Alumni Stories & Updates
Though Elrica (third from right) may be, at times, a quiet presence in a room, you can be sure she is taking in and analyzing every aspect of the room and what is being said. She states she’s been a voracious learner since she was a child, always wanting to know more—not just for the knowledge, but so that she can use the knowledge to help others.
She began her college journey as a bio/pre-med student at Bloomfield College in New Jersey. But she stopped school and lived a full life—full of boys. She has six sons and the youngest are still in high school.
Elrica returned to college at Central Penn seventeen years after dropping out—living out the lesson she taught all her boys, “Education is important.” Elrica chose to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice at Central Penn College, forging a path toward advocacy for the voiceless. In January 2015 Elrica enrolled in the MATS program at Moravian Seminary. She continued to feel called to advocate for the voiceless but struggled to fit her strong sense of call into a thesis. After taking some time off to fulfill a dream of being accepted into a law school summer program, Elrica changed her degree program from MATS to the Chaplaincy program and graduated in May 2018.
Elrica hit the ground running. She was ordained and commissioned by the Federation of Christian Ministries on March 30, 2019, and she’ll complete a 12-month, full-time chaplaincy residency at Reading Hospital in Reading, PA in August. She remains excited about her options on the other side of August, planning on continuing chaplaincy wherever the need arises and possibly pursuing ACPE supervisory education.
Elrica is a model of never letting an excuse—even what most of us call life—get in between you and your call.
One recent morning, Andrew Craver walked to his office in Bethel, Alaska, in -25F weather with 15MPH winds. To provide some context, Bethel is farther west in Alaska than Anchorage, which is a 1.25-hour plane ride southeast. In January, the sun rises at about 10:30am and sets at about 5:30pm. Andrew says “Before I graduated from Moravian Theological Seminary I had some idea that Jenna (my wife) and I could be called to Alaska, and had given some thought to what life might look like here, but even Bethlehem winters could not have prepared me for this new, very cold, normal.”
Can you share a bit about your life since graduation?
The history of Moravians in the south-western region of Alaska is nearly 140 years long, and I learn more about our denomination here every day. In Bethel, our congregation serves a large Native Alaskan population, most obviously through Sunday evening worship services using the regional native language: Yup'ik.
The congregation with whom I serve is in the community of Bethel (pop. approx. 7,000). Though the temperatures can get quite chilly, the people here are warm and hospitable. As far removed as we may seem from the dense Moravian centers of the Lehigh Valley and Winston-Salem areas, my wife Jenna and I feel quite at home here and are happy to report that the Moravian spirit of unity in diversity is alive and well in Bethel, AK.
I have also continued my work as a US Army Reserve Chaplain and currently serve a transportation unit based in Honolulu, HI. In November I fulfilled the final requirements and received assignment orders for chaplaincy in the US Army.
Jenna is currently working as a teacher in a special education classroom at the preschool level.
What is one thing from your time in Seminary that you use in your professional or personal life?
What advice would you give to students in Seminary now?