‘I’ve been a singer for most of my life, singing in church choirs since I was eight years old. While still a part of my ministry, it’s not going to be my main role as a future Episcopal priest. There will be times I’ll have to sing and lead a congregation in song, but it won’t be the main way I live out my spirituality. Luckily, the ISM has played an integral role in my flourishing as an Episcopal seminarian, catering to interests I may not otherwise have the possibility to explore. So being in a context where I can learn about sacred music and the arts, and to live out that life while I still have the ability and the time, has been incredible.
In January of this year (2016), I was named a Seminary Fellow for an Episcopal Relief and Development trip to Ghana. For eight days we traveled around the country exploring ways in which Episcopal Relief and Development helps Ghanaians flourish. We met with Ghanaians the whole time, and it was incredible to be welcomed with song and dance by locals. Mostly Ghanaian women were the ones welcoming us, wearing brightly colored clothes – they would dance and stomp their feet as a sign of welcome and hospitality, singing in languages we didn’t understand – but music is a universal language! It’s the welcoming, hospitality, acceptance, and coming together that was important. It opens up your eyes to ways music and the arts can play a role in bringing people together.”
Michael Kurth, M.Div. ’18, is a student at Berkeley Divinity School, Yale Divinity School, and the ISM, preparing for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.
Interview and photo by Tara Jamali, M.A.R. ’17