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Alexandria, VA

Commencement 2011

June 2011

Message from the Dean

The Class of 2011: Formed by Grace & Challenge


he class of 2011 has graduated. Set in the striking setting of Callaway Chapel (thank you Episcopal High School), our students celebrated, hugged, wept, and laughed as they received their degrees and diplomas. With Bishops Doyle (at the Service for the Mission of the Church) and Curry (at Commencement) bringing a challenge to our graduates, the departing ceremonies were the perfect preparation for a life of ministry. Our graduates have traveled a long way since arriving at Seminary. In many ways, Seminary is difficult. Even with our generous scholarship packages, there is significant sacrifice both on the personal level and for family. Inevitably, there are moments of pain and sadness - the hard work of formation demands it. Community is fabulous, save for those moments when one needs to be alone. Academic study is a great gift, but becomes difficult when there are three papers to finish and two examinations to take. Seminary seeks to anticipate the life of ministry and service. It is a both/and experience. The gains come as a result of struggle. The achievement is all the greater because of the difficult moments. This graduating class has seen very closely the ways that grace and challenge intermingle. The class arrived as the Seminary was coping with the 2008 recession and stock market crash; they lived through a chapel fire and watched church emerge again in a different setting; they had to cope with the tragic death of a member of their class - the Rev. Dr. John Sylvester-Johnson. In all these tragedies, they saw how God had the capacity to redeem the moment, how grace emerged from pain, and how hope arises from challenge. In addition to all this, the traditional work of formation was still necessary: they needed to allow God to work on their lives, preparing them to be vehicles of grace and love to others. Is there hope for the Episcopal Church? Yes! This graduating class is packed full of gifted and talented men and women. They stand ready to serve the people of God; they are eager to pioneer new ways of doing church; they are comfortable with the spectrum of liturgical styles in the Episcopal Church; and they are fine examples of spirit-filled lives. To God be the glory.

Virginia Theological Seminary OFFICERS

Campus Shots

The Rt. Rev. James J. Shand Chairman of the Board Ms. Sissy Poland Vice Chairman of the Board Dr. David H. Charlton Secretary/Treasurer The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D. Dean and President Mr. Timothy F. Sedgwick, Ph.D. Vice President The Rev. J. Barney Hawkins IV, Ph.D. Vice President Ms. Heather Zdancewicz Vice President, Assistant Treasurer & Assistant Secretary

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Mrs. Auguste J. Bannard (2016) Mr. David Booth Beers (2015) Mr. Julian M. Bivins, Jr. (2012) The Rev. Catherine M. Campbell (2014) The Rt. Rev. John B. Chane Dr. David H. Charlton (2016) The Rev. Canon Thomas G. Clarke (2012) The Rev. Dr. Harold J. Cobb, Jr. (2013) The Rev. Carlotta A. Cochran (2014) Dr. Lynwood D. I. Day (2013) Mr. W. Carter Doswell (2013) Mr. A. Hugh Ewing III (2013) The Rev. C. Neal Goldsborough (2015) Mrs. Martha W. High (2014) The Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith IV The Rev. Angela S. Ifill (2016) Ms. Elizabeth Cabell Jennings (2014) The Rev. Allan B. Johnson-Taylor (2014) The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston The Rev. R. Kevin Kelly (2013) The Rt. Rev. William (Mike) Michie Klusmeyer The Rev. Thomas M. Kryder-Reid (2012) Mr. James R. Lowe, Jr. (2013) The Rev. Dr. Andrew J. MacBeth (2012) Mr. M. Lee Marston (2014) Ms. Sissy Poland (2012) The Rt. Rev. F. Neff Powell The Rev. Dr. Stanley W. Sawyer (2014) The Rev. Dr. William R. Shiflet, Jr. (2013) The Rt. Rev. Eugene T. Sutton Dr. William G. Thomas III (2015) The Rev. Christine R. Whittaker (2013) The Rev. Dr. J. Douglas Wigner, Jr. (2014)

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS Ms. Louise Day Dodson The Rev. Rebecca Edwards

FACULTY REPRESENTATIVES The Rev. A. Katherine Grieb, Ph.D. The Rev. William B. Roberts, Ph.D.

STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE Ms. Virginia C. Wilder (’12) Student Body President

Service for the Mission of the Church: The Rt. Rev. Andrew Doyle (VTS ‘95), bishop of Texas, was the guest preacher the eve before Commencement. Below: VTS Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the Rt. Rev. Bud Shand, continues a long tradition of blessing the senior class crosses.

News from the Hill is published three times per year (March, June, and December) for alumni and friends by the Office of Public Affairs, Virginia Theological Seminary, 3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22304. Editorial comments should be directed to On the Cover: MTS student, the Rev. Wisnel Dejardin, one of four Haitian students studying at VTS, poses for a picture by a family member. Photo by B. Cayce Ramey.

News from the Hill ·


Center for Anglican Communion Studies

Anglican Endeavours: SOUTH AFRICA Gcebile Gina, one of our international students from Swaziland, South Africa, reflects on her time at the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut.


uring this past January Term I attended a course on Culture, Values and Mission in New Haven, Connecticut. During the course of the lecture I took a worldview test. The results were shocking; I am post-modern. I am sure if I had taken the same

test two years ago the results would have been very different. This means that the people I’ll be ministering to do not share my worldview. We may be from the same tribe, with the same traditions, but our worldviews are different. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is complex because there are many tribes and languages and peoples who constitute the church. What I had always known about myself and never reflected on until this lecture is that I’m an ordinand from a third world country, yet I have done all my formal education and ministerial formation through a western perspective and in English; firstly under a British system of education in South Africa and then at VTS under an American system of Education. Even though English is an official language in my province, the English of theological education is different and removed from the English parishioners speak. Adding to this complication is that most of my parishioners may not speak English. Now, my English is bi-lingual English and my English education is removed from the native languages of Southern Africa. This means that there are theological concepts that have no direct translation into everyday English and into the native languages that people speak. Because of this I too am a mis-

