Meet a student: Translating Pentecostal faith into Anglican ministry

Sarah Killam has a long history of Christian ministry—and her studies at Dio are helping her prepare to translate that ministry experience into the Anglican tradition.   

Sarah started the Master of Sacred Theology program at McGill University this fall, choosing to affiliate with Dio and belong to both the university community and the community at Dio. Before coming to Dio she earned a Masters in Theology from Continental Theological Seminary in Belgium, and spent a year and a half as a missionary of the Assemblies of God in Greece.   

The daughter of two Pentecostal ministers, Sarah grew up in Las Vegas and developed a strong faith and an interest in Scripture from a very young age. She discerned a call for ministry at the age of 14: “I was at a prayer meeting and had a prophetic word from someone essentially saying ‘you’re called into ministry,’ and that was something that I really longed for.” For most of her

life, she had a strong desire to have a close relationship with God, and to help others find that closeness for themselves. After attending Bible college in Missouri she was formally licensed as a Pentecostal minister.   

While she still considers herself broadly Pentecostal and charismatic, her rising concern for social justice and inclusion in recent years has drawn her more towards the mainline church. “I realised what a rich theological tradition there is in Anglicanism, and that it’s a better fit for me both theologically and in terms of justice and inclusion,” she said. Her time at Dio is helping her discern a call to ordained ministry within the Anglican Church. “Dio is going to be a big help because this is the first opportunity that I’ve had to formally have ministry training within a specifically Anglican context.”    

Sarah combines her call to ministry with a strong belief in the importance of theological education as a basis for a successful ministry and plans to start a PhD once she is done with the Master of Sacred Theology. As she says, “Our actions flow from right beliefs, and so I’m really passionate about the idea that if we know God rightly and love him rightly, then our love for him will flow into our actions.” During her time in Europe, she noticed a lack of opportunities for Protestant theological education. “It was clear that there were not many options to study in preparation for ministry as a Protestant student; most who wanted to do so had to look for seminaries outside of the country. I also saw this at the local church level; there was often a lack of more in-depth theological education that was available for lay people.” She would love one day to be a part of supplying an answer to this challenge by helping to train those who are working on the front lines of ministry.   

Her time at Dio has only just begun but she finds she is already benefitting greatly from the regular prayer services and the vibrant spiritual life of the community. “I really appreciate getting to have a rich community of worship and faith that goes along with my theological studies; for me it would feel stale to have one without the other.” She believes the new strategic alliance between UTC and Dio has opened up more space for people like her who are interested in exploring different types of worship while also being committed to the Anglican tradition.