The Heat Is On

Published: June 18, 2014

Part of our continued Summer Blog Series, you will read experiences from students who are participating in summer internships. This week you’ll hear from a student who is an intern at Reynolda Church, EPC (Evangelical Presbyterian Church), which is located less than a mile from Wake Forest’s main entrance. One thousand people call it home and assemble in several different worship settings each weekend.  They gather together to grow in a shame-free environment, to participate in vibrant worship, and to hear God’s timeless words proclaimed in fresh and winsome ways. 

Reynolda Church, EPC; Photo by Live View Studios

Ah the foothills of North Carolina. The heat is sweltering, Bowman Gray racing is in season, and blockbusters are hitting the theaters. It’s summer time in Winston-Salem. It is my first summer here in the Tarheel state, and perhaps more importantly, my first summer working in congregational ministry. Reynolda EPC is one of the oldest churches in Winston-Salem (complete assumption) and I get the opportunity to spend vast quantities of my time working under their executive pastor. This work includes odds and ends such as arranging libraries and shopping for new shelving, as well as the more robust projects such as editing the Sunday school curriculum for Middle and High School students, and assisting in launching a new podcast based on the intersection of pop culture and Christianity.

I’ve had little time to collect my thoughts with the fast pace of things, but it is crystal clear that this summer will be key in discerning my future vocation. Coming into Divinity School, I had no idea about what I would do post-seminary life. However, this past December I had the opportunity to sit in on Wake Div’s “Pathways in Ministry: Chaplaincy” and heard from an Army Chaplain about the ministry of military chaplaincy. Upon further investigation, I started the process to be an Air Force Chaplain, and was sworn in this past May into the Air Force Reserves. However, I still must decide: what do I do as a career while in the Reserves? Pastoral ministry? Non-Profit? WWE Wrestling? Only time will tell, but I hope to have a much better idea by the time August rolls around due to my internship.

I was unsure what Wake Divinity would have in store for me when I first walked through those extremely heavy wooden doors into Wait Chapel last August. As one of the most conservative theological students attending, I was nervous, excited and anxious about what my time in seminary would hold. After a year filled with conversations, papers, exams and as many free community lunches as I could get, I believe that Wake Forest has given me and will continue to give me the best possible education for future ministry. The Christian Church is diverse and continues to become more so, and my time at Wake Div has taught me how to interact with all people, no matter how different our lives may be. From speakers to summer internships, Wake Forest has given me the priceless gift of a space to discern my vocation, and for that I will be forever thankful – no matter how hot it is outside.

harrjc13James Harris
Second Year

James Harris is originally from Chesapeake, VA. He enjoys reading most fiction he can get his hands on, and being outdoors. His favorite joke is: “A magician was driving down a road then turned into a driveway.”