News from the Hill

Alexandria, VA March 2011

Encountering New Worlds:
Jan-term Immersion Trips

Message from the Dean

Sacred Plans, Rich in Activity & Complexity
ll institutions need a sense of direction. The temptation to try and do everything must be resisted. Some mechanism is needed to determine priorities. Some over arching vision needs to shape the community. In short, a good organization needs to be shaped by a strategic plan. At Virginia Theological Seminary, the Strategic Plan is a text that we use. The Board of Trustees is committed to an open process – suggestions are invited from alums, students, faculty, staff, and friends. Each one is considered for inclusion in the Strategic Plan. The text of the plan is then discussed by the Board of Trustees and revised every two years. The Board wants to ensure that the Strategic Plan guides our shared life together. At the November 2010 Board meeting, the text was revised. Certain achievements were marked down as completed; many were revised; and new suggestions were added. The major changes to the plan were introduced as a result of the chapel fire. Under the heading “Worship Life”, the plan commits the Seminary to the Listening Process and a building committee (Objective 1.4). A Capital Campaign has to be launched to fund the new chapel (Objective 7.6). This aspect of the Strategic Plan is already being implemented. A committee has been formed; conversations with the City of Alexandria have started; and gifts are already being sent to the Seminary. However, it is important to stress that there is so much more happening at the Seminary, which is also highlighted in the Strategic Plan. The Second Three Years program continues to mentor our graduates in their ministry setting and help form them into effective leaders of congregations; degree programs have been revised and a new flexible MA has been launched; the theme of hospitality will involve the construction of a café that will provide meals and drinks into the evening; partnership agreements have been signed with St. George’s College in Jerusalem and Msalato Theological College in Tanzania to support cross cultural immersions; and the Faculty continue to write, teach, preach, and serve the Church in a whole host of important ways. The revised Strategic Plan provides a picture of an institution in all its rich complexity. We are serving the Church in significant and imaginative ways. The continuing story of our chapel is just one aspect of our life together. We are still forming priests, cultivating lay vocations, supporting Christian educators, offering rich doctoral programs, and ensuring a strong future for the Episcopal Church. Yours in Christ,

Virginia Theological Seminary
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

Campus Shots


Mrs. Auguste J. Bannard (2011) Mr. David Booth Beers (2015) Mr. Julian M. Bivins, Jr. (2012) The Rev. Catherine M. Campbell (2014) The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane Dr. David H. Charlton (2011) 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 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) The Rev. Thomas A. Lacy II (2011) 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 Rt. Rev. James J. Shand 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. J. Douglas Wigner, Jr. (2014)

The Rev. Matthew R. Hanisian The Rev. Angela S. Ifill

Top: Everyone cleaned up “real nice” for the VTS Christmas formal in the Refectory. Bottom: The “big dig” continues across campus, through the Grove, as the new pipes project continues. It is estimated that the new system will shave 1/3 off of the Seminary’s current heating and cooling costs.

The Rev. Robert W. Prichard, Ph.D. The Rev. William B. Roberts, D.M.A.

Ms. Rebecca Edwards (’11) Student Body President

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. Editor and layout: Susan Shillinglaw.
On the Cover: During her immersion trip to Myanmar, Dorota Pruski (Diocese of Milwaukee), surveys the food options at a Bangkok market. Photo by Lara Shine.


News from the Hill · March 2011

News from the Hill ·


Center for Anglican Communion Studies

Anglican Endeavours: JERUSALEM
Melanie Jianakoplos traveled to the Holy Land as part of the January Term course at St. George’s College, Jerusalem. Her reflection below is a testimony to the powerful impact cross-cultural immersions have in the formation of VTS students.

Howard University Prof Leads Forum/Class on Parish-Based Response to Crime
not enter the kingdom of heaven, but it would be the least of them. The poor in spirit and those who mourn, the meek and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Jesus revealed to us God’s intention for human kind. Sadly, some 2,000 years later, we still have trouble walking in his ways and living out his message. As we pulled up to the edge of the mountain in our air-conditioned, cushioned-seat coach bus small children approached us. They belong to a semi-nomadic tribe of people called the Bedouin. With their travel restricted by the Israeli government, these people live in tent villages in impoverished conditions while directly across the highway are posh Israeli settlements. They are visited only by wealthy Westerners like me who snap photographs of our friends atop camels while the little boy on the donkey sucks ink from a ball-point pen. The guilt that I felt is not unfamiliar; I have felt it too many times before. I find myself torn between living in my comfortable home with plenty of food and friends, warm showers and clean clothes. Seeing those little boys made me feel guilty because I realize that I would have to give up a lot in order for them to have food, shelter, and a good education. Looking to Jesus as a social revolutionary, a rabbi, and a miracle-worker, I see that he has taught me what is important, he has flipped the social structure upside down, and he has worked miracles. I pray that God will give me strength today to advocate for equality not only with my lips, but in my life. We are going to need a miracle to clean up the mess we have made of the world today. q - Melanie Jianakoplos (VTS ‘13) Diocese of Missouri

VTS Community,” commented Leslie Steffensen of the Center. Griswold added an invitation to “see this work as part of a global Anglican women’s movement uniting us in a new way, a woman’s way, of forging unbreakable bonds for the sake of healing and reconciliation.”

