Wind Chimes: 28 Dec 2012

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
[…]

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1, 14 NRSV

Holy Innocents Icon
Holy Innocents Icon, ca. 2010

When the magi had departed, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, … When Herod knew the magi had fooled him, he grew very angry. He sent soldiers to kill all the male children in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding territory who were two years old and younger, according to the time that he had learned from the magi.

Matthew 2:13, 16 CEB
From the Gospel read on the Feast of the Holy Innocents,
December 28th

Remembering Holy Innocents, December 28

The merriment of Christmas and the profound mystery proclaimed by John (John 1:1ff) are in stark contrast to the brutal events perpetrated by Herod (Matthew 2:13ff), the violent slaughter in Newtown, CT, and daily reports of the death of children (0–17) due to abuse, neglect, and violence.

John Thatamanil, is an Associate Professor of Theology and World Religions at Union Theological Seminary in New York and is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel at Vanderbilt. Yesterday (12/27/12) he posted an essay “Christmas in Newtown and Bethlehem.” In it, he speaks to the contrast and its meaning for us who seek to follow Christ:

Quote . . .The slaughter of innocents and the birth of a child in excruciating vulnerability — this is a profoundly counterintuitive way to speak of God’s coming. Unlike the light and unblemished merriness that we wish each other every Christmas, the Bible offers no happily-ever-after fairy tale. The world into which the Christian Messiah enters is shattered by terror and ruled by Roman imperial power and its client dictators.
The Gospel narratives suggest that the coming of God does not (then or now) undo our capacity to inflict violence upon each other nor does it radically reconfigure the conditions under which we live out our lives. On the contrary, these very conditions, in all their fragility, are sanctified by incarnation. When God assumes flesh and enters the world, this very world is accepted and embraced.

God does not first remake the world in order to enter it, and entering the world does not diminish the dignity of divinity. The incarnation affirms that our fragility and frailty are not contrary to divine intention. Rather, they too are taken up by divinity when God becomes flesh. This world, as it stands, offers the necessary conditions for love and community. The coming of God as a child affirms that this fragile world is as it ought to be.

God does not come to eradicate vulnerability but to teach us how to welcome it. Love comes to open our eyes to look for holiness not in might and power, not in any futile attempt to secure ourselves against each other by force of arms, but precisely in our delicate bonds with each other.

I invite you to read his entire essay on The Huffington Post.

The wind blows. The sounds from the chimes burst out like merriment, then jangle in discord, and then are silent. All this happens in the space of minutes. What do you hear?

Icon: Suzanne Zoole commissioned by The Rev. Michael Sullivan and Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA. About the icon.

Advent Calendar Day 15: Virginia Theological Seminary

Virginia Theological Seminary

We have a strong connection to Virginia Theological Seminary. Our bishop, James R. Mathes, our rector, Lane, and our two associates, Troy and Brian, are graduates of VTS. Our seminarian, Shivaun Wilkinson, is completing her second year of studies at VTS. ~dan rondeau

Mission Statement

I. To form men and women for lay and ordained leadership within community, with particular attention to raising leaders for the Episcopal Church.

II. To provide continuing theological education for all people (clergy and laity of all denominations).

III. To serve the Anglican Communion and the wider Church.

IV. To provide an ecumenical, international, and cross-cultural context for theological education.

V. To be an outstanding theological resource.

VI. To be a racially and ethnically diverse community in living out our mission.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees May 2008

For the rest of the story: Virginia Theological Seminary

Advent Calendar in one place
About the Online Advent Calendar


For further reflection

Under construction: Master of Arts Program

The world is changing rapidly, driven significantly by the intersecting forces of politics, economics, demographics, religion and, of course, technology. Globalization, driven by appetites for freer, faster, and cheaper goods and services, is changing life in every sector. The metrics of excellence in all areas of higher education are being tested and, at times reluctantly, redefined. Theological education is not exempt from this redefinition. VTS is actively responding to a demand for quality, affordable theological education that does not require full-time residency.

The newly accredited M.A. program that has replaced the former M.T.S. (Masters in Theological Studies) and M.A.C.E. (Masters in Christian Education) degrees offers increased flexibility and depth of study in preparation for innovative, transformational Christian leadership. The degree design, especially the summative project, prepares students to continue a rigorous academic path, perhaps toward doctoral work, or to apply new learning to current and future ministry. The program combines the strengths of residential formation with the flexibility of contemporary technologies. Working with a faculty advisor, students design a program plan with an identified area of concentration to meet their learning goals and life situation. They can enroll full or part-time and register for courses delivered in a traditional classroom format, during intensive residencies in January and Summer terms, or in a hybrid manner, which is a combination of face-to-face and online instruction. The M.A. program makes use of creative instructional technologies such as the seminary’s new Jenzabar course management platform, video conferencing, and electronic portfolios.

While the structure of the M.A. degree is an important and exciting step for VTS, it is just the beginning of the Seminary’s innovative use of educational technology. Advances in web technology have introduced user-centered capacities that have forever changed teaching and learning. What is commonly referred to as the Web 2.0 has introduced features and functionality that stimulate the creation and consumption of information through collaborative platforms. Today, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are ordinary tools of daily living. Virtual communities exist in every domain of human interest, and digital video technologies keep families and friends connected across the globe. Ideas and conversations fill blogs and wikis. Video, music, and photo file sharing is considered a standard of practice in most American households. Being a healthy seminary today means interacting confidently with all of these technologies and having a vital presence on the global Web.

