Like Mother, Like Daughter

Two members of the Theo School’s Class of 2011 know each other a little better than most.

By Mary Jo Patterson

Kimberly Williams (left) and her mother, Linda Jefferson. Photo by Lynne DeLade.

Linda Jefferson and her daughter, Kimberly Williams, had the feeling they needed to further their theological education. That’s not surprising on its face. Jefferson is a preacher’s wife, and Williams the preacher’s daughter. They’re close. Both play integral roles in the life of their husband and father’s church, Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark.

But the amazing thing is that it happened at the same time, and that each decided—without telling the other—to apply to the Master of Theological Studies program. Now both have their MTS degrees. At commencement, their family cheered them on, including husband and father David Jefferson Sr. T’89.

“The journey’s been a blessing from God,” says Linda, a mother of four. She decided to go back to school for the sake of her women’s ministry. “There were women with painful issues. I wanted to make certain I was giving them the proper direction,” she says.

Williams had similar reasons. “As the curiosity around answering theological questions increased, I felt a need to further my education,” she says. Williams is married with two young children and a full-time job.

On the first day of class, they arrived in separate cars. They’d agreed to be fellow students, not mother and daughter. Because they look alike, people often asked if they were sisters. Sometimes they studied together, sometimes alone. Despite demanding schedules, both found time for family, work and community.

Now that they’re done, Jefferson plans to write a book. Williams wants to develop a Sunday School curriculum for the African-American community. “Maybe one day I’ll write a book about being a preacher’s kid,” she says. “Or even one about this journey.”

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