Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Rev. Dr. Richard Jones, our professor emeritus of mission, had kindly agreed to give the two speakers at the Taha Al-Alwani Lectures in Muslim-Christian Dialogue a ride to the El Hibri Foundation in DC. As I sat in the car with Dr. Mualla Selcuk, Professor at Ankara University, Turkey, I took the opportunity to ask about her stay at Virginia Theological Seminary. Dr. Selcuk explained that she was very impressed by the Seminary. "Everyone has a sense of a community; everyone thinks it is important to introduce themselves to me," she explained. She went on to explain that her impression was that community is a value here; the Seminary really wants to make the guest welcome.

It is perhaps inevitable that during Lent we will focus on our weaknesses and failings. And we are aware of those moments, when we have failed each other and failed the guest. We work hard at naming such moments; and we work hard at striving to rectify these moments. But we are allowed to pause and hear the praise as well. Here is a distinguished specialist in Education, who is formulating a powerful Islamic account that affirms the imperative of engaging with diversity, who is really enjoying her stay at Virginia Theological Seminary.

As I discussed her experience, the credit for this moment ranged widely. Students are making the effort to talk to her at breakfast; staff have been welcoming; her questions have been answered promptly; and she has enjoyed the Flamingo. So well done VTS. For a moment, let us enjoy the recognition and gratitude from an utterly delightful guest.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President
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