Virginia Seminary Welcomes Muslim Scholar and Professor

he most life-changing experiences of my life have been on mountains, so it felt appropriate that I had such beautiful experiences on our trip to the mountains in the past couple of days. I’m not sure if it is the solitude, or the views, or the calming winds, but something about the mountains awakens my spirit. Our time at the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus gave his sermon on the mount really got me thinking about whom Jesus was and what he hoped for the world then and now. I was able to share a meditation with the group on the mountain in which I chose to explore Jesus’ role as a social revolutionary. I think that part of the reason why Jesus was so transformative was because he was so counter-cultural. Jesus blessed those who society did not. He gave hope to those who lived in fear. Something that I shared with the group is that if we want peace and equality then those of us who are


In February, Dr. Harold Trulear, associate professor of Applied Theology at Howard University School of Divinity, led a forum on “Balancing Justice with Mercy: A Parish-Based Response to Crime, Incarceration and Prisoner Reentry.” Trulear, who is also Director of the Healing Communities Prison Ministry and Reentry Project in Philadelphia, brought students with him from his Howard course on Ministry and the Criminal Justice System. The forum, organized by Jabriel Ballentine (VTS ‘12), focused on the Healing Communities model of congregational ministry to persons returning from incarceration and their families as a restorative justice framework for ministering forgiveness, facilitating reconciliation and reducing recidivism. For a copy of Healing Communities: A Framework for Congregations in their Ministry to Families Affected by Incarceration, visit www.
From left to right: Phoebe Griswold and Leslie Steffensen look on as Jenny O’Rourke, author of a poem featured in “Lifting Women’s Voices,” signs Phoebe’s book. Photo: Crissy Crosby

On the Holy Hill
Phoebe Griswold Leads Book Group on Women and Prayer
The Center for Anglican Communion Studies partnered with Phoebe Griswold for four weeks in February for a series entitled Women at Prayer. A group of 24 women from the VTS community gathered each week for fellowship, theological discussion, and prayer. The book Lifting Women’s Voices: Prayers to Change the World was used as a springboard for topics on personal, corporate, and globallyconnected prayer. “This project was meant to be a gift to the

privileged are going to have to give up some of the comforts of life so that others may simply live. While on our trip away from Jerusalem I realized a stark contrast in the Holy Land that spanned thousands of years. On one side was my experience of visiting Caesarea, with its vast expanse of exotic stones brought from all over the world to build a glorious theatre, palace, pool on the sea, and Olympic arena. I imagined how glorious of a place it must have been. The wealthy enjoying all of the luxuries of life, sitting by the pool drinking wine, talking about all of the other wealthy people. While out of sight and mind were the slaves who waited on them, hand and foot, the ones who built this marvelous place. Jesus, living in this time, spoke of these injustices. He went up on to the mountain, his disciples following him and he taught them that those who had it all would

Virginia Seminary welcomed Dr. Hussein Rashid to campus last month as the Center for Anglican Communion Studies’ (CACS) Visiting Muslim Scholar. During his eight week stay at the Seminary, Rashid is teaching a course entitled, “Not so Common Stories: Prophets in the Qur’an and the Bible.” Rashid, a teacher at Hofstra University and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, was invited to VTS through the Luce Grant housed within CACS. His appointment is part of the Seminary’s continuing effort to encourage deeper cross-cultural conversations within the VTS Community and to equip students to envision new and creative ways to undertake ministry in the world. “Dr. Rashid’s enthusiasm for interreligious engagement, vast experience, and engaging demeanor make him extremely popular with our students,” said CACS Officer, the Rev. Robin Razzzino. News from the Hill ·


News from the Hill · March 2011


January Term: Student Immersion Trips

ICFL: Doctor of Ministry

Doctor of Ministry: In Defense of a Thesis
During the 2010-2011 school year, several Doctor of Ministry candidates successfully defended their projects. Below is a sample of the outstanding work that these students have brought forth. Additional projects will be featured in the June 2011 newsletter. The theses will be made available in the Bishop Payne Library.

2011 Immersion Trips: Encountering New Worlds
From left to right, clockwise: seven students worked in a rice field as part of their journey in Myanmar; the Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo led students through the Vatican during their trip to Rome; Lara Shine rides high on an elephant in Myanmar; four VTS staff members joined students on a three week study trip to St. George’s College in Jerusalem; Melanie Jianakoplos tries her hand at Camel riding in Israel; Katie Crawford shows us the marker that estimates the height of Jesus at the Cloister of the Lateran in Rome.

“Welcoming the Parish: Hospitality as a Call to Mutuality and Involvement for School and Parish.”


“The Holy Spirit Within their Souls: Finding, Listening, Tending on a Labyrinth Pathway.”


