A graduating student of Acadia Divinity College has been awarded the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for Acadia University. Ginny Wilmhoff graduated in the spring of 2022 with a Master of Divinity degree. For more than 140 years, the Governor General’s Academic Medals have recognized the outstanding scholastic achievements of students in Canada. The gold medal is awarded annually to the student who achieves the highest academic standing at the graduate level.
To celebrate this achievement, we asked Ginny a few questions about the award and her time at ADC.
What does receiving this award mean to you?
Before coming to Acadia, I realized I needed a new approach to learning. For most of my life, I had very high expectations for myself, and I was usually afraid of letting other people down. I realized that that included God and that I saw God as being very judgemental. I began to see God differently. He became my rock, someone who would love me no matter what, and learning became an opportunity to grow closer to God and to be transformed by His love. I threw myself into my studies at ADC, and this award is a testament to that change in orientation.
How would you summarize your studies at ADC?
My studies strengthened and equipped me to serve God and His people. I specialized in pastoral care and counselling. Studying under Rev. Dr. Dorothy Hunse, I learned more about what it means to walk alongside people in their journey with God through life’s ups and downs. Rev. Dr. John McNally’s Soul of Leadership course grounded me in my own relationship with God so that I can serve others. It also gave me the tools to help others discern God’s presence in their lives. One of the most helpful classes for me was Rev. Dr. Steve McMullin’s class on evangelism. I come from a background that doesn’t emphasize evangelism, so it challenged me to authentically share my faith in a pastorally sensitive way. Finally, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the warmth and kindness of the ADC community has given me a home I can return to as I go out into ministry.
Where do you feel God calling you now in this season of your life?
I am a postulant, someone recognized by the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as discerning a call to the priesthood, and I am scheduled to attend a pre-ordination review, one of the final steps before ordination. Along with the priesthood, I feel a call to chaplaincy, particularly to a ministry of presence. God was present here among human beings in the person of Jesus Christ, and I hope that through my presence I can embody God’s love in an imperfect way to those I serve. One of my favourite Scripture passages is Mark 14:3-9 in which the woman with the alabaster jar anoints Jesus before His crucifixion.
Jesus says, “She hath done what she could: she is comeaforehand to anoint my body to the burying.” (KJV)
Most of the disciples ran away from Jesus’ suffering, but this woman met it head on. She gave all that she had to be present to Jesus in His suffering. That is what I hope to do as a priest and a chaplain.
What advice would you give to current or prospective students?
Briefly, I assisted Rev. Dr. Melody Maxwell in gathering stories for the Atlantic Baptist Stories project. I interviewed Baptists from across Atlantic Canada about their faith journeys. I learned so much from the interviewees, so I would encourage prospective students to get to know their fellow students and the ADC staff and faculty on a personal level. Not all learning happens in the classroom.
Warmest congratulations from all of us at ADC, Ginny!
We look forward to seeing where God takes you as you continue to seek Him.