Celebrating Our Graduating Sider Scholars

Two of our talented, justice-loving, and much beloved Sider Scholars are graduating from Palmer Theological Seminary, thus completing their time of service to us here at CSA. We will miss them dearly!

Both Jen Carpenter and Josh Carson are heading out with shiny new MDivs, but they’re no newcomers to ministry. Jen is a gifted biblical storyteller, a music minister at First Baptist Church of Norristown (PA), and she has recently discovered that she loves being in the hospital—as a chaplain, that is, a presence of comfort and connection to patients and their families. Josh has been the Pastor of Student Ministries at First Baptist Church of Bethlehem (PA) for several years already.

We asked them what being a Sider Scholar has meant to them since they joined us in 2013, and they offered the following highlights:


  • Learning how to resource the local church in matters of social action, as well as many ways to engage personally.
  • Getting to interview so many wonderful people and tell the stories of what God is doing through them. (Read Jen’s interview with musician David Gungor and with sexual-justice activist/comic-book creator Erin Filson. You can read more of Jen’s CSA writing here.)
  • Praying together with the staff.
  • Being involved with the New Copernican Empowerment dialogues.


Where are these passionate, holistic ministers headed off to now? Jen is seeking ordination through the American Baptist Church USA. In addition to her hospital chaplaincy residency, she plans to continue to find ways to be involved in promoting faith-informed social action and to prayerfully help the local church engage in better conversations around worship, identity, bodies, healthy sexuality, and sexual expression.

Josh is job hunting, looking to serve either in the local church doing associate/youth ministry, in a Christian nonprofit ministry, or through teaching. Josh’s desire is to follow Jesus and help others do the same.

If you’d like to see a resume for either of these fine new graduates, email us. If you’d like more information on becoming a Sider Scholar (scholars work 10 hours a week with ESA and receive 50% off their tuition at Palmer Theological Seminary), you’ll find that here.

Congratulations, Jen and Josh!

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