Dean's Cross for Servant Leadership Awarded to Author Susan Howatch
Last night the Seminary presented the Dean's Cross for Servant Leadership to the novelist Mrs. Susan Howatch. At an event at King's College London, the Dean's Cross was presented by Bishop Bud Shand. The Dean's Cross is the highest award of the Seminary. The goal is to honor the well-formed life - the life shaped by the values of faith. Given formation is the goal of the Seminary, this is an appropriate honor for the Seminary to bestow.
With Susan Howatch, this was particularly true. Her Starbridge series is all about the formation of priests. She captures in her novels the struggles as a human life with all its complexity is taken by the grace of God and transformed into a vehicle of redemption. Spiritual direction is central in her novels. Her characters are all flawed, yet all hopeful. God triumphs as the spiritual ultimately engages with the human psyche. With the characters all taken from the history of Anglican clerics, the work of formation is all located in the world of Anglican spirituality.
Her novels are very readable. They are deeply profound and powerful beach reading. For every seminarian, Susan Howatch should be required reading. I commend her work to you; and I am grateful that Susan Howatch has accepted the honor of the Dean's Cross from Virginia Theological Seminary.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham Ph.D. Dean and President