“The Sojourner's Faith: What St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and Other Continuing Episcopal Parishes can Teach Us About the Gifts of Transience and Uncertainty.”

s a new Head of School at St. Mark’s Cathedral School in Shreveport, Louisiana, Chris found himself in a ministry context in which the school and cathedral had both been through recent leadership transitions. Although the two institutions managed to coexist without open conflict, neither felt strongly connected to the other, and tensions had risen in recent years. While most parishioners were not hostile to the school, they generally seemed either unaware of or uninterested in the ministry of the school. John’s project thesis took as its premise that the school needed to invite parishioners into the life of the school in order for them to have greater interest in and understanding of the ministry of schools, not just at St. Mark’s but in the greater Episcopal Church. The underlying theology supporting the project synthesized thinking about the missio dei, hospitality, and the Trinity to develop a theology of community. Christopher R. Carter, D.Min., head of School at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Shreveport, Louisiana, has over 20 years as a teacher, administrator, and head in independent schools, and over half that time spent in Episcopal schools.


usan’s project thesis provided an opportunity for a small group of middle school students to practice silent contemplation while walking the pathways of a labyrinth and afterwards, writing about their experience in an individual journal. The intended outcome from this experience proposed that as the student’s hurried pace at school was transformed during contemplation to a pace of calmness, this enabled them to hear and connect with an inner voice in their soul whose spirit might nurture the way they think and act. The students were introduced to the silent practice of contemplative prayer using their own hand made clay labyrinths and then graduated to practicing on a floor labyrinth outlined by spools of rope. Ultimately, the project thesis objective was to engage students in a practice of silent contemplative prayer that would enrich their faith journey and be a transformational step that moved them forward in their own spiritual development. Susan Lukens, D.Min., from Houston, Texas, is a teacher at Msalato Theological College in Tanzania. Formerly, she was the Dean of Middle School at St. Francis Episcopal Day School in Houston.



n recent years, there has been increasing interest in continuing Episcopal parishes and how they can find life and faith following schism and uncertainty. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Morehead City, North Carolina is an early example of how a parish can emerge from such severe trauma as a lively and vital congregation. In 2000, following the departure of parish clergy and membership from The Episcopal Church, St. Andrew's began the journey of faith as a continuing parish that has lead to the wholeness, healing and a new identity they enjoy today. The biblical concept of the sojourner provides a model for continuing Episcopal parishes as they redefine their ministry and faith community. Through an examination of the theological and behavioral aspects of continuing Episcopal parishes and the use of a survey of such parishes across the country, gifts and strengths were identified. The Rev. John B. Pollock, D.Min., is the Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Morehead City, North Carolina, where he has served since 2004.


News from the Hill · March 2011

News from the Hill ·


2011 Lettie Pate Evans Award

2011 John Hines Preaching Award

Two Receive Lettie Pate Evans Award
(“Partners in Agriculture” in Kreole), the program also extends to education and family assistance of farmers. Warne was in Haiti when the devastating earthquake struck on January 12, 2010. With the foresight that many have come to expect, she immediately mobilized the Zanmi Agrikol team to plant corn on 300 acres of fallow land around Cange, and to enroll 1,000 new families in the agricultural assistance program, to increase crop yield in order to fed the people who streamed in from the devastation Port-au-Prince to rebuild their lives in the Central Plateau. A retired chemical engineer, Whitfield has reflected outstanding personal initative in creating a ministry in 2006 to provide clean water to rural villages in central Tanzania. He was nominated by fellow St. Paul’s, Richmond, parishioners, Betsy Carr, director of Outreach, and Mark Gordon, chair, Global Mission Committee. Whitfield was selected by the LPWE Committee, in part because of his personal initiative to engineer a system which pumped and separated water to livestock and village distribution points. To perform his water ministry outside of the church, Roger goes to places most would not stay, and certainly would not return to do hard labor. The people who live in the rural villages of central Tanzania live in compromised conditions that routinely

Class of 2004 Graduate Receives John Hines Preaching Award

Who is Welcome at the Table?
he Rev. Patricia M. Grace (VTS ’04), associate for Christian Education and Parish Life at St. Luke’s Church in Atlanta, Georgia, has been named recipient of the 2011 John Hines Preaching Award. The award is given annually to the outstanding preaching entry “where prophetic voice is central within the sermon.”


grounded in scripture and focused on the seen and unseen needs of the worshipping community, the nation and the world. Grace’s sermon, “A Tale of ‘Two Pats’ or ‘Friend, Move Up Higher,” is based on the “places of honor” text from Luke 14: 1, 7-14 and focuses on Jesus’ alternative standards of social acceptance and who is invited to the table. “[In our time and culture] we maintain our social divisions by who is not invited – rather than how folks are treated once they’re here. Our dinner parties might be more clearly characterized by who is not welcome at the table – by who is on our ‘don’t invite’ guest list rather than by the stratified practices of Jesus’ time.” Grace continued: “What would Jesus have to say, I wonder, about those labeled ‘not welcome’ by someone in our time, perhaps, like Pat Robertson, for example?... and what might Jesus have to say, I wonder, about those labeled ‘not welcome’ by someone like us, perhaps, like Pat Grace?

