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Wasaba Sidibay: "Knowing the story of the Satterwhite scholarship is special and a blessing. I am able to be here because of it.”
Wasaba Sidibay, a second year Master of Divinity student, pursued her call to ministry at all costs, even when that meant financial insecurity.
As a Satterwhite Award recipient, Wasaba is grateful for the scholarship that makes studying at Wesley possible. The award is named to honor the memory of Dr. John H. Satterwhite, a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion denomination and the first African American member of the seminary’s faculty hired in the late 1950s. Satterwhite was a national and international faith leader and insisted that ecumenism be interracial.
Originally from Queens, New York, Wasaba desires to give back to the community she came from in the future. Her unique call to ministry focuses on a desire to one day build a community center for African American youth that emphasizes spiritual healing. Like Satterwhite, she also desires to work ecumenically and interreligiously. That aspect of her call is directly related to being raised by a Muslim father and Christian mother, she said.
“What I want to do is promote spiritual and self-awareness, particularly for African American youth,” Wasaba said. “Another concern of mine is to create interreligious spaces to promote dialogue about the different lifestyles and diversity of God’s image. I can see how religion can be divisive, so I want to facilitate spaces where people can be human beings created in the image of God first.”
Wasaba hopes to begin her Practice in Ministry and Mission (PMM) placement this summer at the New Community for Children, a nonprofit that focuses on the academic, social and personal growth of children in Washington, D.C. While there, she hopes to learn grant-writing and nonprofit management skills.
When Wasaba decided to attend Wesley in the spring of 2015, her father did not approve and disassociated himself with her financially. Without his financial support, she wondered how she would be able to pay for seminary. The Satterwhite Award made a path forward.
“Wesley has been a life changing experience,” Wasaba said. “One of the greatest blessings I’ve had here is to know that God is big enough, and he’s big enough to love me. I don’t know if I would have had that experience at any other school. Knowing the story of the Satterwhite scholarship is special and a blessing. I am able to be here because of it.”