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Student of the Month: Ya-nan Lu


Ya-nan Lu 卢亚楠 is a PhD student in Theology and Ethics department at Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. She is from China. She holds a Master of Sacred Theology concentrating on social ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a Master of Divinity from Nanjing Union Theological Seminary in China. She is an ordained pastor, currently working on her dissertation proposal. Ya-nan’s research concentrates on constructing ecclesiology from the perspective of Chinese Christian women.


What are your interests in your field of study?

I am interested in feminist theology and ethics, as well as Chinese theology. With 70 percent of Christians in China being women, it is crucial to acknowledge their capacity for theological education, ordination, leadership within the church, participation in ministries, and significant contributions. Their theological methods, wisdom, and contributions warrant thorough examination. Consequently, my goal is to investigate Chinese Christian women's ecclesiological understanding and contributions to developing ecclesiology from their perspectives.


How are you identifying your calling?

After completing my MDiv, I embarked on a meaningful journey dedicated to serving rural communities. I regularly visited various churches, particularly in mountainous regions, and observed a profound spiritual yearning among the locals. Many of the congregations I encountered were predominantly comprised of individuals aged sixty and above, often lacking a resident pastor. These experiences underscored the vital role of theological education in nurturing and sustaining faith communities. I would want to respond to God’s calling by utilizing what I have learned to inspire and empower more ministers and church leaders who will serve their communities faithfully.


What is your experience with PANAAWTM?

I joined STM program at Union Theological Seminary in 2019. My director, Dr. Jane Huber, offered me an opportunity to attend PANAAWTM. It was full of support, insights, and enjoyment. Therefore, I continued participating in PANAAWTM annual meetings in 2023 and 2024. Over these years, mentorship and friendship through PANAAWTM have been a vital support system in my journey of pursuing PhD studies. From providing early advice to improve my PhD application, step by step, PANAAWTM has played a crucial role in shaping me into a more mature pastor and PhD scholar. Through PANAAWTM, I have connected with like-minded individuals who share similar goals and aspirations, creating a supportive community that encourages growth and learning. This network has been a gift in my life, allowing me to expand my knowledge and skills in academia and ministry.  


What brings you hope and joy?

God's love and grace, which I have experienced and witnessed through the stories of families, neighbors, friends, and strangers, have nourished my hope and joy. God's love and grace give people the courage and power to face their struggles, pursue justice, speak truth, and build God's kingdom.



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