So this fall I was checking out the new look for the PTS website when I saw the posting for the annual Phonathon in the lower right corner of the homepage. I may be in a small select group when I can say I actually get a little excited about the Phonathon.
Thinking about it brings up memories of filling up that lower room with tables and phones and paperwork and alumni volunteers and coffee and food. Somehow all that together works for me. As a student I’d drop by to stuff envelopes, get a cup of Green Mountain, say hi to any alumni I’d know and any help I’d give was greatly appreciated by Carolyn Cranston who headed up the effort. One job I had was calling up donors and thanking them as a student who received aid. It felt good to be able to thank those who had financially helped me and other students.
This time I’m an alumni, by the grace of God, and I find myself waiting for a call and living in Pittsburgh, not too far from the campus to drop by to help. I was looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. I got to call up virtually all of my graduating class, being their first alumni call to contribute to their alma mater. It had only been a few months since I last saw them but I had just finished spending three years in and out of class with this group of people. I ended up leaving many voice mails but I did get to speak to a bunch of people who I got to be excited for as they started in positions of ministry, following God’s call on their lives. Later I got to call other classes including those who were retiring and encouraging me by relating to me the enjoyment of lives well chosen and lived in ministry. There were also those in the midst of their careers who wanted to hear how my journey was at this point.
Volunteering got me back on campus where I got to see good friends that are still in school and taking classes that I still feel very fresh from being in. Scholarship and academics can be difficult, yet I learned so much from all the work that I put into it. There is much I miss from my seminary days, I’m glad I got to continue to be part of this institution and support it in ways that I can.
Written by Paul Spangler ’13, MDiv alumnus