Virginia Seminary awarded Gillaine Warne from Greenville, South Carolina, and Roger Whitfield from Richmond, Virginia, with the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award (LPWE) for servant ministry.
The award is given annually to one or more Episcopal laypersons who have given leadership and a unique witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ within his or her congregation, community, Diocese, and in the world. Warne, who was nominated by her Rector, the Rev. Harrison McLeod from Christ Church, Greenville, South Carolina, was selected by the LPWE Committee because of her decadelong service to the poor in rural Haiti where she founded an Agriculture program that produces essential ingredients for a nutrition program that serves more than 18,000 children. In partnership with Zanmi Agrikol

lead to poor health and even death due to water borne illnesses. The villages of central Tanzania need practical solutions to solve daily struggles to meet basic needs of living. Due to Roger’s work, thousands of Tanzanians have a chance for improved health and a higher quality of life. Established in 1999, the award honors the legacy of Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans, an Episcopal laywoman, philanthropist, and friend of Virginia Theological Seminary. In 1992 an auditorium bearing her name was built in her honor on the seminary campus. Candidates for the award are active laypersons in an Episcopal congregation and must live in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or West Virginia. Nominees for the 2012 award must be submitted to the advisory council by December 15, 2011. For more information, visit or contact the Rev. Charles L Fischer, III at q

Named in honor of the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, John Hines (VTS ’33), the award celebrates the ministry of preaching and its importance in our Church by recognizing outstanding sermons that are deeply
Below: The Rt. Rev. John Hines; right, the Rev. Patricia M. Grace.

“We know what Jesus insists on, i.e., that for his followers there can never be a ‘not welcome’ or a ‘don’t invite’ list… making such a list—even theoretically—making our judgment of others primary is the last thing we’re sup- To read this year’s award-winning sermon, visit posed to do if we want to really follow His lead.”
News from the Hill ·

Grace has served at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church since 2006. Prior to becoming an ordained minister, Pat worked in senior executive positions with United Way in Tennessee, Michigan, and Illinois. Grace has also led the Center for Women in Transition in Holland, Michigan and served as Project Director for Life Management Consultants in Sharon, Pennsylvania. She has consulted widely in the non-profit sector, advising on strategic planning, community organizing, and leadership development. She currently serves as a Congregational Consultant and Fresh Start facilitator for the Diocese of Atlanta and has recently graduated from the Haden Institute’s three-year spiritual direction program. q


News from the Hill · March 2011


Faculty: Bill Roberts

A second area of tension surrounds the purpose of creating art or music in a sacred space. Is it ars gratia artis, or does the effect of art surpass the thing itself? Of course, as a church musician I would argue for the latter. So would composer Benjamin Britten, who said that music is at its noblest when it serves some purpose higher than itself. What higher purpose could there be than directing people both upward and inward to matters of the spirit? Some of the students in this room know my book, Music and Vital Congregations, because they’ve been forcibly subjected to it. If so, they will recognize the term “steeple-painter musician.” When you hire a person to paint the steeple to your church, you don’t care how he feels about steeples, or, for that matter, how he feels about the church underneath them. You just want to know that he can paint the steeple. When I first became an Episcopal church musician in 1974, just shortly after Lincoln was elected, steeplepainter musicians were widespread. A church simply sought to hire someone who could make music of the highest quality possible. You didn’t

ask questions about whether ministry occurred in the process, or if people’s souls were being tended. Today this is not so true. Music in church is seen more and more to be ministry. In fact, I tell my students that, when they become priests, they have every right to expect their church musician to be a partner in ministry. This is a wonderful transition, in my opinion, because it means that musicians now are concerned with the human spirit, with calling people into a higher and a deeper space, with connecting people to the ultimate reality of God. Those authorities who were suspect about the power of music were onto something, because music does have power. Its power can transform lives, heal souls, call upon us to listen for the “still, small voice of calm,” in the words of John Greenleaf Whittier. It can usher us into a place of transcendence and bring us closer to the numinous. q To listen to excerpts from Roberts’ concert, visit and click on his faculty page.

Inaugural Lecture: The Rev. William B. Roberts
On February 16, 2011, the promotion of the Rev. William B. Roberts, D.M.A., to the faculty rank of full Professor of Church Music and the Director of Chapel Music was celebrated with a concert entitled, “Painting on Silence.” Below is an excerpt from Bill’s remarks.
“A painter paints on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” -Leopold Stokowski British-American conductor, 1882-1977 cademic Dean Tim Sedgwick asked me to reflect for a moment on the vocation of church musician as I have seen it unfold during my career. Music has nearly always been important to worship throughout history. I say “nearly always” because there have been times when music was extremely restricted by authorities or even banned outright, because its power was feared. Music sometimes leads to a loss of control, which makes people in power uncomfortable. Artists in general aren’t easy to regulate, because they like to color outside the lines. The minute you say to an artist, “You can do anything but that,” then whatever “that” is becomes the focus. This is one of the sources of tension inherent in the relationship between clergy and musician. Of course, there is energy in tension, and so, in and of itself, tension is not always a bad thing. While it can be destructive, it can also be creative. After all, until our muscles are tensed, they won’t move our limbs.