News from the Hill · June 2011

sionary. When I get back to Southern Africa I’ll have to enter the context as a missionary. I’ll have to re-learn the language people use to express their faith; it is in the midst of that language that I’ll have to find ways to express the theological concepts in words and language that the people understand. I have to re-enter my own context and be a missionary to my own people. The difficulty of being a missionary in this way will be that my people may assume that their worldview is my worldview. It will be very critical for me to be aware that I come with assumptions and my people will have

assumptions too. To be effective in that context I’ll have to learn their assumptions and their worldview. Indeed I may be called to my own people but I go to them as a missionary. I should be open to learning from my people and to being surprised by the grace of God. Amen. “Thank You” in some of the official Languages of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa: Zulu/SiSwati/Ndebele: Ngiyabonga Afrikaans: Dankie Xhosa: Enkosi, ndiyabulela SeTswana/SeSotho: Kea leboga, kea leboha Ohiwambo/KwaNyama/Ndonga: Tangi Herero: Okuhepa Venda: Ndi a livhuha English: Thank You!!

Providing an introduction to a major form of Islam which is committed to non-violence, dialogue and constructive relationships with the West, this is the first student textbook to introduce a contemporary Islamic theologian in a systematic way.

Fools for Christ: Students Raise Donations for Homeless Shelter This past May, the VTS Social Concerns committee ran a successful “Fools for Christ” campaign in which the Seminary community was asked to donate food and toiletry items for the Carpenter Shelter in Alexandria. Led by Middler, Brenda Sol and Senior, George Hinchliffe, the committee collected 25 boxes of goods which were blessed and sent to the shelter along with a $500 check for ALIVE. In exchange for filling the truck, the VTS faculty agreed to do something “quite foolish” and put on a skit and sang for the students.

Lauren Winner to Speak at 2011 Academic Convocation Lauren F. Winner is slated to be the Zabriskie Lecturer at this year’s Academic Convocation on October 4-5. Her topic will be “Biblical Imagination: God in the 21st Century.” She is the author of four books, Girl Meets God; Mudhouse Sabbath; Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity; and A Cheerful & Comfortable Faith: Anglican Religious Practice in the Elite Households of Eighteenth–Century Virginia. She has appeared on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and has written for

On the Holy Hill

VTS Hosts International Conference for Seminarians of Color

The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today. Winner has degrees from Duke, Columbia, and Cambridge universities, and holds a Ph.D. in history. The former book editor for Beliefnet, Lauren teaches at Duke Divinity School, and lives in Durham, North Carolina. Lauren teaches ascetical theology (and works in Anglican thinkers) at Duke.

Dean Markham Releases Book on Muslim Scholar Said Nursi

On March 15-18, Virginia Theological Seminary hosted the four Episcopal Church Ethnic Ministries offices for a three-day International Episcopal Seminarians of Color Conference, “One Bread One Body.” More than 50 students from seven seminaries attended the event designed to foster renewal, camaraderie, and community building.

Below: Lauren F. Winner

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D. and Suendam Bircinci Pirim, have released a new book entitled, An Introduction to Said Nursi (Ashgate Press 2011). The book introduces the English-speaking world to Nursi (1878-1960), a leading modern Islamic thinker with nearly nine million followers in modern day Turkey and around the world. News from the Hill ·

Class of 2011: Commencement

Above, clockwise from upper left corner: MTS graduate, Alicia Sibaen, will return to the Diocese of North Central Philippines; the Anglican Studies group with (back row, left to right) Rob Morris, Jon Thomas, Herbert Jones, Ramelle McCall, and (front row) J. Brooks Johnson, Amelie Allen, Jenny Replogle, and Robin Teasley; Melissa Adzima and Melissa Greene; Tim Baer strolls his daughter, Hannah Grace, to the commencement ceremony; Patrick Funston; Norman Whitmire; Jon Thomas and Jenny Replogle show off their Princeton hoods; and Gregg Morris before the class photo. (Photos on both pages by B. Cayce Ramey and Susan Shillinglaw.)


News from the Hill 路 June 2011


Above, clockwise from upper left corner: Tim Baer, Anne Dale, Peter Doddema, Jennifer Durant, Patrick Funston, Kathy Guin, and George Hinchliffe; the Rev. Lloyd A. Lewis, Jr., Ph.D., professor of New Testament; Clay Riley, Brian O’Rourke, and Wiley Ammons; the Rt. Rev. James J. Shand, bishop of Easton and VTS Chairman of the Board of Trustees; D.Min. graduates with (back row) D. Corbet Clark, Gary Erdos, John Pollock, David Gortner, and (front row) Helen Tester, Anne Andrews, Susan Lukens, and Marianne Van Vorst Ryan; Grant Ambrose; the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of North Carolina, giving a fiery commencement address. News from the Hill ·


