Ethan, T’23, and Anatol, T’24, Ferguson knew from the start that the University of the South’s School of Theology was a perfect fit for their family. Both are from the Bahamas, and in 2020, they were ready to take a leap and further their studies in a new cultural environment. A postulant for Holy Orders from the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands, Anatol felt called to pursue her formation through the School’s master of divinity program. Ethan, already a priest in the same diocese, was excited to work on a master of sacred theology degree.


Ethan notes that clergy generally “get few opportunities to refuel, upgrade, and learn about what’s happening theologically.” The School of Theology offered this chance to replenish. Along with strong academic traditions, cutting-edge teaching, and a global perspective, these were exactly the qualities that the Fergusons sought in a seminary program.


As they prepared to pack their bags, life intervened. First, the pandemic prompted Ethan and Anatol to rethink the timing of their enrollment from 2020 to 2021. Then they learned that they had a son, Zaire, on the way. At the seminary that Ethan attended in Barbados, families are not permitted to live together during the academic year. Suddenly, a move to Sewanee represented much more than a study opportunity—it was a way for the Fergusons to further their theological education while keeping their family together.


Despite the challenges of navigating an international move with a newborn, Ethan and Anatol embraced their new life’s chapter. Thanks to a generous scholarship package, they could focus on getting settled into their new community, diving into their studies, and caring for Zaire, without worrying about financial hurdles.


Now with just a few months of Sewanee life behind them, all three Fergusons are thriving. As much as they cherish the knowledge they are gaining here, Ethan and Anatol love the close-knit community that Sewanee provides. When Sewanee’s campus daycare is closed, the parents can take turns bringing Zaire to class. The Fergusons’ classmates call Zaire “the youngest seminarian.”


Though the Fergusons came to the School of Theology to be at the “crossroads of the Anglican communion,” as they describe it, their experience has been even richer than they hoped. Describing their fellow seminarians, they say: “They’re not just classmates. They are family now.”