BILL ROBERTS joined the faculty at VTS in 2008, having served as an Episcopal church musician for 33 years, most recently at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, Washington, DC. Before coming to St. John’s, he held similar posts in Tucson, Arizona; Newport Beach, California; Louisville, Kentucky; and Houston, Texas.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Houston Baptist University and the degrees Master of Church Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Roberts was ordained in the Baptist Church in 1971. He has taught on the music faculties of Indiana University Southeast, Southern Seminary, Mars Hills College and Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. Roberts is a composer with works published by Augsburg-Fortress, G.I.A., Hope, Paraclete, St. James Music Press, and Selah. His hymns and other music for worship appear in several volumes including the hymnals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod and various collections of Church Publishing Inc. He has composed on commissions from a number of schools, churches and individuals.



News from the Hill · March 2011

News from the Hill ·


Office of Alumni Affairs

Office of Alumni Affairs

The Rev. Charles L Fischer III

istry of an alumna or an alumnus of this institution. The relationship becomes cyclical. One is called by God, formed by the learning that takes place at the Seminary, and is then sent out into the world to share with others the greatness of God. Every Christian understands the importance of being responsive to God’s call on their lives. The quiet, still voice in our ear, the tug to do more continues until we respond. God has selected each of us to do our part to spread His message and to encourage others to become disciples of Jesus Christ. Leaders help others discern what they see and hear God calling them to become; leaders direct others towards a more complete life with Christ. Make a financial contribution towards strengthening the future leadership of the Church. We seek to ensure that the future leaders of the Church will continue to be formed and educated with the assistance of other leaders. If you have not done so already, please make a gift that is a reflection of your support of the Seminary and the future of the Church – become a team member as we make our way to our year-end goal. We are seeking the help of all leaders to get us to the finish line. q


Class Notes
Please share your news with us! Write: The Rev. Charles L Fischer III, 3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22304 E-mail: Call: 703-461-1711 Fax: 703-370-0138 Email Address Changes to:

The Rev. LaRae J. Rutenbar, interim rector and dean, Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington, KY.

The Rev. Melanie J. Sunderland, adjunct priest, Christ Episcopal Church, Shaker Heights, OH.



The Rev. Beverly J. Huck, priest associate, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Roanoke Rapids, NC.


The Rev. Nathaniel Luke Back, rector, Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene, TX.

• • •

April 11-14, 2011
Spring Phonathon


April 30, 2011

The Rev. Bennett G. Jones II, priest-in-charge, Christ Episcopal Church, Fitchburg, MA. ‘87 The Rev. Jo-Ann R. Murphy, assistant rector, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Coconut Grove, FL. ‘89 The Rev. Dr. Patty T. Earle, interim rector, Church of Our Saviour, Lincolnton, NC. The Venerable William C. Parnell, archdeacon for Mission, Diocese of New York, NY.


The Rev. Eric L. Miller, rector, Ascension & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Cincinnati, OH. The Rev. Shearon S. Williams, rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA.

AAEC Ballots due

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 and friends of the Seminary. This year: October 4 & 5. You can also find us on:

he 2010-2011 Annual Fund has been successful up to this point. A significant number of gifts from individuals, parishes and organizations have contributed to our collective success, bringing us to 75% of our year-end goal. Thank you! The theme for the spring Phonathon is “Starting Strong, Finishing Strong – Help Get Us to the Finish Line!” In April, students, staff, faculty, and friends will be calling other VTS friends and alumni to seek support for the Seminary’s Annual Fund. It’s a great opportunity for conversation with a member of the campus community and to learn firsthand about all of the exciting things taking place on the Holy Hill.


VTS aims to form men and women for leadership leadership that is needed in the world today. The world needs leaders that are grounded in Scripture, theology, and ethics. The world needs leaders that are prepared to speak out against the injustices in the world and to give hope to those who are in despair. At this point, along the timeline of history, the world is seeking leaders who have been well formed by their experiences and who have been prepared for leadership. Each graduate of this institution has benefited from the education that they received on the Holy Hill. In turn, many parishes, missions, and institutions have benefitted from the min-

October 4-5, 2011

Alumni Convocation and D. Francis Sprigg Memorial Lectures featuring: Lauren F. Winner on “Biblical Imagination and God in the 21st Century.” Honorary Degree Recipients will include:



The Rev. David J. Greer, interim rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Nacogdoches, TX. In October 2010, a painted portrait of David was donated to his former parish, St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton, VA, where he served as rector for 16 years.

The Rev. Jennifer G. McKenzie, interim associate for Ministry Development, Church of the Good Shepherd, Burke, VA.


The Rev. Laura S. Gettys, canon pastor for Parish Life, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Memphis, TN. The Rev. Spencer B. Potter, rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Palmetto Bay, FL.



Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, vocalist and sign language interpreter in the internationally acclaimed musical ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock; Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford, and one of the most distinguished active scholar of the English Reformation; Mr. Buford Scott, founding member of the mentoring program, The Micah Association, for at-risk children.

The Rt. Rev. Jack McKelvey, interim president, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, NY.

Dr. Matthias Beier, assistant professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN.




The Rev. John R. Gilchrist, priestin-charge, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, Machias, ME.

The Rev. Jennifer M. Wilson, deacon, St. David’s-in-the-Pines, Wellington, FL.

The Rev. Sari N. Ateek, rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Norwood, Chevy Chase, MD.




