Nineteen of 21 students were commissioned Tuesday, Feb. 7, by Campbell University's Divinity School. They are from many different age groups and backgrounds with one thing in common. They have all received a call. Elsie Peterson, 75, of Leland, N.C., is retired from the North Carolina Department of Social Services. She has worked with the children and youth in her church, Goshen Baptist, for many years and is now enrolled in the Divinity School's Certification in Ministry for Children and Youth program. Her blue eyes sparkled as she explained that even at this late date in her life, God called her to continue in children and youth ministry. "He has not let me forget about it even though I've had some rough circumstances along the way," she said. "He has always brought it back to my attention, so here I am on this journey." A uniformed security guard in the New York State Correctional system, Elaine Miller's light-hearted sense of humor belies the seriousness of her former job. An Episcopalian, Elaine moved south to be near her two sons and start a new career. "I wanted to do something else with my life," she said. Miller, who resides in Lillington, researched Campbell University online and found that, even though she wasn't a Baptist, she would be accepted. "They allow different thoughts and opinions here, and I was drawn to that," she said. Elaine will pursue a Master of Divinity in hopes of going into counseling and chaplaincy. On the other hand, Vickie Woods was already familiar with the Campbell Divinity School. A 2001 Campbell graduate, Woods received a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in business. "I knew first hand that Campbell had an excellent divinity school," she said. "Naturally, it was my first choice." Woods, of Bunnlevel, is former military and currently works for the state. "I sensed God's call to preach," she said. "But I will do whatever He wants me to do." Keynote speaker Derek Hogan, theological librarian and instructor in New Testament at Campbell, gave the charge of service to the students. He explained that in the Gospel of John, Jesus is careful to say to his disciples that he is not praying for his followers to be taken out of the world but to be a part of the world, where he knows they will face rejection and suffering just as he did. "May the confidence and boldness with which Jesus sends us be ours as well," Hogan said. "And may we with the guidance of the Holy Spirit be the living witness of the love of God in the world." There are currently 209 students enrolled in the Campbell Divinity School, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Photo Copy: From left, Elaine Miller, Vickie Woods and Elsie Peterson fellowship with each other moments before they were commissioned by the Campbell Divinity School on Tues., Feb. 7.