Simon started searching for a program and was drawn to UD’s online and in-person format. After beginning classes at UD, he knew that he had made the right decision: The classes taught him both the concepts and the practical applications that follow.
While Simon found the speculative theology and philosophy classes quite interesting, he admits they were difficult at first.
“The abstract questions, the messy history of answering these questions across the history of the Church, and the sometimes opaque answers required quite a shift in reading, thinking and writing for me,” he said.
Perhaps the most unique experience Simon had over the course of his time at UD was the opportunity to study in the Holy Land, focusing specifically on history, archaeology and biblical interpretation.
“Studying these subjects in the context of the Holy Land made Scripture and theology come alive for me,” he said.
As a tangible culmination of his studies abroad, Simon completed a final project on the Dead Sea Scrolls, a particular curiosity of his. He wrote a research paper on how the scrolls aid New Testament interpretation by illuminating the first-century Jewish context within which the Gospels were written.
These learning experiences during his time at UD were made complete by the wholesome community.
“From my professors, I learned not only content and skills, but I was a witness to what the love of Christ and service to others looks like,” he said.
One of Simon’s projects — observing a small Christian community at another parish — had to be completed over Zoom, which of course is not ideal. Thankfully, however, Simon’s experience at UD was not heavily influenced by COVID-19 due to the spring semester’s classes already being online.
Simon has already begun applying his degree to the workforce as Director of Operations at St. Gabriel the Archangel parish in McKinney, a role that he began last summer prior to graduation. He is grateful for his time at UD and is looking forward to applying his degree in a variety of pastoral situations, including supporting new initiatives to enhance the parish’s adult formation programs.
“The MTS program will help me to better support our pastor and make me a better contributor to our parish leadership team,” he said.