The Rev. David H. Knight, priest associate, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, VA.

The Venerable Sydney C. Ugwunna, Ph.D. , interim rector, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Earleville, MD.

The Rev. Arienne S. L. Davison, priest associate, Grace Episcopal Church, Bainbridge Island, WA; canon for Multicultural Ministry, Diocese of Olympia, Seattle, WA.



The Rev. Dr. Paul Hogg, Jr., interim rector, Grace Episcopal Church, The Plains, VA.


Left: Congratulations to Louise “Day” Dodson (‘99) who is the 2011-2012 President of the Alumni Association Executive Committee (AAEC). Day follows the able leadership of the Rev. Angela Ifill (‘95). We are grateful for their time, energy, and commitment to our graduates.

The Rev. Alan M. Akridge, rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Brunswick, GA.

The Rev. Sven L. vanBaars, rector, Abingdon Episcopal Church, White Marsh, Gloucester, VA. The Rev. Justin A. Falciani, rector, Christ Church, Somers Point, NJ.


The Rev. C. Christopher Thompson, transition priest, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Beckley, WV.


The Rev. Dr. Andrew J. MacBeth, interim rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI.



The Rev. Irwin M. Lewis, Jr., time certain rector, Christ & St. Luke’s Church, Norfolk, VA.


The Rev. Earl D. Beshears, associate rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Venice, FL.

The Rev. Robert W. Black, Jr., assistant rector, youth minister, St. Francis Episcopal Church, Greensboro, NC.


News from the Hill · March 2011

News from the Hill ·


‘09 (continued from page 13)
The Rev. Dr. J. Vincent Guss, Jr., director of Medical Bioethics, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. The Rev. Valerie J. Hayes, staff chaplain, National Institutes of Health, Clinical Research Center, Spiritual Care Department, Bethesda, MD.


A Desperate Plea for Peace: Letters to Robert E. Lee
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 the next three newsletters, we will be looking at Virginia Seminary’s unique involvement in the war.

The Rev. Barbara A. Bassuener, rector, Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Pocomoke City, MD. The Rev. Leslie C. Ferguson, rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Suffolk, VA.



braham Lincoln was sworn in as President on March 4, 1861. The shelling of Fort Sumter and the loss and threat to other federal installations faced the new President. On April 15, 1861 President Lincoln signed a Proclamation calling for states to raise 75,000 volunteers to suppress insurrection and “repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union”. It was during this period in April 1861 when events led to disunion and war. Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union Army but declined. On April 20, 1861, he wrote General Winfield Scott tendering his resignation. He had mixed feelings, and although Lee opposed secession and the prospect of war, he would not be party to military action against Virginia and Southern States. His announcement was welcomed in Richmond and lent further support to secessionist passions. Two days later, April 22, 1861, upon the invitation of the Governor of Virginia, Lee accepted command of Virginia forces. The news from Robert E. Lee’s Arlington home travelled fast. Cassius F. Lee, first cousin and boyhood friend, of Robert E. Lee was troubled by talk of secession and the prospect of war. A member of the board of trustees of the Virginia Theological Seminary, he lived at Menokin his homestead on Braddock Road near the Seminary ”. In a letter dated April 23, 1861, Cassius expressed hope that by accepting command of the Virginia forces it may save our nation and “lead to peaceful settlement of our difficulties”. My dear Robert,--The enclosed letter was written to me, as you will see, in consequence of a remark I made to Dr. Sparrow, which he reported to the writer, Dr. May, that I hoped your connection with the Virginia forces, if you conclude to accept the command might lead to some peaceful settlement to our difficulties. I hoped this from the friendship between yourself and General Scott. I have only time now to enclose you Dr. May’s letter, and to offer my earnest prayer that God may make you instrumental in saving our land from this dreadful strife. In haste. Yours truly, Cassius F. Lee Enclosed was a letter from Dr. James May. In his letter dated 22, April 1861, Theological Seminary of Virginia, he expresses anguish over the prospect of a civil war, that “young impetuous spirits seem to be leading the mind of the country”, and hoping that Virginia and “Col. Lee” will take the lead in “bringing about a peaceful settlement of our troubles” avoiding a “dreadful civil war”. “We may have so sinned that the wrath of God must lie upon us and make us suffer the awful judgment now threatening... O, may that peace come now, at the beginning, instead of the end of a fearful conflict.” On 25, April 1861 Robert E. Lee wrote to C.F. Lee expressing his fear peaceful settlement is no longer possible. He writes in part:

I am much obliged to you for Dr. May’s letter. Express to him my gratitude for his sentiments, and tell him that no earthly act would give me so much pleasure, as to restore peace to my country. But I fear it is now out of the power of man, and in God alone must be our trust. I think our policy should be purely on the defensive. To resist aggression and allow time to allay the passions and reason to resume her sway. In closing he said: I wanted to say many things to you before I left home. But the event was rendered so imperatively speedy that I could not. May God preserve you and yours. Very truly, R. E. Lee q Source: “Stratford Hall and the Lees Connected with its History”, Frederick Warren Alexander, University of Virginia, 1912, pp. 210-217, Google eBook _0cAAAAYAAJ&source=gbs_slider_ user_shelves_7_homepage.
Dave Cavanaugh is a local historian and resident of Seminary Ridge in Alexandria. He enjoys making history interesting and relevant to his community. He is a retired Federal Employee who has held various positions at the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy, and Federal Highway Administration. He also served as a legislative assistant to Senator Mike Crapo (R) of Idaho. Cavanaugh graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison majoring in history and political science.

