Farewell from Alyssa Anten
As my internship is nearing its end, I have been doing a lot of reflecting and consequently a lot of thanking God for the gift that Hope Church has been for me. Each one of you has been a significant piece of this journey for me by being the body of Hope Church. Hope Church has embraced me from day one, has understood me, and chose to carry me along. Hope Church has vividly demonstrated the body of Christ to me. You have been a supportive and gracious learning environment that has allowed me to experiment, try new things, and ultimately learn a great deal about my gifts for ministry. I have learned so much from each of you and the ways that you impact your own corners of our community. I have often boasted of Hope Church as “containing a high caliber of people.” I have been inspired by many of you, as you have revealed all of the possibilities of what ministry can be. All of this to say, I have been blessed to know the body of Hope Church. I am beyond thankful for all of you and the impact you have had on my journey.
The next step of my journey is graduate school at Michigan State University. I will begin a 12-month Master’s of Social Work Program this summer. I will finish at MSU in time to graduate with my cohort of seminarians next spring! In my social work program, I will be focusing on Organizations and Community Leadership, and interning at HQ, a teen drop-in center in Grand Rapids. My hope for after graduation would be working as a community organizer, ideally a church organizer around a particular social justice issue. I will remain living in Grand Rapids with my husband, CJ, and commute to East Lansing. There is a possibility you will still see us around because we have become so comfortable at Hope Church! Otherwise, we will be searching for a church community here in Grand Rapids.
Regardless of where we end up attending church next year, or where I end up in 10 years, Hope Church will always hold a special place in my heart. Hope Church will always be where I preached for the first time, where I fell in love with a high liturgical environment, and where I found theology and social justice intermingling. I am so grateful, and want to express that to each of you individually through this. I have been blessed by the entire body of Hope Church.
~Alyssa Anten (Western Theological Seminary Intern)