Judith Ramsey found herself with a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and a master’s degree in theology from an unaccredited school.
Those degrees didn’t prevent her from leading as an ordained elder at Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington, D.C. They didn’t prevent her from being the president of the church’s Ministerial Alliance ministry. Those unaccredited degrees didn’t keep her from teaching in the church.
They did, however, leave Ramsey seeking a way to, in her words, “Go back to do this over.” A do-over that seemed timely after working for 31 years in the federal service and a 2015 retirement from the Defense Intelligence Agency. “Just because we get older, doesn’t mean it isn’t God’s purpose. My life isn’t over,” Ramsey says.
Instead, she saw retirement another cycle and a chance to start over. “I see each new season of life is just another opportunity to start through God’s calling and purposes of life,” Ramsey explained. She went on, saying, “We start life over all the time.” Especially as women who are continually starting life over in the various seasons and cycles of life specific to women, mothers, grandmothers and retirees.
Her return to college was a combination of something she wanted to do and something she felt God leading her to do. Her return resulted in this 59-year-old being set to graduate this May with a degree in biblical studies.
LBC wasn’t the only place she considered or was even accepted to attend. Ramsey chose LBC, however, because of her home church’s affiliation with the college, and LBC’s accepted many of her previously earned credit, so she only needed to complete about 10 courses to graduate. She also liked that she could physically attend classes at the Washington D.C. campus.
“Through my decision to attend LBC, I found a wonderful place to continue my Christian education and pursue God’s purpose of my life,” said Ramsey. She notes that she thoroughly enjoyed her LBC experience through the education and knowledge gained. She also enjoyed the closeness of the campus where she became part of the chapel committee that helped establish a student-led chapel service at the D.C. campus.
She was already speaking in church before she attended LBC and understood the importance of knowing the Bible, “so you can see God in everything.” However, it was through the courses that she learned to see things in a fresh way. For example, she took a course combining science and religion. Here, she learned to see more of how the two fields work together to prove the existence of God.
“I never focused on that before,” she explains as she describes further how in nature the works of God, down to the DNA, are exciting and thought-provoking. “It has caused me to be more aware in my environment to help explain the existence of God,” Ramsey shares.
Her courses and interactions at LBC also caused her to be more analytical in her faith. As a result, she now teaches the Word in a deeper way. “Some people just believe. Some need more explanations as they have more questions than answers at face value. Knowledge helps interpret and break down scripture for their understanding,” she explains. “Gone are the days when people believed just because you are a preacher or wear a collar.”
Ramsey doesn’t intend to stop her education just because she has earned her accredited bachelor’s degree. She understands the importance of being a lifelong learner to be able to analyze further, define and interpret the word of God and has dreams to earn her master’s degree and – eventually – a Ph.D.
“You achieve and then pray, and God gives new dreams,” she shares. “You start again with those dreams. When will you live your dreams?”