Anthony Damelio '12 M.Div.
Fordham University, B.A. 2008
Well, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It seems like eons ago that I decided to attend Yale Divinity School; and at that time, I remained convinced that my vocational path lay in the land of faith-based non-profits that walk with those who suffer the most at the hands of our political, economic, and social systems. I surely did not imagine myself as a church pastor! Even during my first year here, I remained adamant that I was “keeping my options open,” all the while continuing the ordination process.
But my internal tectonic plates began to shift during my first-year courses in Hebrew Bible and systematic theology. I was encouraged to interpret the Scriptures in new and radical ways and to craft my own theological views in conversation with not only Barth and Rahner but also feminist, womanist, and other liberationist theologians. The following year, during my two preaching courses, a new voice leapt out from somewhere deep inside of me, and I discovered a different way of expressing how the Bible lays a very important claim on our lives—and calls us to live justly with all our sisters and brothers. And now after several seminars on race, class, gender, sexuality, I look forward to a ministry that will be bound up in the sufferings and joys of the “least of these.”
I feel very blessed to begin my ministry as a resident pastor for the next three years at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA. A joint effort of the Lilly Foundation and the Fund for Theological Education’s Transition into Ministry Program, this pastoral residency will allow me to serve in all the roles of a traditional associate pastor while also creating an intentional transition space from the work of YDS to that of a local congregation.
I intend to bring all the knowledge and experience of this wonderful institution to my work at Central and my ministry in Atlanta. I give thanks especially for what has remained constant throughout my three years at YDS: the presence of peers and professors who have walked with me in this experience, encouraging and supporting, critiquing and pushing, teaching and listening. In the period after YDS, I seek to hold together my life experiences and my time here, in hopes that my ministry in the near future and throughout the years to come might be an active part of God’s re-creation of our world.