Commencement: Honorary Degrees

Honoring the Faithful: VTS Confers Four with Degrees of Doctor in Divinity


irginia Theological Seminary takes seriously the giving of Honorary Degrees. Names are submitted, and there is a careful, and sometimes painstakingly slow, process to determine which nominees should be honored. Each year at Commencement and at Convocation the Dean and President,

with the Chair of the Board of Trustees, reads the citations and bestows the honorary degrees. People of achievement are honored whose lives exemplify the traits and virtues which the Seminary considers necessary in a faithful Church and in a just society. The people to whom we

give honorary degrees are leaders who have made a difference; leaders who have a record of distinguished service, and leaders who have consistently put others before themselves. This year at Commencement was no exception. At our 188th Commencement on May 19, 2011, four leaders were given Honorary Degrees. We honored two diocesan bishops, the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry of North Carolina and the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle (VTS ‘95) of Texas. VTS cannot shape leaders for the Church without strong ties to bishops and the dioceses they serve. After Virginia, more of our graduates call North Carolina home than any other state. Our connections to Texas go back many years, and the Texas flag always flies over Aspinwall Hall on Commencement Day. VTS is proud of its partnership with Episcopal Schools. The message of Episcopal Schools is our message as well: we need Christians in the Church and public square who are generous, open, thoughtful and informed. After her many years of faithful service and leadership, it seemed fitting to honor Mrs. Joan G. Ogilvy, head of St. Stephens and St. Agnes School. She is an outstanding lay leader in our Church and this Honorary Degree honors the ministry of all the baptized. VTS celebrates lay leadership in our Church—but we also believe that God’s Church is bigger than the Episcopal Church we have served for 188 years. We listen and learn from our ecumenical brothers and sisters in the Christian pilgrimage. So, it was well for us to honor another outstanding lay leader: Professor Simon Lee who is a distinguished Roman Catholic layman whose life has been about serving the academy and finding ways for human beings to live together in healthy and creative ways. q Pictured above: Bishop Doyle receives his degree from Bishop Shand; Left (from left to right): the Rt. Rev. Andrew Doyle, Mr. Simon Lee, Mrs. Joan Ogilvy, and the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry.


News from the Hill · June 2011

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.


or the sixth year in a row, Virginia Seminary paused to remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a series of events designed to celebrate his life, death and legacy. Organized by the Rev. Joseph Constant, director of Ethnic Ministries and Student Life and author of No Turning Back: the African-American Experience at Virginia Theological Seminary, the two-day Commemoration coincided with the 43rd anniversary of the Civil Rights Leader’s assassination. On April 4, during a service of Praise and Worship, the Rev. Dr. Grainger Browning, Jr., senior pastor of Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Fort Washington, Maryland, moved the attendees with his passionate talk, “The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Implication for the Church in the Age of Disintegration.” “The conditions that Dr. King saw in 1968 are still before us in 2011, and there is no turning back,” said Browning in his speech, which evoked Rev. Constant’s 2009 book. “Today we have the same power of Jesus; we will have the same mission of Dr. King.” Earlier in the day, the Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Williams Jr., the retired suffragan

bishop of Ohio, was the celebrant and preacher for the noon Eucharist, and spoke of his personal memories of those early days of the Civil Rights Movement. “We have come a long way,” said Williams. “But, in many ways, however, the issues of race and racism are still with us, and are more subtle in the dynamics (and) more complex in our present day.” VTS concluded its Commemoration on April 5 with Mr. John T. Harris, Jr., president of the Union of Black Episcopalians, and the Very Rev. Robert Wright, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, Georgia, leading a discussion on the concerns and challenges facing Black Episcopal Congregations and Clergy leadership in the Episcopal Church.

Pictured top left: The Rev. Grainger Browning, Jr. giving an impassioned talk; Top right: Senior, Dorothella Littlepage, (Diocese of Atlanta) participated in the noon Eucharist; Bottom photo: from left to right, the Rev. Joseph Constant, the Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Williams, Jr., the Rev. Grainger Browning, Jr., the Rt. Rev. Nathan Baxter, and Dean Markham.

News from the Hill ·


Student Body President

Student News


uring my time at seminary, I have gained a great appreciation of the Old Testament call stories, which are so different than the swift and willing responses of Jesus’ disciples in the gospels but reflect quite accurately my own experience of being called to ministry. The folks who are called by God in the Old Testament – Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Hagar, Rebekah – hear God’s voice but assume it must be addressed to someone else. They gradually wake up to the reality of their call, with much questioning. “Wait, are you talking to me? You want me to go where? And do what?” And that is only the beginning of the story. Responding to that voice is a lifelong endeavor, a constant stream of surprises. I felt nuts moving from Tennessee to Virginia three years ago to follow my call; now my next

News from the Hill · June 2011

stop after seminary is San Diego. I planned to be a behind-thescenes contributor during these three years; last spring I found myself elected Student Body President. And as soon as I thought I might be getting the hang of that job, the sound of sirens on a Friday afternoon ushered in a year full of challenges none of us at VTS ever could have anticipated.

and raises the bar on how we define our best. I raise my own thanksgiving for the willing and faithful response of this year’s student body to God’s call in our collective life. I think that the three classes of students who weathered this year together, who stood on the grove that afternoon watching Immanuel Chapel burn, will always be united somehow as “veterans” of that experience. These past few months have been a crash course in discipleship and flexibility, and we have walked through it as one. - The Rev. Rebecca Edwards

This year there has been little time to question the work to be done or our fitness for our completion. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of being incredulous about our call or the sacrifices it requires. We just have to jump out of the boat, leave our nets behind, and trust that God dialed the right number.

At the 2011 Commencement ceremony, Rebecca was a recipient of the Harris Award, given each year to candidates for Holy Orders who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership ability. She has accepted a call to serve as Curate at Good Samaritan Church in San Diego, California.

God continually calls us to “tasks that demand our best efforts” (to quote Charlie Price’s General Thanksgiving, which this community has prayed together many times)

We thank Rebecca for her steady and intelligent leadership. We also look forward to welcoming Ginny Wilder (Diocese of Western North Carolina) as the new Student Body President for 2011-12.

of Archbishop Tutu, who quickly endorsed the effort as an emblem of unity within the Episcopal Church.

