Coming full circle

Those who know Rev. Janet Ehrmantraut also know that she has an affinity for turtles. Maybe it’s the quiet grace that draws her, with their slow and steady determination, or perhaps it’s the appeal of the round, hard shell–that protective circle–that allows the rain and thumps of life to go by without much damage. Either way, to those who know her, all of the above makes sense.

A 1983 graduate of Lexington Theological Seminary, Ehrmantraut embodied those qualities–among many others–as she served on the staff of the Christian Church In Kentucky as associate and regional minister. She also pastored at Antioch Christian Church in Lexington, Ky., and, most recently, at Central Christian Church in Lexington, where she was Minister of Pastoral Care.

Now, LTS welcomes Ehrmantraut as Mentor Program Coordinator, and in this role she helps new students find mentors in their communities.
It is indeed a coming home for Ehrmantraut, who once benefitted from having a mentor as a student at LTS.

But there is more to her story.

Near the end of her tenure at Central Christian Church in 2010, when she hoped to be making travel plans with her husband, Curt, she found herself facing an old enemy–cancer.

Instead of mapping out stops along Route 66, she and her team of doctors were mapping out chemotherapy and radiation treatments. How would it affect her? She did not know, but she took it one day at a time. The support of her husband and congregation, and having access to good health care are not taken for granted by Ehrmantraut.

“There is nothing I did to earn that. It was simply the circumstances of my journey, yet I ache for those for whom the journey is so much more difficult,” she said.
That sense of compassion and gratitude carry through to her new role, which she embraces with steady determination. “I owe this institution and its servants a great deal–for an excellent education and a community of peers and leaders that have influenced me since I walked through the doors in January of 1980,” she said. “And quite selflishly, the Seminary offered me a reason to get back into a community of ministry and use my brain and heart at a time when there was little else I could do. For that I am very grateful.”

Ehrmantraut finished her treatment regimen in February. She is enthusiastically working with regional ministers as well as local congregations and pastors in the areas throughout North America where LTS students live.

“She brings many gifts for ministry,” notes LTS President James P. Johnson.  “We are thrilled to welcome her.”