2014 Paddock Lectures
The Paddock Lectures were founded in 1880 by General Seminary benefactor George A. Jarvis and named in honor of The Rt. Rev. Benjamin Henry Paddock, Class of 1852. The Lectures have brought to General's campus a remarkable group of Anglican scholars, from William Temple to Sarah Coakley, and have become a prestigious and highly anticipated feature of GTS’ annual Alumni Gathering. If you are a member of the GTS Alumni community, please click here for more information about registering for the Gathering, which includes the Paddock lectures.
The Paddock Lectures 2014 have been cancelled.
The Paddock Lectures, November 5 and 6, 2014
The How of Theology and Ministry
The Paddock Lectures, Nov. 6 and 7, 2013
Media, Meaning, and Ministry in the Digital Reformation
This year's lecturer was Dr. Elizabeth Drescher, PH.D. a scholar, researcher, and author of the forthcoming book Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones, as well as Tweet If You ♥ Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation, and, with Keith Anderson. Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible. Dr. Drescher is a frequent contributor to the online magazine Religion Dispatches. Her work has been highlighted by the Atlantic Monthly, the Daily Beast, the Utne Reader, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Australian Radio National, the BBC, CNN, State of Belief Radio,and other national and international news outlets.
Dr. Drescher has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards for the study of spirituality in everyday life and teaching in religion and spirituality including, most recently, a journalism fellowship from the Templeton Foundation for the Social Science Research Council’s “New Directions in the Study of Prayer” initiative.Elizabeth is a scholar-in-residence in the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Réal and faculty member in religous studies and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University. She lives with her family in Northern California’s Silicon Valley. Learn more about Elizabeth's research, writing and speaking at www.elizabethdrescher.com and follow her on Twitter @edrescherphd.
Lecture I, Nov. 6, 6:30pm: Believing Between the Lines: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones (45 mins.)
At the beginning of 2012, Newsweek marked “the rise of the Nones” as one of the most significant trends defining contemporary American culture, and a fall 2013 study by the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life verified this assessment with a survey that showed that one in five Americans have no religious affiliation. Importantly, Nones—people who answer “none” when asked with what religion they identify”—are generally not atheists or even agnostics. The majority are so-called “Religious Nones,” believers who do not identify or affiliate with traditional religious institutions. Further, most come from Christian backgrounds. Indeed, twenty percent of people raised in the Episcopal Church will become Nones as adults. Their spiritual lives are, thus, shaped by their background as well as by the diverse religious, antireligious, secular, and media rich culture of the United States. This talk draws upon original survey data and interviews to explore the spiritual lives of Nones as they intersect with and diverge from traditional religions.
Lecture II, Nov 7, 10:00am: The Roots of Digital Reformation: Premodern Traditions in Postmodern Practice (45 mins.)
Over the past decade, new digital media and mobile technologies have change not merely how we communicate; they have reshaped how we relate to one another, how we understand concepts such as authority and community, and how we conceive of ourselves as distinct individuals. While many have described this cultural change as “revolutionary,” it can in fact be seen as more of a “reformation”—a paradoxical return to premodern modes of living and relating that run deeply through Christian traditions. This lecture will explore the premodern “habitus” of Anglican/Episcopal tradition—spiritually integrated life practices that shape much of the enduring character of the church and that have prepared the us to engage in digitally-integrated culture in ways that were rarely possible in the broadcast age that the world is rapidly leaving behind. The lecture considers how the premodern roots of Anglican tradition, transplanted in early modern American soil, support ongoing engagement with the growing population of the religiously unaffiliated.
Lecture III, Nov. 7, 2:00pm: No Center, No Circumference: Faith & Religion in an Expanding Universe (45 mins.)
Over the last two years, NASA scientists identified more and more planets that may be habitable for earthlings. While these findings invite provocative questions on the core biblical and doctrinal claims of Christianity, this lecture will employ them primarily as metaphors for the ways in which digitally-integrated postmodern culture is itself expanding the universe of belief, spirituality, and institutional religion across geographies and generations. How, the lecture asks, can communities of faith minister in a world of dramatically expanded religious, spiritual, and epistemological boundaries? How can our understanding of the changing universe help to prepare us to be the church of the future?
From Tweet If You ♥ Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation:
“The Church is at a critical juncture as it attempts to respond to dramatic cultural changes related to new mobile, digital social media. Some of those changes are wonderfully liberating, inviting creative involvement in the practice of faith and the nurturing of community by believers and seekers of all stripes around the globe. Others, such as the restructuring of concepts of privacy, self-presentation, and relationship that seem to undermine notions of interpersonal, communal, and spiritual intimacy that are at the heart of much Christian practice, feel more troubling. Threatening, even.”
