Ayana Teter Assists Students in Discerning Their Calls to Service for Christ
In December 2018, the Seminary welcomed the Rev. Ayana Teter as our first director of vocational discernment and placement—a position deemed important by our community and incorporated into our current Strategic Plan.
With an M.Div. from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and recent service as associate church consultant with The Board of Pensions of the PC(U.S.A.), Ayana has felt “called to create an environment of prayerful communication where congregations and judicatory members are invited to see their life, circumstances, and work in the light of Christ’s call to discipleship.” And she “looks forward to pursuing this vocation through walking alongside students at Pittsburgh Seminary.”
But even before accepting her new directorship, Ayana had a close connection with PTS. For a number of years, she has served on the advisory boards of the Metro-Urban Institute and World Mission Initiative, and she has partnered with the Church Planting Initiative “in some way at every step” through her involvement with the PC(U.S.A.)’s 1001 New Worshiping Communities movement; currently, she is coaching a group of students in our Church Planting and Revitalization certificate program.
Ayana felt drawn to her new position here “because of the importance of spiritual formation at every stage of a pastor’s journey.” She continues, “I believe there is a preciousness to being set apart for particular service to God, and I feel deeply called to accompany Christian leaders on that journey of discernment—to helping people connect more deeply to where Jesus is leading us.”
Several aspects of Ayana’s professional life make her uniquely qualified to aid students in discerning their individual calls to service for Christ: her 12 years of pastoral experience (as associate executive presbyter for Pittsburgh Presbytery, co-associate pastor at Mattituck PC, Mattituck, N.Y., and co-pastor and head of staff at South-Broadland PC in Kansas City, Mo.); her extensive contacts through service on other boards (including Jack and Jill of America Inc., Made to Flourish Network, Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute, Heartland and Long Island presbyteries, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and more); and her pursuit of formal and clinical education in family and consumer sciences (at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and of continuing education in the areas of new church development, urban leadership, religious fund raising, anti-racism training, and clinical pastoral education.
Because of Ayana’s varied experience and expertise, she has been invited to lead retreats and make presentations on such diverse topics as community in the way of Jesus, self-care, and planting churches in multiethnic contexts. “Pittsburgh Seminary has a renewed commitment to deep engagement with Christian leaders as we discern together Jesus’ desire for His Church today,” Ayana notes. “That I have the privilege of collaborating with a host of leaders throughout the Seminary community—all committed to the same purpose—is a true gift from God.”