Seminaries Join the Effort to Rebuild Our Church in Haiti by Terri Mathes

The students who raised so much money feel they’ve raised sometudents at Sewanee’s School of thing far more important: awareness. Theology and at Virginia Theologi- Student Body President, Rebecca cal Seminary finished the academic Edwards, who helped spearhead the year with days-apart fundraisers VTS effort, said, “When I was teaching to benefit Rebuild Our Church in in Haiti, I realized that the cathedral Haiti. Operating independently, the is much more than just a place to two seminaries were the first to hold worship. It was a center of education student-led initiatives for the national primary and secondary education and campaign for Holy Trinity Cathedral the only music school in the country.” in Port-au-Prince. Both seminaries saw the fundraiser as On April 26, Sewanee’s Mission Com- a way to spread the word. Edwards’ mittee, wrapped up a fundraiser that sponsoring diocese of East Tennessee began with a goal of $320, or $10 for is already involved in Rebuild Our a brick, to be given in honor of each Church fundraising. “You can’t miss graduate. Additionally, the faculty it,” she says. “It’s in all the newsletand staff wanted to honor the class of ters, on the website.” The seminary 2011, and their contributions brought fundraiser helped educate her fellow the total raised to $1,500. students about the campaign before graduation sent them off to work Three days later, the VTS student-led across the Episcopal Church. Missionary Society hosted a Concert for Haiti featuring musical acts by Graduation brought similar ripple members of the community. With a effects to Sewanee. School of Theology goal of 100 bricks, the concert was dean, William Stafford designated half halfway toward success when Dean of the offering collected during the Markham stepped to the microphone School’s 2011 Commencement Service and offered to match whatever was on May 13 for the rebuilding efforts. raised that night. An additional gift Earlier this year Associate Dean for from the Missionary Society brought Community Life, Walter Brownridge, the evening’s total to $4,434. brought the campaign to the attention


Rebuild Our Church in Haiti is a national, grass-roots effort launched on the first anniversary of the magnitude seven earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. The appeal was authorized by Executive Council in response to the request from Bishop Jean Zach Duracin and the people of Haiti to help rebuild the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-auPrince, Haiti. For more information visit haitiappeal. For more information, visit www. or contact Terri Mathes at or 717-599-0627.

Pictured above left: Members of the student body, led by senior, Tim Baer, join vocal forces to raise money for Haiti; Above: middler, Caleb Lee plays his guitar for the crowd.

News from the Hill ·


ICFL: Doctor of Ministry

Doctor of Ministry: Experiments in Impact During the 2010-2011 school year, several Doctor of Ministry candidates successfully defended their projects. Below, we continue to feature samples of the outstanding work that these students have brought forth. All of the D.Min. theses will be made available in the Bishop Payne Library.

D. CORBET CLARK The Spirit of Service: Strengthening Student Understanding and Spiritual Growth through Structured Reflection in a High School Service Program Corbet explored the impact of student community service on the social, moral and spiritual growth of students. He began with the assumption that while service has value in itself, learning from service is strengthened when students have opportunities to reflect on their service. The project involved bringing together high school students at Oregon Episcopal School in a workshop format to reflect on their service, as well as examining a variety of ways students have the opportunity to do reflection on service in their academic classes. Corbet concluded that learning from service is greatest when students engage directly 1) with people different from themselves, 2) in projects of higher intensity and longer duration. It is then that their assumptions are challenged and they see the impact of their work. From this work, Corbet helped spearhead a revision of the school’s service requirements in the direction of a more project-based program. Fr. Clark serves as Upper School Chaplain and Chair of the all-school Religion Department at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, Oregon, where he has served for the last twenty-three years.


News from the Hill · June 2011

Marianne VAN VORST RYAN From Seedtime to Harvest: Stewardship Discovered in a School Garden

Also exploring community service, Marianne focused on alignment of a school’s espoused mission and its outreach practices in forming a deep understanding in students of stewardship and care for creation and for other people. The Garden of H.O.P.E. (Helping Others and Pleasing the Earth) was launched with fifth grade students at The Gooden School in Sierra Madre, California, who spent the school year planting, tending and harvesting organic vegetables for Friends in Deed food pantry in Pasadena. The garden experiences served to strengthen awareness of the needs of others, a sense of responsibility for all of God’s creation, and a stronger sense of commitment to service. The students contributed directly to creating solutions to problem of hunger in the community and led to the discovery of how their own personal gifts might be used to help those in need. From this work, Marianne and others at the school launched intentional and engaged outreach at the school, and crafted a service-learning model that reflects biblical values, Episcopal identity, and the mission of the school. Marianne Van Vorst Ryan is Assistant Head of School at the Gooden School in Sierra Madre, California.

Gary M. ERDOS Praying to Lead: Ignatian Spirituality and the Growth of Leaders in a Parish Church

St. Mark Lutheran Church, a typical suburban, middle-class, mainline denominational parish church, came to recognize that it was stuck. A place with friendly members and a general sense of cooperation, there was a growing sense that the parish could and should be more in the community. But it seemed unable to leap the hurdles to make this happen. Leaders in the parish came to recognize that they needed to grow deeper spiritually in order to begin addressing the life of their parish. Instead of discussing issues of management and goal setting, the leaders of the parish agreed to follow the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. This became the focus of Gary’s thesis. For 26 weeks, members of the parish council and the pastor followed the path of the Spiritual Exercises, praying daily and meeting weekly for discussion. This journey wrought deep changes in council members, in Gary’s leadership, and in the ministries of St. Mark parish. The Rev. Gary M. Erdos is Senior Pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Yorktown, Virginia.

Anne Blair ANDREWS Elevating Student Voice Through Listening and Dialogue

Anne addressed the question of student voice and contribution to governance decisions about mission and identity in a school. She further explored the question of how well students’ experience matches what adults claim are the values and purposes of a school. “As those being served, students can tell us a great deal about who we are and how we live out the mission of our organizations, as well as what they see they need for their learning. Such conversations, however, often take place among leaders without including students. But healthy institutions find ways to hear from various perspectives within a school and to perceive who they are, who they are for, and what they want to look like in the future.” Anne met with middle school students in dialogue groups modeled on the Touchstones Discussion Project (developed at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MA), asking them to name the values of the school in light of their experiences. Students spoke with insight about the school and its values, focusing on themes such as friendship, quality relationships with teachers, varied instructional practices, and a welcoming, faith-based community. They further named characteristics they thought the school fostered in students, such as kindness, generosity, and open-mindedness. Anne drew students’ insights into school board discussions, and the board incorporated student perspectives into a revised statement of mission.

farewell from Helen WHITENER TESTER marilyn Johns Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Identity.

