News Archive

Students Engage DC, Mission and Textbooks During Fall Reading Week

Nov 08 2011

The week of October 10 – 14 was ‘Reading Week’ at Wesley Seminary. Held every fall, ‘Reading Week’ is a week with no classes to give students an opportunity to catch up on assignments and prepare for midterm examinations that are typically held the following week. Many Wesley students spend this week precisely as its name suggests – reading or otherwise studying.

Third-year Master of Arts student Heather Smith spent reading week much like she spends any other week at Wesley – busy at work. Besides writing a paper due the next week, studying for a midterm, and keeping up on her normal class reading, Heather also spends two a days a week at WATER – the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, the organization for which she interns as part of the Practice in Ministry and Mission program at Wesley – and another 15 hours a week at her part time job at Crate and Barrel. For Heather the reading week “break” was hardly observed. “I felt like I was still in school,” she said.

Other students use the week as a chance to get away from campus and escape the rigors of books and paper-writing. Some students use the break from class to visit family and friends back home, to become better acquainted with life and culture in Washington, DC, or to participate in other events or activities outside of the Washington, DC beltway.

First-year Master of Divinity student Robert King found time during the week to rest and to explore some of the Smithsonian museums on the national mall – a first-time experience for this Georgia native. Robert, who had been looking forward to visiting the museums since moving to DC, said he was glad reading week finally gave him the time and opportunity to do so.    

Second-year Master of Divinity student Jana Hogg also took advantage of the recess to break from routine; she spent the week with six other members of Fairfax United Methodist Church in Virginia on a mission trip to Henderson Settlement, a Red Bird missionary institution in the Appalachia region of Kentucky. Jana and the others from the church spent most of the week volunteering at the Settlement’s thrift store – a primary source of goods, appliances, and furniture for many of the community members living around the settlement. The group also spent time visiting and learning about the Settlement’s other mission areas – the agricultural and livestock farms, orchard, senior center, and new mothers’ support and assistance group.  Jana said she also used the trip as a chance for rest and rejuvenation. “There was no cell phone reception, and I didn’t bring my computer. I did some reading for class – but I only brought a couple books,” she said. Instead, Jana was able to enjoy group devotion time, listen to blue grass music, and take time to reflect on and process the first half of the semester.

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