David Priddy Graduated with a Deep Respect for Community and Scripture
“If I were to describe my divinity school experience in one sentence it would be this: I was formed more than informed,” says David Priddy as he celebrates his graduation from Campbell University Divinity School.
As a child David enjoyed going to church whenever he got the opportunity. With admiration for his independent Baptist upbringing, he maintains a “deep-seated conviction in the authority of Scripture.” He says, “No matter what my theological orientation evolved to be, I always remained devoted to beginning with Scripture.”
David came to Campbell University as an undergraduate student in 2008. Knowing that he wanted to continue his education, David filled his time with classes and graduated in two years with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. He credits his previous work with commercial roofing as preparation for the college work load. He says, “I think I graduated so early because I finished white collar work in blue collar time.”
Next to academics, David’s college career exposed him to many things. He says, “I encountered new people, ideas and ways of life which affected me in so many different ways, and ultimately, matured me.” This new experience deepened his appreciation for the Trinity, ecumenism, and Christ’s atonement and resurrection.
David began to sense a calling to preach after reading a book by Nicholas Lash called Holiness, Speech, and Silence, which he says “tempered my desire for certainty, but even more, humbled me intellectually.” Other writers that influenced him include G.K. Chesterton and Joseph Ratzinger who, he says, “informed and formed me vocationally and intellectually.”
While at Campbell he also found solace in community. He met many friends, mentors, and role models of whom he says, “Their hospitality, service, and ecumenical spirit has kept me freshly inspired and faithful to use my hands as well as my mind for the Kingdom.” He appreciates the encouragement that they offered for his call to preach. He says, “This community’s affirmation, grace, and guidance is what I bring into the pulpit every time I preach. It powerfully motivates me and reassures me that I have been selected for such a task for the benefit of others.”
A number of persons have played a key role in David’s formation during his time at Campbell. Of Dean Wakefield he says, “His intellectual prowess and resourcefulness, coupled with his intellectual humility, became paradigmatic for me.” Of Irma Duke he says, “Irma Duke modeled for me what it means to toil for the gospel. Her unfailing energy and even her expectation that others should work arduously raised the bar for me on what it means to serve and serve well.” Of Jason Duke he says, “Jason was the first person intentionally to disciple me.” Of Faithe Beam he says, “Faithe taught me that listening to people is ministry.” Of Elaine Dawson he says, “Elaine’s presence allowed Campbell to become a home for me.” With sincere appreciation David says, “These people are so significant not only because they educated and helped me grow but because they were a family and community that supported my call to theological education.”
In October 2012, David married Mikaela Priddy in Butler Chapel and a year later was ordained by Baptist Fellowship of Angier. He says, “My ordination, then, was done by a Baptist church, led by a Lutheran, and witnessed by several Presbyterians. This audience, I believe, represents my love and commitment to ecumenism, which I want to be a distinguishing mark of my ministry.”
After graduation David hopes to maintain his relationships with peers and professors and to continue participating in the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature conferences. He also plans to attend Wake Forest University to pursue a Master of Arts in Religion, furthering his knowledge of scripture and specifically of biblical Hebrew.
David is aspiring to be a pastor. He says, “Becoming a minister, urging others to be faithful, sharing the gospel, and leading worship, is the only future that gives me the confidence to proceed,” and he believes that his friends and education at Campbell Divinity School has helped prepare him for the task.