While the strong pull remained, she found other ways to be involved with human rights and environmental issues. She earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and biology and a master’s in environmental science. Clements pursued a career in international development, focusing on human rights and justice issues. She worked in Kenya and Haiti for Save the Children and the Christian Children’s Fund. “I saw that a faith-based approach to community building, human rights and relationships,” she says, “is a wonderful way to build a community that is respectful and follows in the model of Jesus.”
Three years ago when her father died, she decided that now was the time to mesh this experience with her faith. Clements enrolled at Canada’s Montreal Diocesan Theological College, an Anglican theological college and was a founding member of The Montreal School of Theology in affiliation with McGill University.
When her husband, Ronald Nielsen, was offered a job in Ohio, the family made the move to Cleveland from Montreal. The couple has two sons: Wils, 13 and Nicholas, 10. Clements applied to Bexley Hall in Columbus, entering as a senior. Commuting from Cleveland, she is attending three-quarters time. She joined Trinity as its seminarian last October and will remain with the Cathedral at least through May.
“The first time I came to Cleveland, we were staying downtown,” Clements recalls, “I wanted to know where the Anglican or Episcopal churches were and I found Trinity. I popped in, completed a visitor form and had a call from the Dean. We chatted and she asked if I had a field placement. It was serendipity.”
As Trinity’s seminarian, Clements is teaching the youth confirmation class, takes communion to home-bound parishioners, is participating in the Cathedral’s sustainability team and shadows the Dean in a variety of aspects.
“Trinity is alive with young people,” she adds, “and that is not the norm where I come from. So it’s doing something well and I’m looking forward to picking up on that.”