Beyond degree programs, people are living longer and more interested in lifelong continuing education than ever before. With access to the Web anyone can study anything 24/7. It is possible to construct a rigorous curriculum on any subject, using open-source or free Web resources such as university courses, e-books and journals from premier libraries and research institutions, educational programming from international museums, video presentations by world leaders, scholars and artists, and of course, virtual tours! With the expertise of the VTS faculty and staff, the depth of our library collection, and the vision of its board VTS is positioned to facilitate extraordinarily rich opportunities for online biblical and theological learning.

I look forward to participating in the ongoing discernment and innovation that is required to ensure VTS remains a trusted leader in an increasingly creative and competitive climate of global theological education. We welcome your ideas. How can VTS best support local congregations and dioceses/judicatories in the preparation of lay and ordained leaders for Christian mission? How can we partner with you to serve God more faithfully and more effectively? Tell us. We’re listening!

Lisa Kimball, Ph.D.
Chair, M.A. Committee,
Director, Center for the Ministry of
Teaching, and Professor of Christian
Formation & Congregational Leadership

This article appeared in the Virginia Theological Seminary Journal, Fall 2011. Lisa Kimball was the featured speaker at the San Diego Clergy Conference this year at the invitation of Bishop Mathes (Oct 2011).

Advent Calendar Day 8: Church Divinity School of the Pacific

Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP)

“Church Divinity School of the Pacific is a graduate theological seminary and center of theological study of the Episcopal church, and is a founding member of the ecumenical Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.”

Brad Hall, a CDSP graduate, served as the Chairman of the CDSP Board while Rector of St. Margaret’s. Lois Hart and Margaret Watson, Associates here, graduated from CDSP. Gladys from our Forum attended classes at CDSP on her way to receiving a Master’s degree in Christian Education from St. Margaret’s House* in Berkeley.

Mission Statement

Responding to the challenges of contemporary society with the Good News of Jesus Christ, CDSP, a seminary of the Episcopal Church, rooted in our Anglican identity and tradition, provides quality theological education that integrates scholarship, reflection, worship, spirituality, and the practice of ministry.

We fulfill our mission in dialogue with a changing church and world. Committed to an innovative vision of theological education, CDSP:

  • Serves as a resource for the mission of the Church.
  • Embraces diversity as a gift of the Spirit and an outcome of the Gospel.
  • Understands social justice as a core expression of the Gospel.
  • Trains the widest possible variety of effective lay and ordained ministers.
  • Forms skillful and empowering leaders for mission.
  • Engages in responsive and proactive partnerships in ministry development.
  • Gathers and creates communities from across the church for learning, spiritual enrichment and mission.
  • Calls the church to re-imagine its mission and ministry in light of conflicting cultural values.
  • Cooperates and collaborates with the GTU and other partners worldwide.

Church Divinity School of the Pacific is the official seminary of the Province of the Pacific of the Episcopal Church.

For more on this ministry: Church Divinity School of the Pacific
Learn more about the Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL)

*“For sixty years (1907 – 1966) St. Margaret’s House in Berkeley, California educated women for service in the Episcopal Church as deaconesses, missionaries, and educators.” Episcopal Church Archive (you’ll need to scroll down to read the entry for St. Margaret’s House)

St. Margaret’s Symposium 2011 at CDSP – “This inaugural St. Margaret’s Symposium is an outgrowth of the annual St. Margaret’s Lecture. Both programs continue the vision of St. Margaret’s House, founded in 1909 to train women for ministry, by focusing on women’s lives and ministries.”

Advent Calendar in one place
About the Online Advent Calendar


For further reflection

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  Romans 10:13-15

Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL)

Lifelong formation is absolutely vital to a rich and penetrating Christian life. CALL is dedicated to Christian formation and demonstrates that by using a variety of formats to deliver meaningful educational experiences — experiences with instructors and presenters who enable their students to draw deeply from tradition to engage the issues of today’s church, indeed today’s world.

Since 1997, CALL has been seeking out innovative ways to expand the opportunities for sound Christian formation. And as we look to the future, we continue to seek these opportunities always with a focused eye on maintaining the quality and integrity of instruction. Our extensive list of online offerings and our onsite conferences and classes enable learners from diverse backgrounds and locations to create community, developing a network of people who are connected to their own call to ministry.

I am thrilled to manifest my own call to ministry in service to the wider church as the director of CALL and it is this awareness which inspires me to be personally committed to helping our students embody their own invitation to be a part of Christ’s body in the world. As such, I am honored to have the opportunity to share the extensive academic and pastoral resources of the CDSP community with you. I know that you will find your experience to be an enriching one.

Whether you visit our Easton Hall Conference Center in the beautiful Berkeley hills for an evening forum, workshop or course, participate in events like our summer conferences on Christian formation, or enroll in an online course, we hope you will come to know CALL as an extension of your faith community.

I am delighted to welcome you to the Center for Anglican Learning & Leadership.

Blessings,

The Rev. Michelle Meech
Director, Center for Anglican Learning & Leadership

____________
Images from: Church Divinity School of the Pacific


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