Photo Essay | “Humans of the ISM”

Religion and the Arts, Student Life, Yale Divinity School

If you’re a savvy internet user, you are undoubtedly familiar with the “Humans of New York” page on Facebook.  With its tagline “New York City, one story at a time,” the page weaves together personal narratives and moving photos to create a mosaic of the incredible diversity and humanity found in the thirty-three square square miles of Manhattan.

In that same spirit, today we bring you our first installment of “Humans of the ISM: Worship, Music and the Arts, one story at a time.”  With a community of just under one hundred people, every person’s story is unique, and each voice and perspective worth sharing in order to contribute to our greater understanding of the ISM as a whole.  Our first two pieces feature M.Div students, Jane Meditz and Liesl Spitz, who were interviewed and photographed by fellow student Tara Jamali (M.A.R. ’17). We hope you enjoy their stories!  And be sure to check back as we bring you more stories from students, faculty, fellows, and staff members throughout the year.

Jane Mediz, M.Div. '18. Photo by Tara Jamali, M.A.R. '17

Jane Mediz, M.A.R. ’17. Photo by Tara Jamali, M.A.R. ’17

What did it feel like to compose “Song for the Martyrs?”

I hadn’t written music on martyrdom or ever dealt with it as an artist before…but in a sense it became personal because I was imagining being in that position when I wrote the song. And yet, not having been through it, there was only so far that I could go with the music…but it was very organic process; it didn’t take a lot of time. And it was a very beautiful and powerful moment, just remembering the basic call of people in the Christian faith in a very simple understanding of it in that moment.

 -Jane Meditz, M.Div. ’18


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Liesl Spitz, M.Div. ’17. Photo by Tara Jamali, M.A.R. ’17.

What is your Supervised Ministry internship like?

My supervised ministry this year is with Trinity on the Green, running a service called Table on the Green (formerly known as Perichoresis). It has been special to see people from the ISM, YDS, Trinity on the Green, Yale College, and the neighborhood come together. Each service different people are asked to lead scriptural reflection, to prepare the meal, to guide the community in prayer and to share stories. Folks are invited to come early to set up, and everyone is asked to clean up as part of the liturgy. We’re inviting people to work together and to be vulnerable in a worship setting, which creates a precious, crumbly aesthetic–like the Eucharistic bread we break off for each other in big chunks saying “This is my body.” We as the Body of Christ are part of this vulnerable and visceral world. When we open up by leading the service or lifting our voices, we’re creating space for the Holy Spirit to move and do Her thing—and She does.

-Liesl Spitz, M.Div. ’17

Thank you, Jane and Liesl! And thank you Tara for putting these stories together!