Louisa Monroe Graduated With No Regrets
“I have done everything I wanted to do in divinity school and when I walk across the stage I will have no regrets. I am completely satisfied with my time at Campbell University Divinity School and I am blessed to have spent the last four years of my life in this place.”
Louisa made her profession of faith before her congregation at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville when she was nine years old, and even at that young age she felt a call to ministry. She says, “As odd as it may seem my vocational track has wavered very little since I was nine years old. There has never been a time when ministry was not in my future and I was not making plans to pursue that goal. Sure, it has changed shape and direction as I have grown. And I confess that it has not always been easy or cool to want to be a minister, but my goal has never changed: telling people about God.”
Music became her first method for telling people about God. Dr. Larry Dickens, who served as the music minister and youth choir director at Snyder Memorial, became a mentor for Louisa, and his daughter, Faith, became her best friend. At twelve years old she considered youth choir a refuge for her while she struggled to make sense of her parents’ divorce. It was there that she was encouraged in her giftedness in music and how she could use that gift to lead and teach others. She says, “I discovered God in every note I sang, in every scripture verse I memorized through song, and in every word of encouragement Larry offered.”
Louisa and her family continued to be active in church through her high school years and in August 2006 she began her first year as a music major at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. Of her classroom experience at Meredith she says, “I formed my work ethic, solidified my personal integrity and honed my academic abilities.”
Outside of the classroom she served as Cornhuskin’ Co-Chair for the class of 2010 for all four years of her undergraduate. She says that this experience “was a lesson in leadership, humility, and compassion.” With a sense of deep appreciation she says, “Most importantly during my time at Meredith, I learned how to incorporate my love for music, my love for Christ, and my love for teaching and leading into a calling that would prepare me to enter divinity school upon graduation.”
During her senior year at Meredith Louisa accepted the call as Music Ministry Intern at Hayes Barton Baptist Church. She considers this opportunity an answer to prayer as she says “Hayes Barton became my classroom, my family and my friends.” She expresses appreciation to Rev. Dan Ridley who helped her overcome her fears and learn how to become an effective music minister. Louisa’s college experience coupled with her ministry experience motivated her to look for a divinity school.
After a tragic incident in her home church at the same time she was searching for divinity schools, Louisa learned the importance of pastoral care. She says, “I spent night after night on my knees praying God would lead me to a school in which I could learn how to sit with people while they suffered, be taught to celebrate with people in everyday life, and be shown how to have enough humility to journey alongside people as they search for Jesus.”
After visiting many schools across Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia, Louisa found what she was looking for when she visited Campbell University Divinity School and attended a service in Butler Chapel. She says, “The moment I settled into my chair, began to take in the beauty of the space around me and heard the glorious sounds of the organ, I knew I could stop looking. My search for a divinity school had some to an end, and speaking like only the voice of God can in a still, small way he whispered, “’Stop searching. You’re home.’”
For her, Campbell Divinity School became an inward journey that has transformed her into a different person than she was on her first day of class. She has come to appreciate the beauty of scripture, the complexity of worship, and the mystery of God. She is especially appreciative of the Clinical Pastoral Education program which she says, “showed me a new way to care for God’s people and provide healing to a fractured world through the love God has to offer.” She says serving as Chaplain at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh was one of the most liberating experiences of her life. She also added that it was possibly the hardest work she has ever done.
In June of 2011, Louisa transitioned from her position as Music Intern at Hayes Barton to serve as a Graduate Assistant in Campus Ministry at Campbell. For the last three years Louisa has had the opportunity to work with college students and walk with them as the journey in their faith. Because of her experience in Campus Ministry she says, “I have heard the calling not only to the planning and teaching of worship, but to preach.”
Louisa is still trying to understand this new dimension of her calling and is preparing for the road that will lead her to pastor someday. While she doesn’t know exactly what lies ahead for her, she says that she has many goals for the future. She is considering a Ph.D or Th.D sometime in the future. She also looks toward ordination and becoming a published writer. She says, “While I don’t know how the rest of my story will unfold, I do know who is writing it, and I am not afraid.”