Wednesday, May 2, 2018

In the Senior Staff retreat yesterday, we had the opportunity to hear from Professor Simon Lee on the topic "Thinking outside the Box". In addition to learning how to connect nine dots with four straight lines (clue you have to think outside the box), we had a fascinating insight into the art of reading institutions. Professor Lee knew the Seminary well, having evaluated the Dean's Office in 2009. The theme then of his proposal was to focus on the bicentennial and think afresh about our identity. He suggested the slogan - From Good to Great and Graceful. The theme of gracefulness picks up some of the good discussions led by the students around hospitality and inclusion.  We need to be a place that says hello to the guest; we need to be the place where people look around a dining room and searches out the person sitting alone, who isn't in the "trendy group"; and we need to be a place that honors the stories of all.

After the session with Professor Lee, we had a tour of St. Paul's Cathedral with Canon Mark Oakley. I marveled at the way the Cathedral is supplementing the images that celebrate war triumphs and empire with powerful images that capture the agony of war. From an altar hanging constructed by veterans of World War One while in treatment for trauma; and a cross, which is simply remarkable, capturing the tragedy of Syria and Palestine at the points of the wounds of Jesus. These were very powerful.

This all becomes material. Material for us as a community to think about as we go forward.

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