Shannon Craigo-Snell’s baby book included only three pieces of information: Her name, date of birth and a statement which read, “She loves Sunday School.” It is a simple testament that speaks loudly to what has turned out to be a lifelong passion for theology and education.
Her passion was formally acknowledged on Saturday, March 8, 2014, when Craigo-Snell, Professor of Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, was ordained to the Office of Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Friends, family and colleagues from across the country were on hand at the ordination, which was held in Louisville Seminary’s Caldwell Chapel.
“My own calling is to be a theologian of, in and for the church," said Craigo-Snell. "I am called to teach and write in service to the church.”
The ordination served as the culmination of a formal process, which for Craigo-Snell began in 1992, when she started divinity school at Yale University. The process itself is no light undertaking and demands years of formation and discernment. Craigo-Snell, who has been a member of Louisville Seminary’s faculty since 2011, found herself in the unique position of studying and taking ordination exams alongside her students. Although challenging, the experience has been both transformative and inspiring for her.
The newly ordained Reverend Doctor Craigo-Snell now finds herself in a deeper commitment to always working within the context of the church. Being blessed with the opportunity to preside over the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is of particular significance to her.
As a teaching elder, one of Craigo-Snell’s responsibilities is to support people in the disciplines of faith amid the struggles of daily life. She acknowledges that Louisville Seminary students come from all walks of life and face many challenges beyond their commitment to seminary work. She also knows that her students are following a path very similar to her own.
“These are smart, engaged and creative people who could be successful in many other vocations, but they choose to give up their jobs and move their families to come here and learn how to be of service to others,” she said. “How amazing is it for me to get to serve them along the way?” Learn more about The Rev. Dr. Shannon Craigo-Snell on Louisville Seminary's website.