Ms. Haley Dinel is currently studying for a taught M.Phil. in Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies in the Irish School of Ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin. During her studies at McGill in the B.Th. she got to know the students and staff at the college. Her deepest connection came as an intern in the summer 2011 MMI. She spent many years working for the Students’ Society of McGill University as a Senator and Executive and currently serves as Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Officer at the Graduate Students’ Union, TCD. Born in Montreal but raised in Toronto she holds strong affiliations both cities (but definitely prefers the former).
I am often asked – “Do you want to be a priest?” Given the fact that I have a Bachelor’s in Theology, currently live at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and am studying Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies it is a logical question. My answer, however, is “No. At least, not now.”
My studies have created a constant mode of meditation on this question. Upon entering McGill I had no plans for ordained ministry whatsoever, I simply thought the content and quality of the B.Th. program was exceptional. In my second year, Dr. John Simons approached me about the Montreal Ministry Internship – in fact a number of people at Dio suggested it precisely because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with this theological information. A lot of my studies had made me question the foundations of my own faith, and so the MMI offered me a chance to critically engage with it in communion with others.
I realized many things during the internship experience. The ones important here are: 1) Questioning one’s faith is part of being a Christian 2) Service to God comes in a multitude of forms 3) Be open to differing beliefs of others – respect them. These three realizations have helped me navigate my personal journey but more importantly how I interact and dialogue with others.
Faith seeking understanding. Isn’t that what we’re all doing? Since I was confirmed at the age of 17 I have sought to understand our Christian faith and its many facets. What I find most interesting has been talking with those in ministry in Montreal and Dublin about this very issue. The attempt to live and know a tradition which at the same time must adapt to a contemporary setting. Challenging the status quo is not heretical, it’s necessary for a true engagement with one’s faith.
Personally, service is the most important aspect of how I live out my faith. Though my intentions are not towards ordination, I feel nonetheless called to be of service to my community be that through political representation, creating gatherings, helping those in need etc. My service to God is not just what I do in/for my church but for the wider communities in which I find myself.
Being open and respectful of others is also significant – I simply use the Golden Rule to govern my relationships with others. Especially when I disagree I attempt to stay as open as possible which is all I ask in return. This approach works in many situations.
I highlight these three aspects because they are what motivate me to do what I do and how I do it. Without my experience at Dio I would not have the same emotional, intellectual or spiritual confidence with which I go through the world as I do today. To have a community welcome you with open arms and send you into the world with such assurance is truly a gift.