Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recounting the ancient mysteries for generations to come

BERKELEY -- I arrived here yesterday for meetings at our seminary for the Pacific Rim and the Western United States, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, where I graduated in 2000.

I've served on the Alumni Council for a year or so, and it has been a time of fascinating transition.

As you know, The Episcopal Church is undergoing tremendous change as we attempt to understand how to "be church" in the 21st century and beyond. Not surprisingly, the Episcopal seminaries are struggling to keep up with that change while forming leaders for a landscape that is shifting under everyones' feet.

Most of the schools, including CDSP, are facing serious financial challenges, but those challenges are also forcing a fresh view of how education and formation is created for the next generations of lay and clergy leaders.

The Episcopal Church has been always underpinned by an educated clergy and that is one of our bedrock values. That education does not come free, but it is a little like the infrastructure of towns and cities -- it is hidden from view but crucial to the life of the community. If it is neglected, it will decay and eventually collapse.

As it happens, Psalm 78 appointed for this morning has opening stanzas that are apt descriptions of the mission of the seminaries:

Hear my teaching, O my people; *
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth in a parable; *
I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.

That which we have heard and known,
and what our forefathers have told us, *
we will not hide from their children.

We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, *
and the wonderful works he has done. 
Psalm 78:1-4

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