Helen presented the importance of a congregation’s understanding of its identity in order to fully live into being the “body of Christ” in this world. Congregational identity is the corporate understanding in word and deed of the “who, what, how, when and why” of its existence. “Who are we?” “What is our reason for being?” “How and when do we manifest our understanding of our life together?” “Why do we care?” Helen argued that grasping congregational identity is essential for congregations to stay healthy and vital for God and God’s work in the world. “I believe it is not enough to respond to such questions with responses like ‘We are Christians’ or ‘We are the Body of Christ.’ Congregations must explore the fabric of their lives together in order to discern their particular identity and how God works with and through them specifically. Discovering the best of who they are in the present will help a congregation clarify and own its identity, bringing them closer to what they want to be in the future.” Helen presented Church of the Mediator’s work to grasp and name its identity, using the process of Appreciative Inquiry. This process has unleashed new energy and creativity in an already healthy congregation. The Rev. Helen Tester is Rector of Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Meridian, Mississippi.


fter six very productive years, the Summer Collegium has ended. I have only three more site visits and a book to write before my position will end as well. The Summer Collegium has been lifechanging to many pastors and spouses/ partners in small congregations. The congregations and their leaders have been inspired, encouraged, and made to feel valuable and needed. I am thankful to Roger Ferlo and others who wrote the original grant with such a positive approach. The program has never tried to teach small congregations how to be medium-sized or large congregations. The emphasis has always been on spiritual health and growth and self-esteem. This is a rarity. Ask the 400 clergy, spouses and partners, and faculty who have been part of the Summer Collegium over the years, and you will hear how much they need this kind of experience. I am grateful to God for being a part of this amazing experience. I am grateful to the Seminary and the Lilly Endowment for making it happen. I am also grateful to the staff and faculty who have worked with me to make this an excellent program. My various assistants over the years have creatively supported the program by completing simple tasks and complex computer programming. At the end of May I will be off to Richmond for new adventures, but I will treasure my time here at VTS always. Thank you all for making my job easy! —Marilyn Johns, Project Manager of The Summer Collegium

Anne Andrews is Head of Middle School, St. Martin’s-in-the-Field Day School in Severna Park, Maryland. News from the Hill ·


Office of Alumni Affairs

DIRECTOR’S NOTE The Rev. Charles L Fischer III


uring the 2011 Virginia Theological Seminary commencement execises, the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry reminded the graduating students and all who were in attendance about the greatness of God. After faithfully serving the Episcopal Church as an ordained minister for 30 plus years, Bishop Curry’s view of the Church and its future is optimistic. The Church needs individuals who are willing to share a message of hope to all whom they encounter. He has a vantage point that allows him to see the landscape of the Church and a world that needs VTS graduates. Our alumni are able to enter their new ministries with confidence because they know that they serve a great God. On a Thursday morning in May, we watched these individuals go out into the world equipped to proclaim the Gospel message. Virginia Theological Seminary has completed its task. All of us should be encouraged


to look forward to a promising future. When the founders established this institution in 1823, they began with 14 men in the Parish Hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria. I am sure that they never imagined that, 188 years later, 66 men and women would be entering into the ranks of Virginia Seminary’s alumni. We do not know what the future holds. All we can try to do is ensure a wonderful future for this institution. This spring, the slogan for the Annual Fund was “Starting Strong, Finishing Strong… Meet Us at the Finish Line!” It is necessary for the Annual Fund to be strong. It is necessary for the goal of $790,000 to be reached and exceeded. But once that is done, the work is not completed. There will be future Annual Funds to fulfill. VTS is striving and must become an institution that expects to receive over $1 million towards the Annual Fund. Generous dona-

News from the Hill · June 2011

tions from alumni, friends, parishes and foundations are necessary to keep the cost low and enable the best educational environment for the future of the Church. So instead of “Finishing Strong”, allow VTS to “Remain Strong” for the future. After five years on the Holy Hill, my family and I will be returning to Atlanta, Georgia. My time at VTS has been exceptional and I have had many wonderful experiences that will enrich my future ministry. As a student, I befriended Christians from around the world and throughout the Anglican Communion. I studied with such a diverse group of people who were preparing to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. The VTS professors helped us to become more informed ministers, so that we would be well equipped to perform in various ministry contexts. VTS produces one of the best products for the Episcopal Church and other Christian communities, its students, to serve the entire body of Christ. I am honored to have served as the Director of Alumni, Annual Fund and Church Relations at Virginia Seminary. These two years have given me the opportunity to work with fellow graduates and friends of this institution;

we have worked together to ensure that VTS remains an important entity in theological education, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Many have made a financial investment towards VTS so that it remains strong and ahead of the curve. And I thank you. The Seminary has made new friends who will remain valued partners in the years ahead. Congregations have welcomed me to their pulpits and adult forums to share a message about the importance of VTS for their future. We have only begun, however. There is still much more work to be done. I remember a line in The Seminary Prayer, “Keep our leaders alert to the voice of your Spirit, that we cling only to such things as are good in the past and press forward with courage to the new service of the future.” Virginia Theological Seminary has a wonderful future ahead of us, I am happy to have had an opportunity in paving the way for it. q


STRONG Scan here with your Smart Phone to make a gift to the Annual Fund or visit

Office of Alumni Affairs

Class Notes Please share your news with us! Write: Office of Alumni Affairs, 3737 Seminary Rd., Alexandria, VA 22304 E-mail: Call: 703-461-1736 Fax: 703-370-0138 Email Address Changes to:


The Rev. Theodore H. McConnell, interim rector, Calvary Church, Tarboro, NC.


