Sarah Patterson [MTS 2011, DMin 2014] realized something rather unique about herself while pursuing a post-graduate degree in journalism at Ryerson University. “For me, coming to the end of a story and having it published meant that I didn’t get to hear the rest of the story. That really bothered me.” This revelation prompted her to pursue a calling that would bring fulfilment to her life and allow her to make an impact.
“Spiritual Direction is a narrative-based discipline,” says Sarah. So it was natural that God led her into this ministry, where she could be a part of the greater narrative of people’s lives.
During her Master of Theological Studies practicum at Tyndale, she realized that “many pastors are pastorless.” Her Doctor of Ministry thesis looked at how the “discipline of spiritual direction can facilitate a pastor’s relationship with God, their calling and their congregation.” In a sense, she became a pastor for pastors.
One pastor told Sarah that without a Spiritual Director she couldn’t continue in ministry. “It was that important to her,” says Sarah.
Experiencing the diverse community at Tyndale prepared Sarah for her unique role in the church as one of the first ordained Spiritual Directors in her denomination. “The Tyndale community shaped how I respond to the differing theologies within spiritual direction, as it is multicultural, multidenominational and theologically diverse,” she says. For her, classes were “rich and diverse,” at times giving her a euphoric feeling of excitement about what she was learning.
Her hope is to be able to take her research to a wider body of Christian leaders. “I would love to reach leaders in other denominations who are in charge of caring for their pastors and talk about my research.”
“This would go a long way to help pastors make sense of their stories” – the same way Sarah has been able to make sense of her own story while studying at Tyndale.