I got a letter in the mail today.

I got a letter in the mail today.  The letter announced my acceptance at Providence Theological Seminary.

And just like that things are a little bit more real, a little more scary and a little more exciting.

I confess that I only applied to one seminary.  Some might think that’s crazy; others of you who know me will realize that this was a rational course of action.  Had I taken a shotgun approach to the application process and been accepted in even a handful of seminaries, I would have been paralyzed by the options.  

The only other seminary that I seriously considered applying to was North Park in Chicago, which is our denomination’s seminary, and one way or another I will have to take some courses from them if I plan on being ordained in the Covenant Church.  Two main reason I put North Park on the backburner: finances and distance.  We’ll already be moving away from family as it is–no need to leave the country at this point.  And financially?  Well–I’m aware of one person who got their entire degree at Providence for what it would have cost for one year at North Park.  A bit prohibitive, wouldn’t you say?

(Briercrest was also a natural choice, given my history there, but there is no denominational church down there and I want to stay connected.   Providence, on the other hand, is near Winnipeg, which has a Covenant church, and seems to be developing a connection with that denomination.)

When I first started thinking about going to seminary I didn’t know where to begin–how would I choose?  Someone says Seminary A is “liberal” and someone else says Seminary B is “conservative” (and those are often fairly relative terms); someone says Seminary C has better professors than Seminary D; someone says Seminary E has better program X than Seminary F.  In the end I decided to disregard that concern–the “grass is greener” principle applies to schools, too, I think. 

When I was in Bible college 13 years ago I would never have imagined myself as a seminarian.  Seminarians were pot-bellied, middle-aged men with moustaches and receding hairlines, tucked-in checkered shirts, briefcases and cup of coffee perpetually in hand.  (It’s all about the style, you see–and that image was not a good one to a 19-year old boy)  But I shall become one of them, sans moustache and briefcase.  (I’ve already got the pot-belly and checkered shirts.)

So, assuming everything comes together in the next couple of months, we will be moving to Manitoba in the summer.  I love Saskatchewan and would love to live here for the rest of my life.  But Manitoba is the next best thing.  The two provinces have a kinship of sorts, I think.  And probably sometime in early July I’ll be unemployed for the first time in 8 years or so.

What an adventure!  That’s the most exciting part.  I don’t know what things will be like once seminary spits me out–I’m prepared to not end up where I’m heading right now.  At this stage the uncertainty is thrilling.

I just have to get through the next couple of months…

13 thoughts on “I got a letter in the mail today.

  1. Jobina

    SERIOUSLY??? I am so excited that you guys are moving out here! What a great adventure for your family. Challenging? Yes, we’ve been there. But also really awesome to pull together as a team and accomplish something great!
    We’d love to have you over for a “Welcome to Manitoba” meal. It might, of course, be at a local park since I don’t think our little side by side could actually accommodate both our families, but it wouldn’t matter.

  2. brad

    Marc – I’m so excited for this next step in your life. You will NEVER regret doing something like this. YOu are listening to GOd’s leading which is an encouragment and a motivation for everyone who knows you. Good job – I’m praying for you.
    Providence is a great school which will challenge you and help you immensly. I think you do need to grow the stash!

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  4. becky

    Hey Marc,

    As I mentioned over on Dixie’s blog, you guys should talk with Jerry — he went to Providence for his undergrad and started his MDiv there. He may be able to give you some inside info on what’s going on (granted, it was 10 years ago, but I imagine there’s still some profs there that he had).

    Best of luck to you in your studies! It’ll be great to be back in a university environment.

  5. Gavin

    Hot dang! The Vandersluyses are faced Winnipeg-ward!

    We’re excited to have you guys around here, and very excited for the fact that you are in faithful pursuit of God things.

    Three offers –

    1) If you need a baby-sitter for a night out, give us a call!

    2) I would love to take you for the best burger in the city (Daly Burger), or out to a local establishment of one sort or another, upon your arrival. Heck, you can even bring the family and come over to our hacienda for a BBQ or just a cup o’ joe.

    3) If you need to scratch the preaching itch that you may well have developed, we’ve got you covered….

  6. Marc

    Thanks, everyone.

    And in case anyone is offended by my description of seminarians, I should add “receding hairline” to the things I already have.

    I’m also greying, according to Dixie.

  7. Phil L


    So Gateway Covenant Church will be sending more of our people to Winnipeg. A pattern has developed.

    You didn’t mention whether the perpetual cup of coffee will be part of your seminary image – does tea work?

  8. Ian H.

    Congratulations! I hope you keep up the blog so that we readers may keep being challenged by your unconventional and thoughtful musings. Just don’t start cheering for the Bombers, and you’ll be alright.

  9. Marc

    Ian: “Unconventional” musings?

    Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty of backup from other Roughrider fans in the area.

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