A Multiplicity of Callings: Skills Sharing at St. Matthew’s Church A Conversation with Rev. Benjamin Hart and Dr. Justin KlassenAugust 17, 2021 By Collegeville Institute Leave a Comment Vocation is often understood as what we do for work, but God calls people to more than our place of employment. Can God’s calling extend to skills or hobbies like bread baking, gardening, or cake decorating? Leaders at St. Matthew Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky decided to find out by inviting individuals in their church to offer a course on something they love to do. In this episode, Pastor Benjamin Hart and Professor Justin Klassen discuss how the skills sharing classes at St. Matthew’s transformed their understanding of God’s calling in both their personal lives and the greater church community. St. Matthew’s is one of thirteen congregations taking part in Collegeville Institute’s Communities of Calling Initiative. The Communities of Calling Initiative is a five-year program that grants congregations funds to design a new project or enhance existing ministries that help Christians discover and deepen their sense of God’s calling in their lives. Topics and resources discussed in this episode: Communities of Calling Initiative Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church CCI Learnings & Activities (find more about the Skills Sharing Class under “Resources Developed by Saint Matthew’s”) Discernment Modules developed by Kathleen A. Cahalan, particularly the module on listening as a practice of vocation Bios The Rev. Benjamin Hart is a priest and serves as the Director of Congregational Life at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Louisville. He grew up in a small town in western Kentucky with a love for food and hospitality. He cures traditional country hams and has reached the point in his ham journey where he is entering one in the state fair. Dr. Justin Klassen is Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies at Bellarmine University in Louisville. He grew up in British Columbia, where he first developed a passion for nature. These days you can find him teaching college students in the classroom, exploring the woods of Kentucky with his family, or checking the timer on his phone while he waits for dough to rise in the kitchen. Ellie Roscher is a writer, theology teacher, and host of the Unlikely Conversations podcast. She is a board member at the Collegeville Institute and the author of 12 Tiny Things, Play Like a Girl, and How Coffee Saved My Life. Ellie holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in Theology from Luther Seminary. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse and sons. Follow Ellie on social media at @ellieroscher [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook]. Matthew Ian Fleming edited the audio for this podcast. You can find Matthew on Instagram at @matthewianfleming and his other podcasts at www.alterguild.org. Discussion questions If you could teach a Skills Sharing Class to your congregation, what calling would you share with others? What is the origin story of this calling? How has this calling impacted other areas of your life? Justin details how his students feel pressured to invest significant time and energy into a particular job for a few years “and then maybe I’ll get to live as a full human being doing what I’m meant to do.” How does this mindset resonate with your experience of calling, both to work and in other areas of life? Next Steps Check out resources to explore calling in your congregation on the Communities of Calling Initiative website. Reflect on vocation from a variety of faith traditions by reading Calling in Today’s World: Voices from Eight Faith Perspectives, a project of the Collegeville Institute Seminars. Try out Trails: A Retreat for Young Adults if, like Justin, you are engaging young people in questions of calling (or if you are a young adult yourself!) Read The Sourdough Sabbath from the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings Online for additional reflection on the call to bake bread. Follow the work of the Collegeville Institute on social media at @collegevilleins [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook] and subscribe to our email newsletter Like this post? Subscribe to have new posts sent to you by email the same day they are posted.