Their names sound like a Nickelodeon show: "Casey and Macie Take on Fifth." Sadly, after two seasons, the show comes to a close this Sunday.
The source of the Nickelodeon joke is Werner Ramirez, who has supervised Casey Aldridge and Macie Sweet as they worked with Family Ministries, the Youth Group and 20s+30s during their two years as seminarian interns. But in the next breath, our associate pastor offers nothing but praise.
“Both of them have been all-stars,” he says. “In youth ministry, it takes a while to gain rapport with students. Both Casey and Macie gained the trust of our students very early on. They also saw the need for consistency with the students, so each of them decided to stay on at Fifth for a second year. That was a huge gift to the church and to the students. I love the students at Fifth Avenue so much, and I cannot thank Macie and Casey enough for how well they loved our students, too.”
Casey and Macie are both graduating this month with master of divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. There will be no formal commencement ceremony—that will have to wait for next year. But the pandemic will not prevent our two seminarians from moving forward in their ministries.
We asked Casey and Macie to share their plans, as well as some parting words for the congregation.
What’s Ahead for Casey
After graduation I will start as the half-time Stated Supply Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry at Pennington Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. My start date is June 7. I have already moved into the church, and I will be ordained as soon as we can hold an ordination service in person again. In the next year, I plan to apply for PhD programs in history as well.
Not many plans for the summer, other than starting the job in Pennington and preparing for PhD applications. I will try and make it down to North Carolina a couple times for a family trip to Topsail Island and for the wedding of one of my best friends, which is still on for late July, for now. I will also get to guest preach at my home church in Concord, North Carolina, in late July, whether that is in person or online.
What’s Coming Up for Macie
I will be starting a PhD program at Notre Dame in the fall! I will be a part of their History of Christianity program, studying medieval history and historical theology.
The whole process was full of stress and waiting, so I was overjoyed to be accepted into one of my top choices! Also, fun fact—in of one of my interviews there with a professor, the first question he asked was about the “Mystics with Macie” course I taught at Fifth Ave this past October!
This will be a summer of transition. I will be packing up here in Princeton and moving to South Bend at the end of July. Before then, I will do my best to spend as much time by the ocean and with my dear friends here as possible.
My two years at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church were amazing. Even though I was mostly involved in just a few corners of the church’s ministry—specifically, Fifth Avenue’s youth and young adult communities—I was welcomed by the entire church family. Even if we only interacted on tightly crammed elevator rides, I appreciate all of your hospitality and kindness.
I have learned so much these last two years from my supervisor, Werner, but also from all of you. I learned that I love youth ministry, and I can’t wait to apply what I learned here to my new gig in Pennington. I especially loved Friday night youth hangouts and confirmation class retreats to Princeton.
It was an absolute privilege to serve this church’s amazing kids and to explore deep questions with them and the young adults. I will hold this church, the people I met here, and the memories I made with you all in my heart forever. Thank you!
My time at Fifth Avenue has been some of my most precious time at seminary. It’s been such a joy to get to serve the congregation. Before this, I had never worked with middle and high schoolers in a ministry capacity, and it was such a delight to walk alongside the youth these past two years and teach them.
One of my funniest memories is from the youth overnighter last spring. Myself and a group of youth were put in charge of making pancakes in the morning, and we couldn’t find the right ingredients. The pancakes were some of the strangest I’d ever seen or tasted. I blame the sleep deprivation!
Thank you for letting me learn and serve, and providing opportunities to grow in confidence as a teacher and in ministry. I’m truly heartbroken that I have to say my goodbyes from a distance. But I look forward to seeing the ways the Lord continues to work in this congregation.