Learn more at www.elizabethdrescher.com here.
WELCOME TO THE GTS ALUMNI ELECTIONS 2014
Candidacy statements from the nominees are below. After you read them, please click here and you will be taken to the ballet on a secure third-party survey service where you can cast a "Yes" vote for each of the nominees, or, you can choose to enter a "Write-In" vote. The poll will close at 12 Noon EST on Monday, November 3, 2014. Election results will be ratified at the meeting of the Alumni Association, November 6, 2014. For more information and to register for the Gathering, click here.
Alumni Executive Committee -- 3 year Terms
The Rev. Canon Amy Chambers Cortright '04, Vicar, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, Missouri
I am a graduate of the Class of 2004 and am currently serving as Vicar of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Missouri. Prior to serving in St. Louis, my husband, the Rev. Joe Chambers and I served in Columbia, Missouri following joyful service in my sponsoring Diocese of New York.
September 11, 2001, marked the first full day of classes for the Class of 2004. The events of that day and following shaped the next three years of our priestly formation in ways that we could never have imagined. These years at GTS were intense, and simultaneously, for me, filled with deep fulfillment and the blessing of constant revelation. I am grateful to GTS for so many things, especially for all of the ways on which I learned to meet the deep darknesses of 9/11 and to confront them with Christ's light and peace through theological reflection, prayer, and diverse relationships.
I am pained to look upon the seminary now, saturated with deep conflict. I am afraid for us, and I am fearful about serving on the Alumni Executive Committee right now. Yet I have faith that nothing will be impossible with God and that the AEC seeks faithfully to represent and share the very best of what we have learned together from our time on the Close for the good of all, past, present, and future. I wish to walk with GTS and with my fellow alumnae and alumni to support the work of reconciliation during this anxious and uncertain time.
The Rev. Hannah Atkins '96, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas
I am a member of the Class of 1996. My years and friendships at GTS formed and inform me to this day. The Alumni/ae Executive Committee has been a tribute to General as we have worked together in this current situation. I would be honored to continue to work with this distinguished group. My parish in Texas sent a seminarian to GTS, and I would like to do more to help build a strong future here. While at General, I took advantage of the diverse offerings available and have continued to respond with interest to the new realities of theological education in our church and in the world. Directly upon graduation, I served churches in El Salvador, in congregations as well as being Director of Theological education there. I taught Socioloy of Religion and other basic courses for the Centro Anglicano de Estudios Teologicos. After El Salvador, I worked for almost eight years as Senior Assistant at St. John's, Lafayette Square, and have served as Rector at Trinity Houston for seven. All these years I have been directly involved in seminarian formation. I believe my work with endowed parishes, capital campaigns, congregational development, and international theological formation, as well as my enthusiasm for new possibilities, will serve me well in this capacity.
The Rev. Brian Sullivan '97, Rector, St. Benedict's Episcopal Church and School, Smyrna, Georgia
After graduating from GTS I served in the Diocese of Atlanta as associate rector of St. Peter's, Rome and St. Anne's, Atlanta before serving as rector of Incarnation in Highlands, NC. I am currently the first rector of Saint Benedict's Church and School in Smyrna, Georgia. I have also spent several years working with the non-profit, Kids4Peace International, which is an interfaith peace and reconciliation program working with children in Palestine, Israel, and the U.S. (www.k4p.org). Through all these experiences I have raised money for building campaigns, feasibility studies, operational budgets, and dealt with interesting financial structures. I would love to use these experiences to benefit General's efforts in continuing to develop alumni support for our future.
Board of Trustees -- 3 year Terms
The Very Rev. Daniel Ade '92, Co-Dean and Rector, St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles, California
I graduated from GTS in 1992 and served several years of my ministry in my home Diocese of New York. Now having lived in Los Angeles for 11 years, I bring a broad bi-coastal perspective. As a Dean of a new Cathedral, I have had to use skills of entrepreneurship and creativity to help forge a new identity for our congregation emerging out of our existing heritage, in a beautiful old structure, in an exciting and changing neighborhood. I also serve with another Dean in a a co-leadership team, so collaboration, compromise and listening are daily practices. I served on the Board of Trustees for Bloy House, a regional Episcopal seminary in Southern California, for three years. I served on the Search Committee for the Bishops Suffragan. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Guibord Center, housed at St. John's, an interfaith center seeking to foster dialog and reconciliation between religious traditions. For six years I was a member of the Commission on ministry and for two years mentored a Fresh Start training group for newly ordained clergy.
