Who would have thought that going to seminary could wind you up in prison? That is exactly what happened to June Tamburro (T ’10) after she participated in the first Drew PREP class back in 2008. PREP (Partners for Religious Education in Prison) is an opportunity for Drew Theological students to take classes alongside incarcerated students at two NJ prisons. June was so transformed by her PREP classes that she continued to work as a religious volunteer at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women long after she graduated from Drew.
June began her seminary education in 2007 in the MTS program. Previously, she had worked in lay ministries primarily with women and the disenfranchised. Her heart for social justice and passion for education led her to Drew so she could be better equipped for local mission and work in her home church, Bridgewater United Methodist. However, after graduation her heart continued to stir and in 2012 she accepted her call to the ministry of the UM deacon. She is now a certified candidate and is working towards commissioning in the next year.
June’s prison ministry took a new direction in 2012 when she accepted a position with a newly formed program that provides college degree programs in the NJ prison system. NJ-STEP is a consortium of colleges (including Drew University) that offer college classes in eight prisons. June works as an academic counselor for students at Edna Mahan and the Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility. Although STEP is a secular program, she believes this work exemplifies the work and heart of a deacon, which bridges the church to the world.
More recently, June accepted an appointment as a part-time local pastor at East Millstone UMC. East Millstone is one of seven churches linked together as part of an exciting new regional ministry model called the Somerset Hills Regional Ministry. She is excited to be working on a team in this holy experiment of linking churches together to reach out to our communities with the love of Jesus Christ. June is excited about equipping God’s people in this ministry for discipleship in the world.