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Student of the Month: Alexa Dava

Alexa completed her M.Div at the University of Chicago Divinity School last June, and she also holds a BA in Anthropology and Spanish from Wheaton College. During her M.Div studies, she did a unit of CPE at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and interned as a pastor at Urban Village Church. She’s seeking ordination with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which she first encountered by way of attending Gilead Church Chicago. Basically: Alexa likes church and (on her best days) thinks it has deep creative and pedagogical potential, even as it slowly dies in the U.S. Alexa recently moved to Lexington, KY with her partner, Jack, and is enjoying slow mornings on her new front porch.

You recently graduated! Congratulations! What were your favorite courses and assignments during your studies?

I really loved the M.Div-specific courses required for my degree, namely Ritual and Speaking. The introductory courses to Hebrew Bible and New Testament were fantastic. I loved all of my text courses, actually. A class on the Book of Ruth inspired me to write my thesis about reading Ruth through the lens of utang na loob, a Filipino virtue ethic.

What’s next?

In September, I’ll join the World Council of Churches to work on a project addressing sexual and reproductive health. I’m eager and grateful to put my theological education to use in this context. These days, I’m also hoping to catch up on some of the readings I skipped during grad school and work on my Tagalog.

What have you learned from your leadership experience?

When big problems arise, it’s better to slow down than to speed up. In the words of Dr. Bayo Akomolafe, “The times are urgent, let us slow down.”

What has your experience been with PANAAWTM?

In a word: healing. I attended my first PANAAWTM conference when it was held virtually in spring 2021 and it was a balm. The conference committee thoughtfully blended Asian women’s experience and Christian practice in ways I had never encountered before. I was especially floored by the sincere encouragement and warmth I experienced from such a brilliant group of people.

What brings you hope and joy?

Last weekend, my partner collaborated with two of my besties who drove through the night to surprise me here in Lexington- matching Barbie movie t-shirts in-hand. I am blessed with a small circle of caring and thoughtful people who sustain me when the world feels like too much. Also: communities like PANAAWTM— groups of powerful, kind women and non-binary folks collaborating, mentoring, and contributing to each other’s subversive and sacred work.

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