Tarwater completes first Isaac Anderson internship at First Presbyterian

July 15, 2013
Contact: Mary Moates ’14, Communications Assistant
865.981.8209; communications@maryvillecollege.edu

A recipient of Maryville College’s Isaac Anderson Fellowship, which provides support to students contemplating lives in the field of ministry, Jordan Tarwater ‘13 had the opportunity to form a connection between First Presbyterian Church of Knoxville, Tenn., and the College’s Center for Campus Ministry through a semester-long internship last spring.

“As this is a brand new internship program with our church, I'm glad we had someone with Jordan's experience and perspective who could give us valuable feedback about the program,” said Gregory Efurd, coordinator of youth ministry at First Presbyterian. “We enjoyed having Jordan be a part of our team here at the church. He is very resourceful, open and easy to work with.”

Efurd said that Tarwater’s internship activities included helping with children and youth ministry programs at the church, meeting with the church’s Christian Education Committee, teaching Sunday School and helping to lead youth at First Presbyterian’s Congregational Retreat.

“Most importantly at First Presbyterian, I helped older staff relate to the kids better and kids back to them,” Tarwater said. “It was really fun, and a really good time. It’s a lot about making things seem far removed from your experience and for your own importance, and just being able to make connections.”

Tarwater said that he believed his internship at the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program in Louisville, Ky., and his current work at First Presbyterian made him more appealing to graduate programs, as well as introduced him to new ways of exploring his craft in theology.

“I came in thinking I didn’t want to do ministry, and wanted to focus more on the academic side of theology, but my internship at First Presbyterian in connection with my Isaac Anderson scholarship has really opened up more options for me,” said Tarwater, who will attend Union Theological Seminary in New York City this fall to pursue a Master of Divinity degree.

Campus minister Rev. Dr. Anne McKee said that Tarwater has taken advantage of every opportunity to serve the church during his time at the College.

“Jordan has grown in leadership, in scholarship and in faith in his college years. He has cultivated relationships with people who help challenge and expand his ideas,” McKee said. “His quiet curiosity, winsome sense of humor and deep honesty, coupled with his faith and commitment to service, all equip him for success as he continues his education.”

In addition to insights he said that he received during his internship at First Presbyterian, Tarwater said that his Isaac Anderson scholarship helped him to decide to pursue theology, overall, having first entered the College as a political science major.

“The Isaac Anderson Fellowship is the best scholarship on campus by far. We talk about what we want to do with our lives, and it was good to have an automatic eight friends when I first came to MC,” Tarwater said. “But, most of all, being an Isaac Anderson scholar helped me on the journey of thinking about things, helping me to think about the right questions about my life.”

According to Tarwater, his experiences at First Presbyterian and as an Isaac Anderson scholar influenced his vocational goals after graduation, which he said include connecting his ministry to Appalachian rights issues.

“I want to translate these issues into an activist mentality. I’ve grown up here my whole life, so I’m passionate about the area,” Tarwater said. “It’s always been home and it always will be.”

Tarwater is the son of Michael and Pamela Tarwater of Sevierville, Tenn. He graduated from Sevier County High School in 2009. His sister, Chelsea Tarwater ’14, an English literature for teacher licensure major, also attends the College.