From CLU to Front Pew
By Meghan (Johnston '01) Aelabouni
How did I get here? I’ve been asked this question a lot in the five years since my graduation from CLU, when I headed off to Chicago with my bachelor’s diploma in hand and a lifetime’s worth of Cal Lutheran T-shirts packed in my suitcase.
Sometimes the meaning behind the question is geographical: “How did you end up in the Midwest after living in Southern California?” (When this question is asked of me in January as I’m unearthing my car from a snowdrift, it’s usually followed by a shake of the head: “and WHY?”)
More often, however, it’s a vocational question: How did I end up at a Lutheran seminary—the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago—studying for a Master of Divinity degree, in order to become a Lutheran pastor?
And, since I’m only one of many CLU graduates who have taken this path, what is it about CLU that has led us to Lutheran seminaries, to become pastors, teachers, music ministers, and church leaders of various kinds?
CLU Magazine offered me the opportunity to ask this question of myself, and of several other Lutheran seminarians who are CLU alumni. Each of our stories is unique; yet all of us can honestly say that CLU played an integral role in our decision-making process.
To put it a different way: In our church, we’re often asked how God has called us into ministry. For many of us, CLU was a place where God’s call was active in our lives—even if we only perceive it now, looking back on our time there.