An Environmental Engineer Called to Ministry

Hi, I’m Fiona. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and I’ve spent most of my professional life working in sustainable building design.

My Pilgrim story really began when my son Jack was diagnosed with Autism and mental disabilities and my whole world then changed. My career took a back seat while I balanced parenting, therapies and trying to live as “normal” a life as possible.

This is also where my spiritual journey began, as I longed for some kind of meaning to all that had, and was happening, in my family’s lives. Eventually I found myself at Brunswick Uniting Church, a community alive in worship and mission.

After a couple of years of volunteering at Olive Way, the community “drop-in” space at Brunswick UC, I sensed a call to ministry and began a formal Period of Discernment (POD). That’s when I first enrolled at Pilgrim College. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect!

Coming from my former studies in science and engineering, the contrast with my experiences at Pilgrim has been stark! To begin with, the amount of time invested in ensuring I’m in the right course and have access to the right support has been invaluable.

Also, my own motivation for learning is completely different. Previously it was all about the “piece of paper” at the end and now I’m motivated by a yearning for knowledge and understanding. This has been so very refreshing and nurturing.

My main concern when I started Theological studies was the focus on discussion, argument and essay writing, which I thought would be too challenging for my “left-brain” self. I was particularly worried about the essay-writing bit. But the support and resources available have been invaluable and, as it happens, I’m not so sure I’m so “left-brained” after all! I’m thoroughly enjoying the creative emphasis on “community discernment” that I find myself continually engaged with at Pilgrim.

I’m currently studying for a Grad. Dip. Theology but have just recently attended the Synod Selection Conference (What an amazing experience! But that’s another story) where I was accepted as a candidate for the Ministry of Deacon. So a new, exciting study path in ministry formation begins! I’m very excited to be continuing my journey with Pilgrim and I look forward to meeting fellow candidates and students along the way.