Seminary Starts Toastmasters Club

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As seminarians prepare for ministry, developing self-confidence and communication skills is important. The new Toastmasters club sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Preaching (CEP) at Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS) is helping students gain both.

The Ted Spoelstra Toastmasters Club, named for a generous donor who provides funds for communication resources for seminarians, started in the fall of 2009 and celebrated its charter organization in March.

The group meets twice each month over lunch at the Seoul Garden restaurant near campus. There they listen to and encourage one another in public speaking.

CTS students are enthusiastic about the new venture. Club secretary Reita Yazawa says, “We are practicing to become better public speakers in a supportive, encouraging atmosphere [and are] attracting members from Calvin Seminary, Calvin College, the CRC headquarters, and the local community.”

CTS student Amos Oei serves as president of the club. CTS preaching professor John Rottman and Calvin College communications professor Randy Bytwerk are also charter members. Sponsored by the CEP’s Spoelstra Communications Fund, the club is open to anyone interested in improving his or her communication skills.

Toastmasters International was founded in 1924 to help adults learn communication skills. The key is learning through participation, said District Governor Ron Musich in his address to the newly formed club at its charter celebration. Lisa Sochacki, volunteer coordinator for ServiceLink at the CRC denominational office in Grand Rapids, gave an impressive speech about God’s work in her life, titled “Write Your Plans in Pencil and Let God Have the Eraser.”

For more information about the CTS Toastmasters Club, see http://calvincollege.freetoasthost.org/index.html.  


About the Author

Rev. Kathy Smith is senior associate director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, adjunct professor of church polity at Calvin Theological Seminary, and adjunct professor of congregational and ministry studies at Calvin University. She is a member of First CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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