Near the end of 1837, Reuben Gaylord returned to Connecticut from Illinois. He went on horseback, visiting Niagra Falls along the way. Once home, he visited family and friends and prepared for his training in divinity at Yale.
His letters include some thoughts on theological issues, John Locke, revival, and the growth of the anti-slavery movement. He is also discerning what he will do next. At one point he intended to stay another year at Yale. At another he planned to return to Illinois and spend a year in apprenticeship with a pastor there. Neither plan achieved actuality.
Instead, he was licensed to ministry on Tuesday, June 12, 1838 and began supplying pulpits. He wrote to Miss Burton in a letter dated June 18:
Solemn and weighty are the responsibilities now upon me, but let me not shrink from them, for Christ says, "My grace is sufficient for thee." . . . God has borne me up amid all my discouragements, and now my heart swells with gratitude to Him as I stand and review the past.
With six other friends, they developed a plan to go to Iowa. Each would preach in a separate town, while two of them worked in establishing a college, of which the others would be trustees. They were determined to play a part in building up the new state. They received support from the American Home Missionary Society.
But hark! from Iowa comes a call, a loud and earnest note for men. Come forth, ye consecrated ones! Plant the standard of the cross and unfurl the gospel banner beyond the Father of Waters! To the Home Missionary Society I have sent that call, and the reply is, "Go, and the Lord be with you." -- in a letter dated July 27, 1838
He was ordained in August of that year and by September 3 was in Cinncinnati, on his way headed west.