SIM News

Melina Dezhbod

Melina Dezhbod


Melina Dezhbod

Melina Dezhbod, Virginia Theological Seminary, ’21, Postulant, Diocese of Connecticut

Melina Dezhbod fled Iran with her family in 2000 to escape religious persecution.  She relates, “When I reflect on my family’s journey, what always amazes me are all the people who risked their lives to help strangers. Seeing that love made me ask how I could one day give that love to others as it was given to my family.” Melina hopes to combine her training as a social worker with her theological education to create transformational Episcopal ministries in communities serving the homeless and displaced.

When asked about her first year of seminary and her summer plans, Melina offered, “I recently attended the Seminarians of Color Conference early in March. I am all set for a journey to Jerusalem and the Holy Land for this summer.  In addition, I will be studying to take my LMSW licensing test.

This year was my first time attending the Seminarians of Color Conference. As a junior, I was very excited to attend and make connections with other seminarians. After attending, I was so happy I made the decision to go. I met a lot of incredible people, made connections with our Missioners, and learned about the resources available in our church. As soon as I arrived, though I was a little nervous, everyone made me feel at home. The learnings were deep: most prominent to me was the history of indigenous peoples of the Americas and the current state of ministry within those communities.  Overall, this gathering was a wonderful opportunity, and I will be attending my next two years of seminary. It was also really nice to get to join others from VTS and with whom I got to make deeper connections. I can’t wait to go and see everyone again next year! I left with my VTS family and came back with an even bigger Episcopal family!


My summer was spent studying for my social work license. After much studying, I am excited to say I am officially licensed as an LMSW. This brings me one step closer to my vocational aspiration of building a bridge between social workers and priests. In between studying for those exams, I also visited Israel/Palestine, as well as Jordan. It’s one of those trips where, on returning, there is much to take in and process. But I enjoyed getting to walk where Jesus did, being back in the Middle East after 20 years, and getting to spend time with people from my diocese. The warm love and welcome I receive every time I go abroad is a reminder of what we continue to work on as a people – that is love for all, even the stranger that comes to visit your home.

Thanks to Sim for its support and all the resources shared this year!