I believe this is a key time to participate in the life of our seminary. General Seminary exists because f the vision and generosity of people such as Clement Clarke Moore, and Bishop John Henry Hobart. The gifts that provided for General at its founding must still form the holy ground on which we stand today. To that end, a chief task of the Board at this time is to seek reconciliation among all the stakeholders of the seminary as we envision our future. I would bring skills of direct and honest communication as well as generous collaboration to the Board, all necessary for such reconciliation to take place. I understand that while I would participate in the Board seeking the good of the seminary as a whole, I would specifically represent the concerns and voice of alumni/ae.
While we remain hopeful that our Risen Lord, the Good Shepherd of the sheep will lead us into a strong future, he calls us actively to engage in the difficult work of reconciliation and rebuilding. I would be honored to play a role in this work as a member of the Board of Trustees.
The Rev. Patricia Steineke Downing '95, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Parish, Wilmington, DE
I was in the graduating class of 1995. I was raised up out of the Diocese of Washington where I returned after graduation, was ordained and served for 14 years. Currently, I am the rector of Holy Trinity Old Swedes parish in Wilmington, Delaware. My reason for wishing to serve on the Board of Trustees is that I am dedicated to the seminary and its mission. The current crisis does not diminish my dedication. I hold the opinion that the seminary still has particular gifts to offer the Episcopal Church in the formation of faithful, learned leaders. I hope my gifts and skills can be helpful to the work of healing, reconciliation and renewal that is required to move beyond the current crisis and carry out our mission.
The Reverend Canon Jadon D. Hartsuff '12, Saint John's Cathedral, Denver, Colorado
I am honored to be considered for service as an alumni representative on the Board of Trustees. I attended General from the fall of 2009 to the spring of 2012 and earned both an M.Div, cum laude, and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction. While there I was involved in Community Council and served as an elected representative of my class during the seminary's 2010 financial crisis. Our class was praised for its commitment to General during that time of uncertainty. Notably, not one of us left General, and our esprit d'corps was regarded as a source of stability and inspiration as we rode the roller coaster of the next three years as General underwent sweeping changes to its financial and physical life. Since graduating I have served as the Province VI representative to the Alumni Executive Committee.
Now 37 years of age, and originally from Michigan, I enjoyed a first career leading operations, marketing, and finance for a variety of small companies in Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles, including a firm of my own. I studied management theory in undergrad and also gave two years of military service following 9/11. I was ordained from All Saints' Beverly Hills in the Diocese of Los Angeles and served as Curate of Saint James' in Lancaster, Pennsylvania before moving to Denver. In addition to serving the AEC, I currently serve as a board member of a professional choir based in Denver and have served on a variety of boards in the past.
I am encouraged by the initial work toward re-imagining General's curriculum that has been accomplished in the last year. At the same time, I am concerned about General's seeming lack of commitment to some of the core principles that have guided it for almost 200 years. As General recovers from its current crisis and continues to rebuild its product and reputation, I hope my voice can help the BOT deliberate with the perspective of recent/current students clearly in mind as it prepares to carry General into the next 200 years.
Click here and you will be taken to the ballot on a secure third-party survey service where you can choose to cast a "Yes" vote for any or all of the nominees, or you can choose to enter a "Write-In" vote. The poll will close at 12 Noon EST on Monday, November 3, 2014.
The winner of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award is
The Rev. Margaret "Peggy" A. Muncie, '74
The Alumni Executive Committee is delighted to announce that the Rev. Margaret “Peggy” A. Muncie (Class of 1974) is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. Muncie, along with the late Paige Bigelow, was one of the first women to graduate in the MDiv program at GTS, and has written and spoken engagingly and movingly about what that was like. She has always sought to forward the profession of chaplaincy through practice, advocacy, and writing.
Muncie was ordained Deacon in June, 1974 for the Diocese of Long Island by the now deceased Rt. Rev. Jonathan Goodhue Sherman, also a General alum (’33) and a former President of our Board of Trustees. She credits the Bishop for supporting her postulancy at that critical time for the acceptance of female ordinands, and hopes he has “a smile on his face for me and for his brave stance sending me to GTS.” She was then priested for the Diocese of New York on April 25, 1977 by Bishop Sherman at the request of Bishop Paul Moore of New York. The ordination took place in the chapel at Vassar College where she served on the campus ministry team.
