Photos taken during the Theology Trek
By Donna Hammond
It all started with an idea – an opportunity for students in seminaries and divinity schools in the Hyde Park area to come together for a joint 5k. Last fall, as we ended our Gospels class, Christin Tomy, a student at Catholic Theological Union, shared an idea about seminaries and theological/divinity schools in the Hyde Park area collaborating to host a 5k walk/run/bike. The response, “Let’s do it! Sounds like fun!” Christin reached out to Dean David Watkins, who responded with a “yes!” Students from McCormick Theological Seminary, Lutheran School of Theology, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago Theological Seminary, and the University of Chicago Divinity School began planning the first Theology Trek 5K Walk/Run/Bike event.
On Saturday, April 1st, 40 participants gathered on the steps of the Lutheran School of Theology for a quick meet and greet before the 5k. Christin Tomy observed that despite the less-than-ideal weather, it was a wonderful event. “We are enormously grateful for the contributions of each school – it was a team effort – everyone chipped in to host, organize, provide food and beverages, and get the word out. To quote Donna Hammond – ‘we are now seminary siblings!’”
McCormick student, Cheryl Williams Sledge, shared, “I had a great time. No rain or snow until I completed my walk (I was the last to finish – BUT I DID IT!). The fellowship and camaraderie was an eventful time well spent. This definitely was a learning experience of all the cultures, countries, and commonalities among the seminaries and their students.”
Erik Boss, a student at the Lutheran School of Theology, met and walked with Cheryl and shared, “Today’s event was years of hoping and organizing all finally coming together. It was my goal, as soon as I got here to Chicago, to utilize the obvious value that so many seminaries being in one place had to offer. The strengthening of ties between institutions, all of which are all doing God’s work to keep the church and schools of theology relevant, is exactly what we need to work on to better serve God as relatives and siblings in Christ.”
For me, this event provided opportunities to connect with a diverse, engaging, and amazing group of people. In our small group of “Trekkers,” were a few seasoned marathon runners, bikers, and walkers and some who were new to participating in a 5k event. It was an ideal bonding experience – people looked out for one another from start to finish. Sharing these moments with our classmates and students from other schools was an invaluable opportunity – one that was indeed worth braving the cold!
We are planning another Theology Trek for Labor Day to kick-off the 2023 fall semester and hope to see more students, faculty, and staff – stay tuned for opportunities to plan and participate in Theology Trek 2! Finally, a huge thank you to the participating schools and students, the Theology Trek planning committee, and Dean David Watkins and Chrisida Anandan for their support and encouragement.