Janell had a rich education at two Midwestern institutions before she headed to Japan. Listen to her describe her time at Heidelberg College (now Heidelberg University) and Eden Theological Seminary near St. Louis, along with why she decided to study religious education.
This clip has been slightly edited from the original interview for clarity and theme. A transcript of this clip can be found below. And a full transcript of our interview with Janell can be found here [forthcoming].
Malina Suity [4:34]: Where did you go to college?
Janell Landis: I went to college in Tiffin, Ohio: Heidelberg College and now it’s Heidelberg University. In 1948 I graduated from…no high school I was ‘44 and ‘48 for college. That’s right. And I then went on to seminary in Webster Groves Missouri. Eden Theological Seminary and I had two years there.
Malina [5:19]: What made you decide to go to seminary?
Janell: Uh, as a young person I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I liked to imitate, I liked to act, I liked to sing, and I didn’t know what I was going to become. But my pastor directed me in the field of christian education so at Heidelberg I majored in Christian-ed and I had a minor in Sociology and Psychology. But then as I graduated he recommended going to seminary for the two more years and getting the training, feeling that I’d be more satisfied with my work if I was better trained. So, um, Lancaster Seminary was closer to where I lived, but it didn’t have the program as long as Eden did. Eden had a history of having the program for Christian-ed majors and Lancaster Seminary just started so I went to Eden which was a long bus ride to the suburbs of Saint Louis. And uh, and I was there for two years and I came back to Tiffin where I worked in a church for two years, finding out that I wasn’t an administrator. I liked to do things myself (laughs) and had a difficult time asking people to, “Would you take this class and teach it, you know, for how many weeks?” But anyway, so I went to seminary because my pastor guided me, carefully, and I’m so glad that he did.
Malina [12:27]: And one more thing that I was interested in. When you attended seminary, were there a lot of other women at seminary with you?
Janell: Yes. There were two of them who were actually in the course that took three years for preparation to be a pastor. But I was in a two-year course directly for women or men going into ministry as Christian ed-leaders, you know associates in the Church. But, I didn’t have any ordination, I wasn’t…but there were two or three. There was one woman from China with us. And um, she was in the Christian education course and another woman who was the mother of one of my classmates, she was in that course too. So, it was an interesting experience because we took the same classes as the men and women pastors or preachers. But we had some of our special classes connected to the Christian education.
Photograph of Founder’s Hall at Heidelberg University via Wikimedia Commons. Photograph of young Janell via Janell Landis.