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Seminary News

Thrilled to Return

Returning to campus this year required a great deal of preparation. Everyone’s focus was on being ready with necessary ways to cope with the pandemic, while maintaining health and safety for students, faculty, and staff—priorities for North Park.

Two students in the Seminary’s Master of Divinity (MDiv) program, who are eager to graduate in December, were excited to return to campus. They’re confident that North Park is taking the best approaches with safety planning and protocols.

Man in blue plaid dress shirtHarun Kunyu S’20 has missed in-person classes and interaction with other students and professors. Social interaction is so important, he says, “because we are all social beings created to interact and socialize with others.”

The opportunity to earn his MDiv degree “means a lot. I am getting the necessary training I need for ministry. I served in ministry before in my country Kenya but without having had theological training,” he says. This fall, Kunyu will take three courses: Old Testament III, Christian Ethics, and Greek Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching.

man in black glasses, blue plaid dress shirt and black jacketArthur Nazario S’20 has been balancing his work as a chaplain with Corporate Chaplains of America and completing his MDiv, along with a Certificate in Transformative Justice. He wants to continue his chaplaincy work and also hopes to serve those who are marginalized and victims of trauma and loss.

Nazario also has missed the Seminary community—students and “top-notch” professors, as well as the inside students at Stateville Correctional Center whom he met while working on his certificate. “Without a doubt, the value of the Seminary community has been essential in my journey of self-discovery,” he says. “Being part of the Seminary has also helped me become a better husband, father, friend, and servant.”

“Without a doubt, the value of the Seminary community has been essential in my journey of self-discovery” – Arthur Nazario S’20

Both Kunyu and Nazario credit the Seminary for excellent support that enabled them to complete the spring semester, after North Park’s campus was closed in compliance with Chicago’s stay at home order.

“North Park knocked it out of the park when it came to online courses,” says Nazario. Professor Hauna Ondrey “familiarized herself with the online platform and quickly ironed out all the kinks. She prepared a special PowerPoint presentation that made it very clear how and what we needed to do. It was a great experience.”

Kunyu says his challenge last spring was completing his internship from home with Chicago Methodist Senior Services. He also was balancing his work schedule while “getting adjusted to new online requirements” for his Greek II class. He worked with the Field Education department and says that “without their support and understanding, it would have been very difficult for me to complete my internship.”

After graduation, Kunyu will move to St. Louis to serve as an associate pastor in Christ Covenant Church, which supported his studies at North Park Theological Seminary. Kunyu says that his Seminary degree is preparing him to be an effective minister in preaching, teaching, counseling, and other ministerial duties.