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What RTS Means to Me - by Kathryn Roelofs
June 14, 2012
Some might view the end of seminary studies as the “start of official ministry.” But as my seminary studies, God willing, will come to close at the end of this academic school year, I look back at my life and see that my experiences and work thus far has not only prepared me for what lies ahead, but was itself “ministry” in a very tangible way.
Music has always been my passion and I began piano lessons, violin lessons and singing at a very young age. I started accompanying worship services at my church and chapel services at my school in middle school and was fascinated at how music is such a powerful way God’s people are able to worship him. With the exception of choral singing, worship is the one time where people gather together from all places, races, generations and languages and collectively lift their voices in song. I was struck by this yet again when my two and half year old son, Benjamin, sat with my husband for the first time in a worship service. He looked around amazed at the sounds of singing and tried to clap along and raise his hands along with all God’s people.
I continued in service to the church throughout high school and when it came time to decide about college, there was no question that music would be my field of study. I graduated from Calvin College in 2006 with a degree in music and worship- the first year this degree had been offered. It was a combined degree with classes in theology and music. While at Calvin, I served on staff part time at West Leonard Street Christian Reformed Church as their director of music and worship. I also interned during for a year at Faith Alive Christian Resources doing music editing for a children’s songbook “Sing With Me.” In the rest of my spare time, I worked at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship as a student assistant.
After graduation, I married my husband, Brian, and we moved out to Baltimore, MD so he could pursue a PhD at Johns Hopkins University in biochemistry. In the fall of that year (2006), I began work at the Washington DC Christian Reformed Church as their director of music and worship. In the spring of 2007, I sustained a classical examination through our local classis, and was given the title of “Ministry Associate.”
I intended to pursue further education post-undergraduate work, but spent a year prayerfully considering either seminary or a Masters in music. I began coursework at the Washington DC campus of Reformed Theological Seminary in the fall of 2008. I have thoroughly enjoyed my studies at RTS Washington DC and found them to be stimulating not only intellectually but also spiritually. I have viewed each course as an opportunity to learn more about God and his Word, and also to strengthen my ability to serve God’s people in my current role. The majority of my papers have been focused on areas that pertain to my job; a paper on the Belhar Confession which our denomination will vote to adopt in June and a paper on the regulative principle of worship. On the whole, these years of study have been fruitful and an incredible blessing.
I hope to finish coursework in this next academic school year and graduate with a Master of Arts in Religion in May. I look forward to continued ministry in the church, working with the many gifts that God has bestowed upon his people.
By Kathryn Roelofs
Student in the Master of Arts (Religion) program of
Reformed Theological Seminary Washington DC