The Rev. Ted Duvall, rector, Christ Church, Mount Pleasant, SC.


The Rev. Katharine E. Babson, priest-in-charge, St. Matthias’ Episcopal Church, Richmond, ME.


The Rev. Kathleen M. Bobbitt, interim rector, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Chesapeake, VA.





The Rev. Troy Mendez , associate rector, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Palm Desert, CA.

The Rev. Jeffrey R. Jackson, rector, St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, Hamilton, GA.

The Rev. Virginia B. Inman, assistant rector, Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta, GA. The Rev. Dr. Anne-Marie Jeffery, interim rector, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC. ‘05 The Rev. Alan K. Gates, associate rector, Church of the Epiphany, San Carlos, CA. Dr. Giovan Venable King, rector, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Kailua, HI. ‘06 The Rev. Caroline R. Stewart, senior associate rector, The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Baltimore, MD.


The Rev. Peter K. Ackerman, rector, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Springfield, VA. The Rev. Conor M. Alexander, pastor, St. Francis’ Episcopal Church, Virginia Beach, VA; board president of Chanco on the James Camp and Conference Center, Surry, VA.

The Rev. Diana G. Freeman, rector, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Terrell, TX.

The Rev. Timothy H. Grayson, rector, Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Baltimore, MD.


The Rev. Frazier L. Green, rector, St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, Brunswick, GA.

The Rev. Michael C. Nation, chaplain, Ministry on the River, the Seamen’s Church Institute; pastoral care ministry for mariners in the Lower Mississippi River Region, Vicksburg, MS.


The Rev. Peter W. Mayer, rector, St. Margaret Episcopal Church, Annapolis, MD.


The Rev. Garrett M. Mettler, interim rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Pleasantville, NY.

The Rev. Luther Zeigler, Episcopal chaplain, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.


The Rev. Ann M. Ritonia, rector, Church of the Good Shepherd, Orange, CT. The Rev. Kimberly A. Seidman, vicar, Church of the Holy Comforter, Broomfield, CO.

The Rev. Charles L Fischer III, associate, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA.

The Rev. Janet W. Zimmerman, Ph.D, chaplain, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, and associate rector, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.


The Rev. Matthew A. Venuti, assistant rector, The Episcopal Church of the Nativity, Dothan, AL.


The Rev. Melissa Adzima, associate for Mission Development & Administration, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Erie, PA. The Rev. Grant Ambrose, assistant to the rector, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA. The Rev. B. Wiley Ammons, canon for Youth Ministry, Diocese of Florida, Jacksonville, FL. The Rev. Mike Angell, assistant rector for Pastoral Care & Outreach, St. John’s Lafayette Square, Washington, DC. The Rev. Kirsten Baer, curate, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Broken Arrow, OK. The Rev. Tim Baer, curate, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Tulsa, OK. The Rev. Charles Browning, associate rector, Holy Trinity, West Palm Beach, FL. The Rev. N. Chase Danford, curate, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Larchmont, NY.

Keeping In Touch

The Journal The Seminary’s magazine for alumni and friends. Once per year, in the fall. News from the Hill The Seminary’s newsletter for supporters of VTS. Three times per year, in March, June, and December. The eNews Email updates about happenings at VTS. The first day of each month. The Dean’s Commentary Daily Seminary updates from Dean Markham and/or other guest contributors. Daily, Monday-Friday. Alumni Convocation 2011 Annual conference for graduates of the Seminary. This year: October 4 & 5. You can also find us on:

The Rev. L. Peter Doddema, deacon-in-charge, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Harrodsburg, KY. The Rev. Jennifer Durant, assistant rector, Church of our Savior, Charlottesville, VA.

News from the Hill ·


‘11 (continued from page 13) The Rev. Rebecca Edwards, curate, Good Samaritan Church, San Diego, CA.

The Rev. Charles Smith, assistant rector, St. Matthew’s in Spartanburg, SC.

The Rev. David Erickson, associate rector, St. Cross Episcopal Church, Hermosa Beach, CA.

The Rev. E. Gary Taylor, chaplain, St. Anne’s School, Middletown, DE.

The Rev. A. Patrick Funston, chaplain, Bishop Seabury Academy, Lawrence, KS.

The Rev. Robin Taylor, deacon-in-charge, Christ Memorial Episcopal Church, Kilauea, Kauai, HI.

Melissa Greene, Youth and Family minister, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Sharon, PA. The Rev. Kathy Rowe-Guin, assistant vicar, St. Peter’s in the Woods in Fairfax Station, VA. The Rev. George Hinchliffe, associate rector, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Live Oak, FL. The Rev. Meghan Holland, assistant rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Paducah, KY. The Rev. Matthew Kozlowski, associate rector, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Stuart, FL. The Rev. Dorothella Littlepage, associate, St. Stephen’s Memorial Episcopal Church, Lynn, MA. The Rev. Colin Maltbie, curate / priest-incharge, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church / St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Rochester / Kasson, MN. The Rev. Ramelle McCall, deacon-in-charge, St. Phillips, Annapolis, MD. The Rev. Gregg Morriss, associate rector for Adult Formation & Worship, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ellicott, MD. The Rev. Brian O’Rourke, priest associate, St. Margaret’s in Palm Desert, CA. The Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers, deaconin-charge, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Fayette, AL. The Rev. Josiah Rengers, rector-in-charge, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Eutah, AL. The Rev. Jenny Replogle, curate, Trinity Church, Princeton, NJ. The Rev. J. Clay Riley, assistant rector, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Williamsburg, VA. The Rev. David Romanik, curate, Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene, TX. The Rev. David Rose, assistant to the rector for Youth & Family, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, GA.


