Current Issue / DU Alumni

Former teacher finds new life in the ministry

After teaching in Denver public schools for 20 years, Anne Pennington, BA ’59, thought it was time to start a new career.

So, 40 years after graduating with a degree in theatre and education, she went back to school to get a master’s degree in ministry. It was “a time for spiritual renewal,” Pennington recalls. Shortly after graduation in 2002, she completed clinical pastoral education and since has served as a protestant chaplain at St. John West Shore Hospital in West Lake, Ohio.

Going back to school was a big step, Pennington says. “I had taken classes for education certification and spiritual and personal growth throughout the years, but here was a commitment of three years time and a lot of money,” says the 66-year-old grandmother of three, who spent weekends writing papers.

“I was the oldest of both undergraduate and graduate students at the graduation ceremony,” she recalls.

Pennington says she’s always been interested in ministry. She has held part-time jobs as an organist and choir director at various churches throughout the years, and as a theatre major, she always dreamt of directing church plays. Former DU chaplain Bill Rose was a great influence, Pennington says. “I loved his philosophy and religion classes.”

Today, she offers spiritual assistance to a broad range of hospital visitors, including cancer, heart surgery and pediatrics patients. “When I connect to a patient or family member on a spiritual level and we get to the heart of the situation she or he is facing—whether it is fear or uncertainty or the joy of returning health—I feel I am fulfilling my role as a chaplain,” Pennington says.

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