Muncie is a Board Certified Chaplain in the Association of Professional Chaplains. She has carried out her distinguished ministry as a chaplain in both long-term care and acute settings for over 30 years, including service as Director of Pastoral Care and Education at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.
She is now engaged as Executive Director of Canterbury Counseling Center (CCC) in Greenville, South Carolina. CCC is a non-profit, church-sponsored organization that offers a healing ministry of pastoral counseling, integrating psychotherapy with behavioral sciences, spiritual issues, wholeness and health. They offer a broad spectrum of services, conducted by fully licensed mental health professionals trained in both theology and pastoral psychology. The services at CCC are available to individuals, couples, families, clergy, and congregations regardless of race, faith affiliation or financial status.
Muncie will accept her award during the next Alumni Gathering, November 5 and 6, 2014.
Peggy Muncie and Paige Bigelow,
the first two women to receive MDivs from General,
celebrate at their Commencement in 1974.
Call for Nominations 2015
The GTS Alumni Executive Committee is pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award is for Seminary degree-holders worthy of special recognition. The award presentation will take place during the 2015 Alumni Banquet during the 2015 Alumni Gathering. Nominations must be received by October 15, 2014. The award will be decided by the Alumni Executive Committee at its November 2014 meeting.
What does it mean to be an outstanding graduate of The General Theological Seminary? The Close represents many things to those of us who studied here at General. A home for some of us, or a home away from home where we went to be in communion with others striving toward the same goals. It is a place where the serenity and beauty of the grounds are enhanced by the families who live there and the community who makes it come alive. It is also a place where Leaders for the Episcopal Church are formed. The time spent at General has led to fruitful expressions of faith in all parts of the world.
We are proud to stand as a community with all of our brothers and sisters in the General Community. Some efforts are so inspirational however, that we choose to recognize these people of faith with our Distinguished Alumni/ae Award. Past recipients have included exemplars of a broad range of ministry. We have had the privilege of holding up both extraordinarily original, path breaking ministries and extraordinarily faithful, though quiet ministries. Candidates may be put forth on the basis of lifetime achievement, or to honor extraordinary accomplishment that brought credit upon the church and GTS. Nominees may be well-known, but care should be given to identifying inspiring yet unheralded ministries.
We rely on our alumni to select an inspirational example for all of us to receive this honor.
The past recipients of the GTS Distinguished Alumni Award are:
2012-13 Brother Clark Berge, '84, Minister General, The Society of St. Francis, Mt. Sinai, New York.
2011 The Rev. Dr. Minka Shura Sprague, ‘78 and ‘85, St. James Episcopal Church, Jackson, Mississippi, scholar, author, preacher, lecturer, and workshop/retreat leader.
2010 The Rev. John L. Kater, ‘96 Professor Emeritus of Ministry Development, Church Divinity School of the Pacific
2009 The Very Rev. David duPlantier '93 Dean, Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans LA, Co-founder Jericho Road Housing Project
2008 The Rev. Dr. Marion J. Hatchett '66 and '72, Professor Emeritus, University of the South, School of Theology, Sewanee, Tenn.
2007 The Rev. Canon Elizabeth Geitz '93, Canon for Ministry, Diocese of New Jersey and author of several volumes, including Fireweed Evangelism and The Rev. J. Fletcher Lowe '59 Executive Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
2006 Dr. Henry Carse '94, Director, Kids-4-Peace, St. George’s College, Jerusalem
2005 The Rev. Bertram Bennett '75, Priest-in-Charge, St. David’s, Bronx, NY and Chair, South Bronx Churches
2004 The Revs. Richard Fabian '70 and Donald Schell '71, Co-founders and co-rectors, St. Gregory of Nyssa, San Francisco
The Alumni Gathering 2014 is cancelled.
Instead, we call all Alumni/ae who are able to come to Chelsea Square on November 5 & 6 to be present for:
- The ratification of elections to the Alumni/ae Executive Committee and Board of Trustees. You will be receiving notification regarding voting in the elections on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
- A facilitated conversation among graduated alumni/ae.
- The Memorial Eucharist.