News from the Hill · June 2011

The Rev. Seth Walley, Episcopal chaplain / assistant rector, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) / St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Oxford, MS. The Rev. Andrew White, assistant to the rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA. The Rev. J. Blake Woods, curate, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Tulsa, OK.

Current Students The Rev. Duncan Johnston (D.Min.), rector, Mt. Calvary Episcopal Church, Camp Hill, PA. Below: The Rev. Hosam Naoum (MTS ‘11), from the Diocese of Jerusalem, couldn’t be with us in person to walk through the commencement ceremony, but he was able to join us in spirit live via our webcast which drew over 370 viewers.

OF NOTE • The 2012 Mollegen Forum will be held on January 9 and will feature guest speaker, Sandra Swan, consultant, author, and president emeritus Episcopal Relief and Development. The lecture topic will be: “In a manner of Speaking: Plain Talk about Church Talk.” • VTS is accepting applications for two positions: 1) Director of Alumni, Annual Fund and Church Relations, in the Office of Institutional Advancement. 2) Administrative Coordinator and Interreligious Officer in the Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS). Please see the employment listing on website Submit resumes to

The Civil War: A Seminary Goes Into Exile This year, the City of Alexandria, Virginia, commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the city’s role as the longest occupied territory of the war. In this second of three articles, author John E. Booty addresses Virginia Seminary’s unique involvement in the war.


ostilities began when southern forces opened fire on Fort Sumter* in Charleston Harbor. This was on April 12, 1861. South Carolina had seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, and in February 1861, delegates of seven seceding states met at Montgomery, Alabama, founded the Confederate States of America, and elected Jefferson Davis as provisional president of the new nation. While the 1860-61 session of the Seminary may have opened calmly enough, as the months passed discussions among students increased, and in April 1861 approximately half of the students, all of them from the North, departed. According to a report in the Southern Churchman, about 30 students went north. “It was pleasing to know that the young brethren there parted from each other with true Christian feeling and brotherly kindness.” [Professor of Systematic Divinity, the Rev. William] Sparrow denied that these students were driven out, as some reports suggested, and stated that “some three or four” from the North “were the very last” to leave the Seminary. He wrote to the board, The Institution has from the beginning embraced students from all sections of this northern continent, and when differences of opinion began to arise in the country on sectional questions, as was of course to be expected, the sons for the most part partook of the sentiment of their fathers, and did not fail also of course occasionally to express them. Nevertheless through the moderating influence which was studiously exercised over them, and by a strict

The Rev. William Sparrow and exclusive adherence to the teachings of scripture on points involved, as well as by their own sense of Christian duty and propriety, a remarkable degree of forbearance and good feeling was preserved among them…” Instead of rancor, Sparrow reported a growing sadness. The parting was painful. “So strongly did the Southern students feel this painful interruption, that they held a meeting, and by a resolution unanimously passed, expressed their feeling of affection for their Northern brethren… and their deep regret at the separation.” Cornelius Walker was careful to note that there were “disputes at times” among the students, but as long as possible the routine studies and the work in the neighborhood continued. By May 1 it was clear that the Seminary could not continue. Finances were a problem, the Seminary’s funds being invested in Virginia and the

campus lying in the path of military maneuvers. Families in the neighborhood began to panic. “The Mayor of Alexandria sent out word that there might be firing and they had better move away.” Final exercises were held on May 7 when two seniors were examined and ordained the same day in chapel. Packard took James May into town and sent him on his way to Philadelphia. Packard and his family sent to the home of his brother-inlaw, Dr. Robert E. Peyton, “near ‘The Plains’ in Fauquier County,” Virginia, and Sparrow sent his family to the interior of Virginia, staying behind at the Seminary for another three weeks. Sparrow was not alone at the Seminary. Some seven or eight students were with him. But it was almost as though he were alone in the now deserted new buildings. He wrote on May 14 to his friend, Edward Syle, saying that he was alone in his house, would go to Richmond for convention, and then return “to take charge of the premises, as I have been doing since the Seminary was prematurely closed… I have no heart to speak about things here. I feel really brokenhearted. Is there on record the case of a nation holding to its lips a cup so full of blessing, and so wantonly and wickedly dashing it to the ground? My own individual trials in this matter are most peculiar and painful; but oh, my country, it is for thee I feel!” About June 1, Sparrow joined his family in exile at Staunton, Virginia. q Booty, John. Mission and Ministry: A History of Virginia Theological Seminary. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing, 1995.

News from the Hill ·


Office of Institutional Advancement

Seeking Truth, Cost What it Will: Answering Questions about the New Chapel and the Chapel for the Ages Capital Campaign by the Rev. J. Barney Hawkins IV, Ph.D. Over the past several months, we have heard many questions regarding the rebuilding of our new chapel. Here, we answer some of the most frequently heard questionsand myths-that have been circulating.

the Alumni/ae Executive Committee and a survey was sent to all alumni and friends for whom we have email addresses. We had about 1,500 responses. The Dean’s Commentary and News from the Hill have invited comments and addressed the importance of listening. We invited the nominations of architects and that selection process was open and inclusive.

Why does VTS need to raise money for the new chapel? Doesn’t the Seminary have more money than God? Our operating budget is about $13.4 million. Endowment income from two sources (the Seminary’s Endowment and the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation in Atlanta) provides us with about $10 million each year. The Annual Fund, tuition and other sources of income provide the balance of the operating budget. Theological education is expensive as we continue to offer a “no new debt” policy for our students. We cannot “invade” the Seminary’s endowment because we cannot give up the income that feeds the operating budget. We do not have access to the corpus of the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation as one of the thirteen beneficiaries. Our annual operating budget is endowment sustained not tuition supported. Our financial stewardship of our endowments may seem conservative but we want to be in existence 100 or more years from now.


