Alum Mentorship: Innis Miller and Dr. Andy Brubacher Kaethler
November 1, 2018
Rev. Dr. Andy Brubacher Kaethler (G-ETS 2013) knows from his teaching and from personal experience how important having a mentor can be for young adults.
“My own call to ministry as a young adult and beyond has been significantly shaped by the mentors that I have had in my own life and continue to have,” said Brubacher Kaethler, associate professor of Christian formation and culture at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. “Even though I am 50 now, I still have mentors, and they are really important to me.”
When Brubacher Kaethler heard about the vocational networking program, he thought it would be a good way to return the favor.
He was matched with Innis Miller, an international student from Liberia in the master of arts and spiritual formation and direction program. Brubacher Kaethler said he was thrilled to find out Miller was from Liberia because as a child, he lived overseas for many years with his parents who did missions and development work.
“To be paired with someone from West Africa was a bonus for me because it gives me a chance to reconnect with a part of my past,” said Brubacher Kaethler, who also lived in West Africa.
The two connect every month by telephone, Skype, or Google Meetups. In addition to getting to know each other and talking about family, Miller and Brubacher Kaethler have talked about their different theological perspectives and how the seminary experience in the United States and Liberia differ. Brubacher Kaethler is Mennonite and went to a Mennonite high school and Canadian Mennonite University, where he received a degree in theology. He also has a bachelor of arts in religious studies and peace conflict studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and a master of theology from the Toronto School of Theology, also in Canada. Miller is a United Methodist with an undergraduate degree in theology from Liberia United Methodist University.
Lately, the two have started to talk more about their vocational calling, training, and preparation and theological issues as well.
Miller said what he likes best about the relationship is a chance to hear another person’s perspective. He said he signed up for the program because he was struggling with some cross-cultural issues and thought a mentor would help him better understand how seminary works in the United States.
“The program has given me an additional voice to the voices that I hear through the course of the semester,” Miller said. “It also gives me another audience to share my views.” The relationship between Miller and Brubacher Kaethler has helped him settle in, added Miller, who hopes to work in the United States before he returns to Liberia.
Brubacher Kaethler said that being a part of Garrett-Evangelical’s vocational networking program has helped him personally and professionally. “It’s been rewarding talking to someone from West Africa,” he said. “I’m also a better advisor to my students. This experience has given me a little more permission to be bolder, asking questions about students’ faith and vocational calling.”