30 years since I completed my undergraduate degree.
I screwed up my courage and made peace with the idea of
being something of a trailblazer, an adventurer sans fedora, readily going where few my age had gone before. I would dare to
wrestle with hard questions, and learn new truths about God as
I explored the hallowed corridors of divinity school, surrounded
by earnest youngsters.
I didn’t expect to be the only “mature” student in semin-
ary. But I was shocked to learn that I was, in fact, a relative
latecomer to an already well-established trend. According to
the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), which includes
more than 250 graduate schools in the United States and Can-
ada, Baby Boomers constitute the fastest-growing generational
group among seminarians today.