Monday, April 23, 2018

Like much of America, I tuned into CNN on Saturday to watch our alum the Rev. Russell Levenson organize and participate in an exceptional liturgy to celebrate the life of Mrs. Barbara Bush. The sermon in so many ways was vintage VTS. The Gospel was preached; and he faithfully connected the remarkable life with the Gospel and readings. It was the Episcopal Church at its best.

Mrs. Barbara Bush was a remarkable lady. Wife of one president and the mother of another, she took her faith with her into the world of politics. She worked hard to overcome prejudice against persons with AIDS; she campaigned for literacy; and she has had good relationships across the political divide. In an age when the political is so ugly, Barbara Bush is a reminder of a previous, gentler age. In so many ways, she brought the Anglican ethos into the realm of the political.

Mrs.Barbara Bush was a Dean's Cross Recipent. When we heard of her death, Mr. Curtis Prather, director of communications, encouraged me to issue a statement, which then was put out on social media. The interest in our statement was considerable, without any promotion, it reached over 50,000 people, with over 1300 engagements, 50 shares, and resulted for the Seminary in 100 new followers. I was grateful to Curtis who oversaw the annoucement. And it was a powerful reminder of the power of social media and the ways in which people are engaged by the medium. Effective ministry depends on us all becoming social media literate. It is inescapable.

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