At the March 2011 AAEC meeting (from top, left to right): The Revs. Blake Rider (‘04), Troy Mendez (‘09), and Lauren Kuratko (‘05); the Rev. Neal Goldsborough (‘81); the Revs. Keith Johnson (‘01) and Patricia Alexander (‘01); the Rev. Bill Parnell (‘89); the Rev. Milton Williams (‘96): the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe (‘00); the Revs. Linda Kramer (‘87) and Christine Whitaker; Ms. Day Dodson (‘99), newly elected AAEC president; and the Rev. Christopher Garcia (‘10).


News from the Hill · March 2011

News from the Hill ·


Student News

Student Body President

The theme for last month’s Conference on Ministry was “Under Construction,” and it is a good motto for student life at VTS this year. Students have already taken an active role in constructing worship space since the fire. Mike Angell, Laura Cochran, and Chana Winger continue to serve on the committee that is guiding the transformation of our temporary worship space. As the Seminary has begun to look ahead to a new chapel, Gary Taylor, Grey Maggiano, and Dorothella Littlepage are contributing student voices to the New Chapel Committee. Over the past few weeks I have also had the privilege of working with a small team tasked with renovating some of the spaces dedicated for informal student use – the student lounge in Addison and the student government room in the basement of the Welcome Center. This team – made up of Whitney Kirby, Katie Craw-

ford, Kyle Oliver, Oscar Rozo, Anne Dale, and Shawn Strout – faithfully compiled feedback about what their fellow students need and desire in these spaces. They emerged with a creative and exciting vision of a sophisticated small-group study area in Addison and a “campus common room” in the Welcome Center, and this spring we will begin to transform those spaces. The Executive Council of the student government voted wholeheartedly to devote the funds we have carried in surplus from previous years to this effort, in hopes that the spaces we create this year will serve future students for years to come. As these students can all attest, the work of construction is often grueling, but the rewards of building together in faithful and creative discernment will be enjoyed at the seminary well beyond our time as students. q - Rebecca Edwards (VTS ‘11) Diocese of East Tennessee


Spring Variety Show (pictured right, clockwise from top left corner): Lara Shine led the crowd in a song; Joel Atong read his poem (see far right column); we were on the edge of our seats as David Rose juggled fire; the Middler Class skit about the hazards of being on campus was hilarious as Laura Cochran found herself wound up in orange plastic construction fencing; and David Romanik, with Melissa Adzima, portrayed the Apostle Paul in a management training course. Pictured below: Patricia Sexton, Matthew Kozlowski, Krista and Tim Baer, in the Senior Class skit about the real meaning behind common idioms at VTS.


A Poem by the Rev. Joel Atong (MA, ‘12) Anglican Diocese of Mumbasa
I went to the Amazing Clinic to have my routine medical check-up and I confirmed that I was ill. When He took my blood pressure, The Great Physician found I was low in tenderness. When He read my temperature, the thermometer registered 110 degrees of anxiety. And when He ran the electrocardiogram, He found that I needed several by-passes of Love since my arteries were blocked with loneliness and could not provide for an empty heart. He sent me to the orthopedics and found that I could not walk by my brother’s side because I had fractured myself when tripping with jealousy. He also found I was short sighted since I could not see beyond my brothers’ shortcomings. He discovered I was deaf because I had stopped listening to the voice of The Great Physician. Imagine! Imagine my brothers and sisters! For all this, The Great Physician gave me free consultations. So I pledged and I pledged my sisters and brothers, that I will follow strictly my prescriptions: • Every morning, I take a glass full of gratitude; • When going to work I take a spoon full of peace; • Every hour I take one pill of patience, one cup of brotherhood, and one glass of humility; • When going home, I take one dose of Love; • When going to bed, I take two caplets of clear conscience; Have you been to the Amazing Clinic? It is free! It is free! And fully paid for by the Great Physician. Rush today when it is still day!

A Visit to the Amazing Clinic:

News from the Hill · March 2011

News from the Hill ·


Office of Institutional Advancement

VTS and Episcopal High School Sign $1 Million Agreement

Finishing Strong
Please remember our Annual Fund. The Spring Phonathon “Starting Strong, Finishing Strong” will be held April 11-14, 2011. We enjoy the calls and are grateful to the Dean, faculty, staff, alums, students, and friends who volunteer to help make them. Yes, the Phonathon is about money and the Annual Fund, but the calls are also about connecting and listening, about receiving and giving an encouraging word. The Annual Fund must stay strong—but we’re also praying for a strong chapel capital effort that will reveal the depth and breadth of our strength as an institution which must serve the Episcopal Church in the decades to come. You cannot have a seminary without a chapel. So, together we will build a new chapel— and one that honors the 1881 chapel and the chapel which first stood on the holy ground south of Aspinwall Hall. Many thanks for your generous and listening hearts. VTS will remain strong because we all care about her service, mission, and future. A strong VTS means that people will hear a tolerant and reasonable voice in the cacophony of Christendom. Help keep VTS strong!

