Gianna Rendon

I have been blessed to spend 4 years at Iliff School of Theology. The reason why I came to Iliff was not the reason I stayed. I started the MDiv program in preparation to work in my Roman Catholic Archdiocese. While I became increasingly involved in community organizing my religious network wanted nothing to do with what they called “radical politics.” Through Iliff I found my people through my Journey cohort, The Flock. We have been through so much personal and vocational change together. We continue to hold space for each other even though our schooling has ended. They taught me what it means to be in an intentional community with others, especially when the greatest barrier is distance.

Most importantly, Iliff taught me who I am. The faculty and staff at Iliff helped me unlearn years of programming of who I should be based on gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class etc. Then they helped me to answer what to do with who I am. I will be forever grateful and indebted for their accompaniment.

When I first entered Iliff I wrote a poem titled “I am a seminarian, I light candles” in order to explain to people what exactly I was doing at a theology school. So in honor of my time at Iliff ending, I wrote a poem answering who Iliff has helped me become.

I tell stories
I lead a queer bible study
I tell stories
I write sermons
I tell stories
I plan workshops
I listen to people’s stories
I tell stories

I’m a drag king
I tell stories
I paint on a beard
I lip sync
I tell stories
I perform humanity
I tell stories

Mallory Everhart

It is with great joy and abiding gratitude that I reflect on my time as a student at Iliff School of Theology. I came to Iliff with a deep knowing in my soul but very little language for it. Everywhere I turned, I was met by people who helped me articulate it one bit at a time – everyone from the admissions counselor and the SIFR director to first year seminar instructors and faculty was invested in my formation and it is apparent that they view their work as a ministry.

I often joke that attending theology school has given me the reading list for the rest of my life. My time at Iliff laid a groundwork of curiosity, wonder, and critical appraisal which will stand me in good stead as I continue the work set before me to do. My formation in this place is foundational but it is by no means complete – and it isn’t meant to be. Iliff has given me the tools to explore, discern, and articulate theological perspectives. These tools are adaptable enough to serve me well in a variety of ministry settings and to evolve as I learn more of what it means to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. The greatest gift, perhaps, is that I know I am not walking alone in this pursuit. The friends and colleagues Iliff has connected me with nourish and encourage me and I have faith they will continue to do so well after I leave its halls.

Near the end of my education at Iliff, I had the startling realization that in a few short weeks, I was going to transition from student to credentialed professional. As its final gift, Iliff prepared me to do just that through the work of the Office of Professional Formation. Immediately following graduation, I stepped into a temporary parish leadership role, serving as the sabbatical interim at Congregational United Church of Christ in Buena Vista, Colorado.

I also work as a chaplain and social services director at a senior living community in Colorado Springs and, as a continuation of my internship work, hold a weekly dinner church for spiritual seekers called Finding Home: A Community for Spiritual Outsiders, which is specifically affirming of LGBTQIA+ people and those in recovery. Though all three of these ministries are very different, the skills and wisdom I have gained during my time at Iliff has prepared me well for all of them and I am grateful.

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