Navigating Life on the Hilltop with Residential Ministry

By Rev. Dr. Shazetta Thompson-Hill. Shazetta is the Program Director for Residential Ministry, and a Residential Minister in Village A.

Photo of Rev. Dr. Shazetta Thompson-Hill. Shazetta is the Program Director for Residential Ministry, and a Residential Minister in Village A.

I often find it difficult to contain the overwhelming sense of gratitude I feel each time I pause to think about this work I’m blessed to partake in. While this is my second year serving as a Resident Minister, I did not begin serving as Program Director for Residential Ministry until the beginning of last semester. As with anything, the view from the position of leadership is a bit different… (and daunting). Still, the work has been divine. We have not been without our challenges; nevertheless, in my faith tradition, there is text that speaks to the ways in which challenges and all that accompany them pale in comparison to the “glory that shall be revealed.” This “glory” often reveals itself in the faces of students and others I meet as I move about the campus each day. It reveals itself as I am reminded of the rich and diverse heritages that are represented among the current team of resident ministers. It reveals itself when I hear the stories and reflections from students, staff, alums and others who have had intentional or even chance encounters with the those I’m blessed to serve with in this work. This glory keeps me humble and inspires me to continuously look for the “more” to which the Spirit is undoubtedly calling us.

The Residential Ministry program is blessed in that we boast a diverse and gifted roster of resident ministers who are credentialed and skilled in many fields. While we all may differ in our approaches, what we share in common is commitment, passion and hope. We are committed to coming alongside students in times of crises and as they journey through the joys and concerns of everyday life. This might look like baking 300 cookies per week or hosting brownies and quesadillas at late hours. We are passionate about what we do. This might show through firing up the BBQ grill for Imam Yahya Hendi’s “world-famous” chicken, hosting a crafting night, or cooking a meal for a few students at a time each month, until all who wish have a had a chance to sit at our table. We are hopeful that our work is impactful as we mix milkshakes or pause on our walks in the clerical attire of our varying traditions to chat or to simply be present and visible to students and staff alike. These shared characteristics, this ‘common ground,’ is what makes this team and this work so powerfully rewarding and impactful.

As we look toward the future, my hope is that the Residential Ministry program will continue to grow in its visibility as the rich resource that it is. Our focus this year is an extension of the broader Campus Ministry mission: intentionally engaging in the vital and challenging work of cultivating environments of belonging at Georgetown. We will continue to build on this through training, program development, and, above all, the intentional ministry of presence.

I am grateful for the warm welcomes and well-wishes that I have received from so many since beginning this role in August. I look forward to getting to know everyone better.