News from the Hill · June 2011

Are we building a $20 million Chapel?

Have we listened to our Alumni/ae about what we need to build? We have held several national listening sessions, designed to listen to alumni/ae and friends, trustees, faculty, staff, and students. Sessions were held in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. There was also a well-attended session at Immanuel Church-On-the-Hill, our congregational partner for 70 years. The results of the listening sessions have been reproduced for the Board of Trustees, the Chapel for the Ages Building Committee and the architects interviewed and chosen. The survey results have been entered in our data base. The Dean has sought the counsel of

No. The Board of Trustees has authorized a $15 million chapel (bricks and mortar; furnishings, organ and architect’s fee). If VTS got $8 million from insurance and if the Board of Trustees has authorized a $15 million project, why do we need to raise $10 million? The insurance settlement assumes that we replace the Chapel as it was. The original 1881 Chapel did not have rest rooms! We cannot build a chapel in 2012 or 2013 without adequate support rooms such as rest rooms; a nursery (we have 19 new babies on campus!); choir room; sacristy; and a narthex for gathering before and after worship. Besides the actual cost of building the worship space for the 2012 or 2013 Chapel to replace the 1881 Chapel, there will be costs for the support rooms. The Project Managers who have been our counsel have anticipated the cost of $15 million. This

Office of Institutional Advancement was not a number picked arbitrarily. So, this is our conservative budget: $15,000,000: bricks and mortar, furnishings, organ, landscaping and architect’s costs; $700,000: stabilizing the tower and the east and north walls of the 1881 Chapel for a Prayer Garden; $1,500,000: chapel maintenance fund; $500,000: contingency fund, such as unknown costs in the building permits’ process; $300,000: campaign administrative costs; $18,000,000: total costs. Has the location of the new chapel been decided? Our Board of Trustees gave a remit to the Chapel for the Ages Building Committee to work with an architect on the chapel design and location. Location could not be decided until an architect was selected. What is the “Prayer Garden?” The Prayer Garden is the actual environs or footprint of the 1881 Chapel. The Board of Architectural Review of the City of Alexandra has required the Seminary to retain the tower and east (N. Quaker Lane) and north (Aspinwall Hall) walls of the Chapel which were destroyed by fire. It is holy ground where two chapels have stood. In the days to come, it will most likely be a beautiful garden for meditation and fellowship. How was the decision about an architect made? Who is the architect? The Dean invited nominations. A list of 48 firms was reduced to 18+ firms by the Chapel for the Ages Building Committee. A committee of trustees, faculty and staff recommended

that the Seminary interview 6 firms. One firm withdrew. Five firms were interviewed by representatives of alumni/ae, trustees, faculty and staff. Two firms were recommended to the Chapel for the Ages Building Committee which unanimously sent the name of one firm to the Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Building and Grounds Committee unanimously sent the name of the firm to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Executive Committee voted unanimously to take the name of the one firm to the full Board for its meeting on May 18, 2011. The Board voted unanimously that Robert. A. M. Stern Associates should be selected by the Seminary as the architects for the new chapel. Will having Stern as the architect be prohibitively expensive? Why Stern? No, the cost differential between the five final firms interviewed was not great. VTS’ chapel is at the heart of our ministry and mission as an institution. With this unique, oncein-a-lifetime opportunity, we are convinced that a Chapel for the Ages must be a signature building which is both temporal and timeless, and we believe that Stern will design such an enduring building to join the village of buildings which presently grace the Holy Hill. The Board of Trustees is confident that Robert A. M. Stern is the architect for our moment and for our opportunity to build a Chapel for the Ages.

thinking and praying about your gift to the Chapel for the Ages Campaign. In the fall of 2011 and before the “Public Phase” in 2012, we will evaluate what the final campaign goal should be. It is a little odd for us to be so public in News from the Hill about this “Quiet Phase” amount. However, the Seminary is trying to be transparent about the details of the campaign with our friends and alumni/ae. As we carefully and thoughtfully develop a plan to raise money for the new chapel, we will also remain flexible about our final monetary goal. As anyone who has run a capital campaign knows, it is important to exceed your goal rather than miss it. So don’t be surprised if, at the end of the quiet phase, we decide to announce a public phase goal of 8 million, which we will hope and expect to exceed by 2 million. Can VTS raise $8-10 million? Yes! But it will not be easy. Information from the Association of Theological Schools and others suggest that a campaign should be about 3.25 times your annual fund. Our Annual Fund is about $750,000. This means we should be able to raise $2,437,500. Clearly, the challenge before us is great. But we really have no options. As Dean Markham has said many times, “A seminary cannot be a seminary without a chapel.” By God’s grace, VTS will raise the money necessary for a Chapel for the Ages. Be sure to look for more information on our progress and on our other construction projects in the fall Seminary Journal.

How much money are you trying to secure in the Chapel for the Ages Campaign? There is a “Quiet Phase,” and there will be a “Public Phase.” In the “Quiet Phase” which will be most of 2011, we have set an internal goal of $10 million. In the “Quiet Phase” we are encouraging leadership gifts from friends, alumni/ae and foundations. Most of our alumni/ae and friends will have the opportunity to give in the “Public Phase” in 2012. So, please be

In the meantime, if you have other questions, please email them to me ( or to Susan Shillinglaw ( You may also call me at 703-461-1754. I will try to answer your questions in a timely way—or in the next edition of News from the Hill. q

News from the Hill ·


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News from the Hill is published regularly by the Virginia Theological Seminary, 3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304. Telephone: (703) 370-6600. Please direct News from the Hill comments, questions or story ideas to Susan Shillinglaw at Send address changes or corrections to Matt Anderson at

Virginia Theological Seminary Newsletter, June 2011  

Newsletter of the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA.

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