In this series, we asked alumni to update us on their path to ministry since graduation. They reflect on how their time at Princeton Seminary prepared them for leadership, while sharing some of the surprises and challenges they’ve experienced along the way.
From Texas to Scotland—Tara Porr Granados ’15 MDiv shares the leap of faith that put her on the path to ordination within the Church of Scotland. Find out what energizes her ministry and why she believes it’s important to be curious and compassionate.
Q: Tell us about yourself. How did you end up where you are now?
A: I’ve taken the scenic route on my way to ordination, which I am currently seeking in the Church of Scotland. I did a yearlong internship in Groomsport, Northern Ireland, between my second and third years at Princeton Seminary. Following graduation, I went home to Texas and completed a clinical pastoral education residency at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. I loved working in the intensive care unit and was challenged by my learning relationships with a diverse peer group.
During that year, I got married, and my husband and I both had a desire to move overseas. I remembered a conversation with a Scottish friend from Princeton Seminary and she had mentioned the sheer amount of vacancies within Scotland. My husband and I took a gamble and used our honeymoon money to fly me to an interview with the Church of Scotland…and it worked! I got the job and am currently completing a 15-month probationary placement in Edinburgh. I will hopefully be ordained in January 2018 to a ministerial post within the Church of Scotland.
“Writing is always a labor of love, but delivering a sermon and seeing the discussions, conversations, and even disagreements it elicits informs and energizes my ministry.”
Q: What does your current role involve?
A: My role is to familiarize myself with the Church of Scotland. Currently, I am placed in the Portobello and Joppa Parish Church in Edinburgh, where I am reading and writing essays on the church’s history and church law, as well as learning about larger issues within the church. I regularly preach both at my placement and at other churches in the area. My husband and I have been involved in updating the church’s website and digital presence. I’m also visiting a variety of ministers and parishes throughout Scotland—learning as I go.
Q: What gift or ability did you discover in your ministry that you didn’t know you had?
A: I discovered a love of preaching. Each week I look forward to my time alone reading and thinking about a text. Writing is always a labor of love, but delivering a sermon and seeing the discussions, conversations, and even disagreements it elicits informs and energizes my ministry.
Q: Looking back, how do you think Princeton Seminary prepared you for the work you’re doing?
A: Princeton Seminary in a way prepared and possibly even overly prepared me for the Church of Scotland—especially in regard to preaching. I realize more and more the quality of the education I received, and am especially grateful for the passion of both my peers and my professors for what they do.
I still remember being told in orientation that the learning that happens around the tables in the Mackay Campus Center was just as important as those in a lecture hall. I appreciated the acknowledgment of learning outside the traditional classroom.
“So many doors open when we begin not with sermons and judgments, but with curiosity and compassion. ”
Q: What is a lesson or learning that continues to inform your ministry?
A: I can’t remember where I first absorbed it, but the lesson that informs me the most, is that to love is to be curious. Jesus asked so many questions of the people he met. And I have found that so many doors open when we begin not with sermons and judgments, but with curiosity and compassion.
Q: What books are at the top of your reading list?
A: I’m typically reading two books at once—one for fun and one for ministry/theology. This past year I’ve read both the Dresden Files and the Iron Druid series for fun and loved them. M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie has been the most challenging theological book that I’ve read lately. I’m currently reading Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende and Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin.
“Preaching is one of the most important things we do as pastors because it’s one of the last places in our society where people will actually listen, perhaps to things they may not agree with.”