Ted Wilkinson is one of those people who have the ability to put you at ease with his casual presence and listening ear. Sure, his extensive knowledge of Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons add to his affable nature—and his seemingly limitless gifts of candy during exam time—but it’s really his charming modesty that makes Ted one of Wake Divinity’s most beloved students.
Originally from Chevy Chase, MD, Ted first came to North Carolina as an undergraduate at Guilford College where he majored in Religious Studies. After graduation, he spent some time working as a night auditor in hotels out in Yellowstone, which allowed him time to build his movie trivia knowledge base. After a five-year break, Ted made his way back to North Carolina and here to Wake Divinity.
Ted’s religious background is a bit eclectic. Although he was involved in youth groups beginning when he was 12, he admits that his family did not talk much about church or pray often while he was growing up. Laughing, he told me, “I remember when I went to confirmation class, my parents had to search high and low for a Bible in the house because I needed to look up the 10 Commandments. This was before Google was really a thing, so you had to go to a book.” He also shared that Wake is the first environment he has been in where Christianity was the majority faith. “Everyone in my middle school, my high school, my college was primarily an atheist. I remember in high school, I would say 40% of the students were Jewish. There were very few practicing Christians and I wasn’t friends with any of them.”
Even though Ted has not always been surrounded by people that held his same religious views, he has known for a long time that he had a call. “I knew I had a call, but I didn’t know what that meant.” That knowing has not always translated into being able to discern next steps or even to talk about it with people. “Faith has always been a very personal journey for me. Even now, I sort of feel uncomfortable talking about faith because I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.” The hesitance to talk about faith seems to be lessening, however, as he continues his spiritual journey seeking ordination in the United Church of Christ.
When he is not studying or working, Ted is involved in a variety of activities. He has been involved in Anthony’s Plot, a local non-profit organization that works with the homeless community, and is a member of Peace United Church of Christ in Greensboro. He is also a member of Kaleidoscope. Outside of his humanitarian interests, Ted crochets scarves and hats that he gives as gifts, embraces the fact that he is a “big nerd,” and is an “avid Stephen King and Ray Bradbury fan,” as well as “amateur short story author.” While specific job prospects after graduation are still a bit out of focus, Ted is looking forward to some fun work with friends, producing the (hopefully) upcoming film The Ken Burns Effect. Wherever Ted’s journey takes him, we know he will continue to bring a comforting presence and lightness of spirit.