Called to be a Chaplain

Jason Harsh

“Bethany is so accommodating to distance learning students,” says Jason Harsh, a current MDiv student from Ohio. “Everyone is very welcoming, and the program is more easily adapted to other life plans than the other seminaries I considered.” 

Harsh serves as a hospital chaplain and plans to seek board certification after earning his MDiv. He previously served as pastor for Evangelical Friends and Church of the Brethren congregations, but he felt called to the particular responsibilities and opportunities that chaplaincy provides.

“I felt very much called to this work,” he recalls. “I appreciate the diversity of people I minister to, and the diversity of what a chaplain does during the day. This job really focused on the rawness of life, and that appeals to me.”

Harsh says that one of the benefits of studying with students from both Bethany and Earlham School of Religion is that he is exposed to a wide range of perspectives. The classroom discussions offer what he terms a “deep and rich experience” that has expanded his understanding of scripture and theology. 

“I have really developed a deeper appreciation of Christian history at Bethany, and been exposed to newer perspectives on the traditions of the Church. That’s been very helpful to me, because it helps me connect with a variety of people. That’s helpful because patients are everybody.”

Although Harsh considered attending a seminary closer to home, he ultimately found Bethany’s commitments to flexibility, affordability and peace witness to be highly compelling. 

“Bethany has been very accommodating, and the seminary has offered me a deep and rich experience,” he says. “There is a depth of hospitality and generosity here. I really appreciate that about Bethany.”