Vocational Passion and Eight Part-time Jobs

Kevin A. McKoy ’17 M.Div.

I was raised by my mother and grandmother in one of Jamaica’s poorest and most violent communities. Today, I am the first of my matrilineal relatives to graduate from college and pursue graduate studies.

It is difficult to explain to my relatives my reason to seek a vocation in ministry, since there are many reasons to follow a career that would offer more substantial financial returns. I can only describe this embrace of theological education as a journey toward fulfilling my call to ministry. “Feed my sheep!” These words placed the burden of parish ministry and public witness on my heart, and so I decided to pursue a degree at Yale Divinity School.

I chose Yale because of its history of providing the world with transformational leaders. Another reason was the financial aid that Yale offers. I recall the joy I felt when I was notified that I was granted admission as well as a tuition scholarship. How much more difficult it would have been to follow my calling if not for the scholarship. Even with this, and with over $20,000 in student loans, I have worked more than eight part-time jobs here at YDS to survive financially.

The necessity of working those many jobs has inevitably limited some opportunities for formation at Yale. There might be many reasons for me to reconsider or renegotiate or defer this “call to ministry thing,” but I have never been more sure about it than now. The financial burden I bear cannot compare to the change I have seen in me. I am now completing the third and final year in the MM.Div. program, and I am convinced of my purpose and place in the world. I leave Yale committed to bringing forth the healing and hope of Christ to suffering humanity through a ministry rooted in hospitality and solidarity.