Since accepting her call to ministry, so much has changed for Olivia Gross, now a rising third- year student in the Master of Divinity program at Wesley. In addition to continuing her studies, she has been appointed as Pastor of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, MD, while still serving full-time as an Administrator with the Greater Washington District of the Baltimore- Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. Even though Gross has always wanted to be a pastor, she admits, “My assignment sort of came out of the blue, everything happened quickly. There wasn’t a whole lot of time to process what had happened.”
Very soon after her appointment, she was in the pulpit preaching for the first time on Communion Sunday. “I felt that I was kind of coming full circle, that the whole purpose of me going to seminary was to serve, and here it is God was giving me the opportunity to serve.” As for her church family, “it’s a small membership church; they just welcomed me, just like when I started at Wesley.”
Regarding her second year of studies, Gross reports, “Things went going well. I’m not as wide- eyed as I was when I first started. I kind of know what is being expected of us and what it entails.” When comparing her second year to her first year, she confides “I was not as intimidated by the readings and the assignments; I was not as afraid to open up and ask questions if not sure about something, so I see I am more comfortable being in that environment.”
As for some of her favorite classes so far, Gross says, “I loved the Biblical Interpretation studies; I loved Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and just being able to learn in the diverse community that I find at Wesley, because they are all different ages, gender, and people from all over the world. It’s an awesome opportunity.”
When asked if she would still choose Wesley, Gross emphatically said, “Yes, I would choose Wesley without a shadow of a doubt, and the reason is I remember the first day we were there for Orientation. After we were welcomed, we sat in one of Dr. Carla Works' New Testament classes. I just felt as if I was where I belonged; I just felt that’s where God wanted me to be.”
For those that are considering Wesley, but may be concerned about their age and/or returning back to school after a long period of time, Gross shares her outlook, “This is between me and God, and I have to admit that somedays I even question God. I mean, God, are you sure you want me to do this? And so, I am not even certain where all of this will lead, but as older students, I also think we have the benefit of hindsight, and experience and, prayerfully, some wisdom. My main point is that don’t get hung up on those that are telling you that you shouldn’t do this. As long as we’re breathing, God has a place for all of us!”
Are you ready to step out in faith, and try a class at Wesley? You can take classes as a non-degree student, while you discern God's call on your life. Learn more at https://wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/try-a-class-2/.