Facilitated Conversation: The Alumni/ae of the General Theological Seminary are a constituent part of the entire mission of the seminary. We have a stake in the future of General and therefore we have a stake in the decisions that have been made. Our voices are valuable, our voices are necessary, our voices and our perspectives need a space, and they need to be heard. We intend to hold a conversation for graduated alums only on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 2:00 p.m. The Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, '96, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of New York will facilitate our conversation. We have asked the Dean, members of the Board of Trustees and faculty members to exclude themselves from this conversation that we might have a free space to share. A summary of our conversation will be shared with the Dean, the Board of Trustees and the Faculty.
The Annual Memorial Eucharist (no organ) at GTS will be held on Thursday, November 6 at 10:10 a.m. The Distinguished Alumni/ae Award will be presented to the Rev. Peggy Muncie, '74 who will also preach. GTS graduates amazing women and men who have made and continue to make a lasting impact in the life of the church and beyond. Peggy Muncie is a testament to General's legacy and our recognition of her is an embodied witness of General's life and place in the church. The president and vice-president of the AEC will celebrate and assist.
After the Memorial Eucharist, a meeting of the Alumni/ae will be held to ratify elections.
Additionally, the Alumni/ae Executive Committee has requested a meeting with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees during this time and they have agreed.
In order to stay able to respond to the fluidity of the situation and events as they unfold, a more concrete schedule will emerge and we will update you weekly.
The only cost involved in this event will be lunch, so if you have not already registered we need you to do so, so we will have a head count. Refunds will be issued to those who have already paid their registration fees.
The Alumni/ae Executive Committee
The Very Rev. Daniel Ade, ‘92
The Rev. Hannah E. Atkins ‘96
The Rev. Annette M. Chappell, ’03, Secretary
The Rev. Patricia Steinecke Downing, ’95, Vice-President
The Very Rev. Mark Goodman, ‘91
Ms. Rachele Grieco, ‘07
The Rev. Roxane Gwyn, ‘10
The Rev. Canon Jadon D. Hartsuff, ‘12
The Rev. Gregory B. Larkin, ’82,
The Rev. Brandt Leonard Montgomery, ‘12
The Rev. Mark B. Pendleton, ‘91
The Rev. Marguerite Henninger Steadman, ‘97
The Rev. Brian Sullivan, ‘97
The Rev. Sam Tallman, ‘12
The Rev. Dr. R. Scott White, ’96, President
The Rev. Susan L. Wrathall, ‘06
Wednesday and Thursday, November 5 and 6, 2014
if you do not use email, we do not have your email address,
you have any trouble registering, or if you have any other questions.
Alumni Gathering 2013
Wednesday and Thursday, November 6 and 7, 2013
A community of scholarship, worship, and friendship
Brother Clark Berge, Class of 1984, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his inspiring leadership as Minister General of the Society of St. Francis. The award was presented at the Alumni Banquet concluding the two-day Alumni Gathering, November 6 and 7.
Over 60 alums, representing over 60 years of General Theological Seminary history, came home to attend the annual gathering. They joined the community for Morning Prayer, Evensong, and a special annual Memorial Eucharist at which Brother Clark preached, and the Rev. Dick Corney, Class of 1957 and Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, read the names of those alumni and alumnae whose deaths had been reported to the Seminary since the last gathering in 2011.
During his sermon, Brother Clark moved the congregation with "this connection between death and our ministry -- the spur to evaluate our lives, perhaps." On our important tradition of reading the names of the departed one more time in the Chapel, he noted, "Thinking back over the lives of the alumni I knew, I think about my life. As I find out about what these people's lives were like, I am often astounded by the beauty of them all, the faithfulness they showed. I think of all the lives that were touched, sacraments celebrated, sore hearts healed, the work for social justice. A few had brilliant careers, but so many of us don't -- in our own estimation. So, I want to remind us that in the big picture each and every one of us is a kind of miracle." To read the full text of Brother Clark's sermon click here.
The alumni gathering was joyous and thoughtful, marked by the knowledge that last year's event had to be cancelled in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. A special feature of the event was the three-part series: The Paddock Lectures. Dr. Elizabeth Drescher, author of the noteworthy Tweet if You [Heart] Jesus and arguably the Episcopal Church's authority on religion and social media, was the dynamic and provocative presenter. Speaking on "Media, Meaning, and Ministry in the Digital Reformation," her visit drew the largest group of alums, faculty, students, and visitors to Seabury Auditorium in recent memory. Many alumni, led by the Rev. Colin Chapman '12, tweeted the event just as Drescher would have predicted.
Nominations for the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award are now being accepted through January 1, 2014. The award will be decided by the Alumni Executive Committee at its winter meeting. For complete information on the Call for Nominations, click here.