Desiree McCray (pictured) is a participant in the dual degree program at Princeton Theological Seminary where she is studying to complete a Master of Divinity and a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University.
Originally from Chicago IL, Desiree holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in Business. Desiree found Wesley while searching Princeton’s website. It was there that she came across information regarding Wesley’s National Capital Semester for Seminarians Program (NCSS). “When I saw it I thought, ‘wow I’m really interested in politics and, of course, I’m a person of faith, so I was excited to see how those intersections would affect my learning” said Desirée. Below she shares her experience of being a Wesley student during COVID-19:
Studying While Coping with Covid-19
“My experience at Wesley until Covid-19 was great! I enrolled in a preaching course and an art course outside of the NCSS curriculum. I am an artist so being able to view both art and faith together was very fruitful for my learning,” said Desiree. While studying at Wesley, Covid-19 caused an abrupt change of experience for Desiree. “Once Covid-19 hit our area, I had a very surreal moment. While I was concerned for my family, I also didn’t want to put them at risk for exposure given that I’d been away; not being able to be with them was tough. However, it was safer for me to be here in community,” remembered Desiree. “While here at Wesley I wasn’t alone and I felt community in spite of Covid-19. I’ve connected with some great people such as Lamika Weiss, who was also in NCSS. She would check on me and it made me feel like someone cared; that was wonderful. I’ve also made friends with many fellow Wesley students who have given me great feedback. Though it can be difficult at times to receive criticism, I knew that they were genuine and humble in their critique and it helped me to grow as a preacher and as an artist this semester,” shared Desiree.
Takeaways from Covid-19 and how it is affecting ministry
Covid-19 has brought a deeper meaning to the word relationship for Desiree. “I’ve learned the importance of valuing the people closest to you and your loved ones because you never know what could happen next. I have also realized that you never truly know all of what people are going through,” said Desiree. “There’s been a lot of changes recently, some have experienced loss and many are food insecure. For me, I’ve realized that though the times are uncertain, we serve a certain God. A God who knows our end before our beginning and I think that it is this notion and my faith that has kept me in good spirits even through the Covid-19 pandemic,” shared Desiree.