A word from one of CBF Florida's ministerial scholarship students
By Claire Kermitz
As a seminary student I often get asked the question, “Where’s home for you?” What is your home church? In what city? After two years of being asked these questions I have perfected my elevator speech: “I was raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and grew up at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church under the leadership of Dr. Jack Snell. It is a great church and I am incredibly lucky to have grown up there.” The dialogue typically flows on from there with realizing the people that we both know, and in the span of a few minutes, a web of connections and a network of individuals and churches becomes visible. I think Suzii Paynter describes CBF perfectly as a denominetwork.
As I was looking at Seminaries I was drawn to CBF partner schools because of this denominetwork. I felt at home when I toured and visited with people from McAfee School of Theology. There is a comfort in stepping into a new place and recognizing that the same network of churches, non-profits, and individuals that provided support through prayer and encouragement, still exists in a new environment.
I experienced this type of comfort when I worked at Touching Miami with Love (TML) and The Well at Springfield, through CBF’s Student.Go initiative. While working long days in the summer heat of Miami, CBF partner churches would come and love on the TML children and youth, while also encouraging those of us serving on the summer staff. Each week I was rejuvenated by the grace, love and compassion of those church members. While working at The Well at Springfield, a missional church start in downtown Jacksonville, I saw how a single idea for a church plant could develop support and energy from all over the United States.
My experience in CBF life gives me great hope for the future as I prepare to graduate from seminary this May and step into full-time ministry at a CBF church. I am excited to carry the denominetwork with me and create more webs of support and encouragement with those I encounter along my journey.