Starting Strong


n December 27, 2010, one of our students, John SylvesterJohnson from Roanoke, Virginia, suffered a tragic fall. After brain surgery, John is receiving rigorous therapy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. In the Dean’s Commentary on February 14, 2011, Dean Markham described in careful detail a hospital visit. He wrote of finding a wife reading to her husband. The Dean wrote that he “listened to Joy as she shared John’s progress.” There was another holy moment “when Joy knelt down to listen to him, John kissed her gently on the cheek.” It was a visit of holy listening and holy being. Talking is obvious and hard to miss. Listening is often not so apparent. We listen in many ways. We listen while on the phone. We read an email and listen for the person’s voice, for the message contained but not expressed in words. We read a text message and listen for what is meant in a few short words. We listen carefully to get the right message, to hear what we want or must hear. We listen to sermons— well, some of the time. We listen to colleagues at work and friends at play on our best days. In deep and loving relationships, we often assume too much. We predict a reaction. Or, we are able to finish a thought or a sentence because we know the person so well. So, often we do not listen well to those who love us. We listen to criticism and often move quickly into our “reasonable” response. I know that

The Art of Listening O

by the Rev. J. Barney Hawkins IV
some options as we envision a new chapel. The Dean discourages questions—saying that he will answer questions but really wants to hear from people. He is listening for ideas and answers—the core purpose of the sessions on campus, in Reston at the Annual Council for the Diocese of Virginia, at Immanuel ChurchOn-the-Hill, at the Consortium of the Endowed Parishes in Chicago (led by Heather Zdancewicz, Charles Fischer, VTS senior, Gary Taylor, and Ann Roebuck), in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles. Most of these sessions have been connected to our existing Dean’s Roundtables. As the Dean and I listened in the sessions we facilitated, I was always moved by the emotion, the tears, the insights and the love of our VTS family. The art of listening is never a completely rational act, especially when it comes to the chapel fire. Listening is never about mind or heart. Both are part of our listening to each other and to God. Our national Listening Sessions have been pure gold. Email and phone calls, strategic conversations, and surveys–and in countless ways we are listening as VTS discerns God’s will. The journey to a new chapel will be a long one, as “long as the wisemen to the cradle.” There will be as much listening as talking and as much praying as planning. q

I do not always hear blessings and praise, especially from those closest to my heart. I discount the good word all too quickly and I listen selectively too much of the time. Our deepest relationships are about listening to words; listening to silence; listening to moments and listening to actions.

irginia Theological Seminary signed an historic $1 million agreement with Episcopal High School (EHS) this past January, agreeing to open its day-care center, The Butterfly House, to members of EHS’ faculty, staff, and administration in exchange for funding of the Butterfly House renovation. VTS, EHS, and architect, The Lukmire Partnership, have developed plans to expand the Butterfly House into the existing Mollegen Gym which will allow the Butterfly House to increase its enrollment from 24 to 48. Spaces not filled by VTS or EHS will be opened up to the Alexandria community at full tuition. The anticipated completion date of the new facility is September 1, 2011. The Headmaster of EHS, F. Robertson Hershey (pictured above, center, with VTS CFO, Heather Zdancewicz and Dean Markham), agreed saying, “The EHS board of directors

doesn’t see this as a building or capital project, rather, they see it as an investment in the faculty and children that are so important to our communities.” In addition to a shared child-care facility, EHS has opened its state-of-the-art sporting facility to the VTS community, and housing is being made available to each other’s faculty. Stated Hershey, “It adds great meaning to me to know that we are taking an action that will sustain this relationship for generations to come.” q

The art of listening involves the mind and the heart. We listen with both. Most of us spend our days listening with our mind and making, for the most part, good rationale responses and decisions. Listening with the heart is a tricky journey. For the last few months, Dean Markham and I have been conducting Listening Sessions about the new chapel. As I reflect on the campus sessions and at the sessions around the country, I am stunned by the amount of heart listening we have done. In these Listening Sessions we begin with a slideshow of the 1881 chapel, the ravaging fire and


News from the Hill · March 2011

News from the Hill ·


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Summertime—and the Learning is Easy at VTS
Summer offerings in the new Master of Arts degree at VTS have some surprises for Christian educators looking for sound, practical courses in Christian formation. Non-degree students can register for three formation courses offered during the 2011 Summer Term, June 20 – July 8. June 20-24, 6:30 – 9 p.m., Monday – Friday (offered both at VTS and via video conference). Adult Education with Lisa Kimball, director of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching and Professor of Christian Formation and Congregational Leadership. June 27 - July 1, 2 – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday Practices of a People with Dorothy Linthicum, program coordinator at the Center for the Ministry of Teaching.

Curriculum Development and Critique with Dorothy Linthicum, program coordinator at the Center for the Ministry of Teaching. For more information, go to

Photo by Jana Koll

July 4-8, 2 – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

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