Each year, Emmanuel College and Victoria University award the Sanford Gold Medal in Divinity, founded by the late Senator W. E. Sanford. This award is granted by the Victoria Senate on the basis of the scholarship, ability, and character of an MDiv graduate displayed over the whole course of the academic program. The Sanford Gold Medalist for 2019 is Jason Meyers.
How did you learn about the MDiv program at Emmanuel College?
Well… I basically just walked in the front door and started asking around… Some time before, I had what I interpreted to be a call to ministry. I knew that theological education was a component for ministry training and I knew that Emmanuel College was a place that did that… so I just walked in and started asking questions.
What inspired you to apply?
I had put off my call for quite some time, but with the birth of our first child, and my desire for him to live an authentic life, I could not put it off any longer.
What did you study as an undergraduate student?
Commerce, with a Major in Marketing
What was it like to be an MDiv student – can you share any anecdotes?
Intense. Challenging. Beautiful. I recall doing a “role play” in a first-year pastoral care course and being teamed up with one of my Muslim classmates. Our scenario was that we were a same-sex couple and he was dying of cancer. After some initial awkwardness, we opened up to the experience and really got into the moment. One of those boundary bending, perspective expanding moments that Emmanuel College does so well. My “partner” and I are friends to this day!
What influence has the program had on your life, education and career?
Transformative. I believe I am getting closer to living an authentic life, where my values and vocation are both pointing towards God’s intention of love. Emmanuel has been foundational in this and there have been good people to help me along the way.
What have you learned about yourself, and even about others?
I have learned that our story and God’s story are intertwined. I have learned that I don’t need to journey alone. I have learned that before you can lead, you must love.
Where do you hope your degree will take you in the future?
Fame, glory and bags and bags of money… or perhaps ordination in the United Church of Canada and a life of service in congregational ministry.
Did you have any mentors at Emmanuel College?
Many… You can’t swing a sock at Emmanuel without hitting someone with remarkable wisdom to share. I will specifically mention Natalie Wigg-Stevenson, Director of Contextual Education and Bill Kervin, Professor of Public Worship, as especially important to my experience. They were able to see and pull things out of me that I didn’t know were there.
What advice would you have for prospective students?
Walk in the door of Emmanuel College.
What advice would you have for current students?
Walk out the door. Theological training is vital, but so is feeling the heartbeat of the city and experiencing the wisdom of the trees. Keep going - you got this!
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I worked full-time during my theological education (and we have two little kids) so, will say that a “religious” adherence to work/life balance was needed for me to juggle the various commitments. For me to stay healthy, I needed to intentionally make time in my schedule for walking - it’s how I stay grounded and connected. So, whatever your “thing” is that keeps you whole, don’t let it go, no matter how many papers you have due.