by Shelly Jungwirth
My friend Marsha Gadoury informed me that a member of our church, Sabra Jones, had recently received her divinity degree. I called Sabra to chat about her achievement. Her story speaks of the power of making connections in life, and making change happen.
Sabra founded the Mirror Theater in 1983 with performances both on and off Broadway, London, and a local connection with Greensboro Arts Alliance and Residency (GAAR). Founded in 2005, GAAR is still active and planning new productions here in our locale.
Sabra sought new professional goals when she began attending Union Theological Seminary at Columbia in New York City in 2018. In May 2021 she received a Master’s in Divinity and will continue studies to complete a chaplaincy and then study for ordination at Union.
Completing any degree in theology requires much self-reflection, so when I asked Sabra how she came to her decision to pursue a degree in divinity, she noted that a calling had been present since she was very young. Her father was deeply involved as the comptroller of a large psychiatric hospital where she often visited, witnessing many aspects of human trauma, pain, and suffering during those visits.
It was during her visits to the hospital that Sabra developed her interest in acting, going on to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and in particular the Constantin Stanislavski method. This method focuses on authenticity and using an individual’s particular personality to bring forth the character being portrayed. Stanislavski’s methods are still used today. The idea is not to act, but to live a whole new life, that of the character. Sabra mentioned that the authenticity or truth of oneself is important in acting, and it follows with ministry.
Sabra has enjoyed the intellectual rigor of Columbia. She came to NYC at 18 with dreams and an adventurous spirit desiring to forget where she came from, and then discovered it had been a great gift to be exposed to all kinds of human experience and emotion.
Though the connections between theater and ministry may still seem vague to you, recall that the Greeks wrote plays about worshiping gods! Theater has long been a way to explain our human condition, thoughts, and emotions.