Meet Pamela J. Keys
Hometown: Peekskill, N.Y.
Home Church & Denomination: Mount Olivet Baptist Church, Baptist
Degrees: B.A. in Psychology from Marymount Manhattan College in Manhattan, NYC and Master of Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work in Manhattan, NYC
Garrett-Evangelical Degree Program/Year: MDiv, 3rd year
There are many roles that I navigate in my daily life. I am a daughter, sister, friend, colleague, seminarian, and theologian, just to name a few! I am a lover of the arts (especially modern art), dance, and anything that will broaden my cultural competence, such as documentaries, ethnic festivals, lectures, and literature.
The word calling is a very dynamic word to me because it best encapsulates my spiritual and personal journey, which is never ceasing, never boring, and difficult at times. I am considered a second career student. I previously worked as a psychiatric social worker in Jamaica, Queens, New York for almost six years and before that I worked in a non-profit outpatient program for seniors. During this time, I was active in my church and was eventually invited to be involved in the Minister in Training program facilitated by my pastor, Rev. Dr. Adulphus C. Lacey. My pastor and other mentors, both male and female, continued to insist that I have gifts and a call to ministry and I should attend seminary.
Fast-forward to 2013, I have discovered since being at Garrett-Evangelical, despite my starch resistance, I am called to be a minister of the Gospel. Through my preaching class with Dr. Fowler, I discovered I could preach, despite being an introvert. Through my field placement at First Congregational Church of Evanston under the supervision of Rev. Dr. Ann Rosewall, I discovered my love for the congregation, the church, and the surrounding community. In my third year, I excitedly anticipate that through the Holy Spirit, I will obtain further clarity concerning the next puzzle of my calling.
Attraction to Garrett-Evangelical:
When I visited Garrett-Evangelical on a bright, sunny, yet windy day, I felt a deep sense of peace as I toured the campus, spoke with the admission's staff, and listened to a lecture. My prayer, at the time, was that I would have a deep sense of peace concerning which seminary would suit me best and the only place that fell in that category was Garrett-Evangelical. The second part of my prayer was, “God, a tuition scholarship please!” As usual, God was faithful because I received a call from Rev. Becky Eberhart, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, saying I had received a scholarship.
I remain attracted to Garrett-Evangelical because of the brilliant professors who are not only professors, but know how to be pastoral and gracious in their dealing with students. I am also thankful for the variety of people I have had the humble privilege to meet from Garrett-Evangelical and Northwestern University who have helped shaped the person I am today.
I never thought I would utter these words, but I can envision myself in a church setting preaching, teaching, and doing pastoral counseling. I have a friend from my small group in Vocational Formation and Church Leadership (VFCL) at Garrett-Evangelical who once stated this profound phrase, “Nothing is ever wasted when it comes to God.” My social work skills, degrees, and love for intercultural awareness are and will continue to be utilized in my future vocation. I also have a budding desire to minister on a global level, but I am still trying to discern this aspect of my call and vocation.
I love this verse from Isaiah 55:8, which keeps me grounded and hopeful for my future and for the community around me, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways," declares the LORD.”