Ryan Dowell Baum (MDiv 2009)
Ryan Dowell Baum grew up in a suburb of Albany, New York and earned his undergraduate degree at New York University. He spent a year studying in Johannesburg, South Africa, which he considers a transformational experience. “It cemented my feeling of being called to urban ministry and social justice.” And it spurred him to choose PSR over Harvard and Earlham School of Religion, a Quaker seminary that was also a strong draw for the Quaker Baum.
“The opportunities that the social justice bent of PSR have afforded and its urban location have been really helpful to me,” Baum says of his first year here. “Also, the ecumenical setting — being in the GTU — has allowed me to be exposed to all sorts of different kinds of Christian theology and to put together, for myself, a theology that supports my growth — primarily in Christian love, but also in a subsidiary of that, in justice and in working to make God’s reign a reality here.
“Another transformative experience that occurred at PSR is that I decided to seek dual affiliation with United Church of Christ. I’ve been really excited and surprised by my encounter with the UCC. I thought I was going to be one of the first Quaker UCC ministers; but it turns out there are a whole bunch of them! My friends call me a ‘Quaking Congregationalist.’”
photography by Hilary Marckx