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75 Stories for 75 Years

Angie Swonger is a 2017 graduate of Winebrenner's Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC) program. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) at Jan Meier and Associates. Recently, she shared the following thoughts regarding her time at Winebrenner: #75for75winebrenner

I am in no way considered the traditional graduate student. I am married, have already raised my children, spent twenty years teaching, am ordained in ministry, and was beginning to plan for retirement. Then God began prompting me to develop another layer of my gifts. He was opening the eyes of my heart to the need for proficient, God-honoring counselors in forgotten places of our society. So I registered for classes in a ministry-based counseling program … and then realized this would not equip me to walk with people along clinical, diagnosable, and treatment centered paths. Struggling with this situation, my pastor told me about a new program at Winebrenner Theological Seminary; Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling. Clinical counseling … in a seminary … with practicing, licensed, certified, Christ-changed counselors as my instructors? I wanted to know more!

Once I began exploring the path toward clinical counseling, everything fell into place, including the time I would need for such an intense endeavor and the finances required, for both school and home. Looking back, I see God preparing the way and easing my anxieties in each step. Does that mean everything came easily? Absolutely not! The MACC program is tough but meaningful work. I equated this commitment with the “How do you eat an elephant?” adage. One bite at a time. Divided into realistic sections, days, and sometimes hours, the enormity of the journey became manageable.

Beginning the MACC program, my goal was to “get it done.” I viewed WTS as simply a stepping-stone along my path toward God’s plan for my life. I am pleased to say I was wrong! WTS has been so much more than a stepping-stone! First of all, the Clinical Counseling program taught me the proficient and God-honoring factors I desired. Every stepping-stone has been cemented with social responsibility and biblical truths. The anchor of hope (Hebrews 6:18-19) shared by professors has been an image I carry with me, and thus can convey to others. In the counseling world, I have been tested, my skills have been applied, and I can sincerely say I have been amply equipped for the call on my life.

Secondly, the professors and staff, who I knew would care about my student life, quickly conveyed how they care about my whole life. More importantly, they care about me! The professors and staff have taught me, fed me, counseled me, helped me better understand finances, plus prayed for me and over me. In every class, scripture was opened in a way to help us better understand God’s love for people. These professionals have been unforeseen cheerleaders, PR reps, and prayer warriors.

Next, I must cite the students. I did not come into the MACC program expecting to make new friends, but in this environment, that cannot be avoided. Our cohort quickly became bonded sister-friends and brother-friends. We study, laugh, cry, eat, pray, and do life together.

Most significantly, coming into this program, I did not realize the importance of a support system. My family and closest friends made it possible for me to take on this journey. Always knowing someone was praying for me, cheering me on, and picking up the slack in other areas kept me going. When I felt guilty about missed time with family and friends, they reminded me that this was a season, they were all fine, and they would all still be here when the journey was complete.

Now that completion is here, my life as a counselor has intersected with lives and problems of people I would have never encountered along my own path. Thankfully, this time spent in the MACC program at WTS has equipped me to walk with clients through these problems on their own journeys toward well-being.

Angie Swonger, LPC

PRAYER

Lord, You have given me a taste of what it is like to watch people put their lives back together through the blessing of sanctified counseling. Although I rarely speak Your name in these sessions, You fill up every space in these rooms, making clients aware of Your presence as You shine through me. Thank You for gifting me with the joy of being used as Your vessel. You have given sight to my faith. These first steps have prepared me to intercede with Your strength and healing in shattered lives. Lead on! I am following Your call on my life. Amen.

To connect with Angie on our Facebook page, click here. Facebook.

LeadershipOne Luncheon Series

"Chaos by Design - How to Create Adversity and Thrive"

Dan Rogers, President & CEO, Cherry Street Mission Ministries, Toledo, Ohio

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Winebrenner Theological Seminary

TLB Auditorium

Noon - 1:15 p.m. (lunch provided)

Dan grew up in Lorain County in Ohio and at an early age experienced the ill effects of generational poverty. As a result of his childhood experiences Dan decided to pursue a lifelong goal of challenging the systems that create cycles of poverty. In 2001, Dan continued his passion to reverse the cycles of poverty by serving on staff at Cherry Street Mission Ministries located in Toledo, Ohio. In July 2005, he was named Cherry Street’s President and CEO.

Dan is the recipient of the 2009 Jefferson Award for Public Service and in 2014 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Entrepreneurial and Business Excellence Hall of Fame. Dan recently received the Governor’s medal of Courage for Ohio, and is a consultant to nonprofits, as well as a Leadership Coach. Currently, Dan is spearheading the development of Cherry Street’s Life Revitalization Center which is an adult career and vocational school.

Click here to register

For questions contact  Lisa Cross lcross@winebrenner.edu, or call 419-434-4208.

Q Commons

Winebrenner is excited to bring #QCommons to Findlay. For one night, we’re going to join thousands of people in over 130 cities to press into what it means to advance the common good. We’ll hear from Cultural Commentator David Brooks, Fuller Youth Institute Author Kara Powell, and Activist & Billboard-charting artist Propaganda as they discuss some of the pressing topics we face in culture today.

There will also be three experts in Findlay who will share local perspectives with attendees: Jaime De La Cruz (Manager of Diversity, Inclusion, and Talent Management, Marathon Oil Company); Amber Wolfrom (Deputy Director, Hancock County ADAMHS Board); Ed Kurt (Superintendent, Findlay City Schools).

Join us Thursday, October 26 in the TLB Auditorium from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. (Dinner at 5:45 p.m.)

Register here!

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