Welcome to my Journey – Tiffanie Lyon (’20, MDiv)
A DOUBLE BLESSING
Journey student, Tiffanie Lyon (’20), began the investigative search for a hybrid or online seminary before she discovered Iliff. While she had her eye out for other educational opportunities, she had Iliff in the back of her mind. Tiffanie knew two things: she wanted a UMC school, and the only way she would able to complete a Masters in Divinity would be online. Iliff was one of two options for Tiffanie.
While Journey is primarily online, with a few campus visits per academic year, there is a deep sense of community and communal engagement that happens online. The students form communities from their online presence. Tiffanie recalls that, like many of our Iliff students past and present, the care and compassion she feels from her peers and professors encourages her on this journey. Her peers, her professors, all the way to our Iliff president, Tom Wolfe, she says amaze her with the way that they engage in authentic and respectful conversations even when there is difference among them.
Tiffanie’s Iliff Journey has challenged and enriched her own Christian perspective—a “double blessing,” she says. The things she thought would surprise her, she considers, are the things she wanted in a seminary all along. Perhaps, she thinks, “it’s most surprising that [Iliff] not only met my expectations, but exceeded [them].”
Tiffanie’s busy schedule not only allows her to hold a full-time job, a part-time job, and go to school, but she started a ministry out of her home church called, “Living Hope Ministries.” Journey has allowed Tiffanie the flexibility to pursue her calling to ministry and grow her ministry for mental illness. Tiffanie is currently in her 7th years as a Licensed Local Pastor in the UMC. She serves part time as an associate pastor, and is involved in several outreach ministries both in the church and in the community.
As part of the Iliff internship requirement, Tiffanie looked no further than NAMI. She is currently serving as the Faith Community Liaison, reaching out to faith communities to educate pastors and congregations on mental illnesses, finding support, and offering help. Tiffanie hopes to change the stigma around mental illness, and integrate support from Christian and non-Christians.
Tiffanie has welcomed the Journey, and is currently enjoying and exploring being a student at Iliff. Visiting Denver three times per year feels like a home away from home. Iliff’s welcoming and open arms continue to support, challenge, and renew her Journey.