WELCOME TO THE GTS ALUMNI ELECTIONS 2013!
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 4, 2013. Election results will be ratified at the meeting of the Alumni Association during the Alumni Gathering, November 6, 2013. For more information and to register for the Gathering, click here.
Alumni Executive Committee -- 3 year Terms
The Rev. Brandt Montgomery, 2012, Curate and Assistant Chaplain, University of Alabama
I am honored to be an alumnus of The General Theological Seminary, being a member of the Class of 2012. Since July 1, 2012, I have been serving as the curate and assistant chaplain at Canterbury Episcopal Chapel and Student Center, the Episcopal Church for the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa. In addition to my ministry at Canterbury Chapel, I have the honor of serving the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama as a member of the Diocesan Council, Diocesan Board of Examining Chaplains, the Commissions on Spirituality and Race Relations, the Department of Ministry for Higher Education, and as an occasional "circuit rider," offering supply ministry to parishes currently without priests.
My time at GTS was challenging -- all in good, formational ways. By being challenged academically, theologically, and through interactions with both an exceptional faculty and great classmates, I credit GTS with helping me to be open to other points of view, become more spiritually mature through change, and see the value that all opinions have within the larger conversation. As a member of the Alumni Executive Committee, it will be my goal to give back in service to GTS in gratitude for it giving much to me in formation. I will strive to help further strengthen the connections that GTS has with its graduates and work with the larger committee to ensure that GTS continues to provide a quality theological education and formational opportunities for both current and future students. All in all, I offer my willingness to work and be of service to others.
The Rev. Susan Wrathall, 2006, Rector, St. Mark's, Warwick, R.I.
I am a member of the 2006 graduating class. I was ordained in my home diocese, Rhode Island, that year and am currently serving as rector of St. Mark's Church in Warwick, Rhode Island. Formerly I was privileged to be a public school teacher for 26 years and I continue to have a passion for education. As such I am excited to have the opportunity to serve the seminary and its mission to educate leaders of the church as a member of the Alumni Executive Committee.
The Rev. Roxane Gwyn, 2010, Vicar, Trinity Episcopal Church, Fuguay-Varina, NC
Prior to seminary my vocational life was spent teaching young children and in the non-profit sector in the areas of adult literacy, hunger relief, addiction recovery, and spiritual formation. After completing my MDiv at Duke Divinity School and serving in two NC Episcopal parishes, I settled in at GTS to earn the STM degree, a great experience in so many ways. Ask me about it! After serving in the Diocese of NH for a year, since March of 2011 I have been the Vicar at a medium-sized parish in a small and growing southern town. I'm blessed to use my gifts in congregations who are in need of guidance to discern their vocation, and who are seeking to heal and grow from issues of the past. Serving on the Alumni Executive Committee at General for the past three years has been a wonderful opportunity to continue in an active role with financial support, service, presence, and prayer. With gratitude I welcome the possibility of continuing in this role for another term.
Board of Trustees -- 3 year Terms
The Rev. Ellen Sloan, 2002, Rector, St. Michael and All Angels Church, Sanibel, FL
After twenty-five years in the field of education, teaching and administrative -- in the United States, South America, and Euriope -- I began the discernment process toward ordained ministry, leading to my graduation from The General Theological Seminary in 2002.
Following priestly ministry at Christ Church, Ridgewood, NJ, I was called as Chaplain to GTS in 2005. In addition to my role as Chaplain and Dean of Community Life, I acted as Director of Deployment, Clinical Pastoral Education placement, Field Placement and Chapel. During this time, GTS was also going through a two-year Strategic Planning Process and I served as Co-Chair with Bishop Jelinek for the Formation and Education research component and made recommendations to the Board of Trustees for future growth and development.
Currently, I've begun my fifth year as the Rector of St. Michael and All Angels in Sanibel, Florida and serve as the Chair of the Commission on Ministry for the Diocese of Southwest Florida. I have a deep affection for GTS and found my time there -- with students, faculty, staff, and Board members -- an invigorating and challenging time in my life. I would be honored to become a part of the Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary.
The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, 1988, Chief Operating Officer, Office of the Presiding Bishop
Bishop Stacy F. Sauls is delighted to have the opportunity to serve the church as a member of the Board of General Theological Seminary at this important and exciting time in its history. He graduated from General in 1988 and was ordained a priest in 1989 at St. George's Church in Griffin, GA (Diocese of Atlanta). He continued his parish ministry at St. Bartholomew's Church in Atlanta and St. Thomas' Church, Savannah, GA (Diocese of Georgia). He was elected the Sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington in 2000.
Bishop Sauls is the Chief Operating Officer for the Episcopal Church, a post he has held since September 2011. He is also an ex-officio member of the Episcopal Church Executive Council and an active member of the Board of Episcopal Relief & Development.
His first career was in law, and he is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, SC and the University of Virginia School of Law. He worked as a corporate lawyer, most notably with the law department of Delta Air Lines.
General Theological Seminary presented him with a DD honoris causa in 2001, as did the University of the South in 2002, where he served as a trustee. He earned a Masters Degree in Canon Law from Cardiff University in 2009.
The Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, 1980, Bishop of West Virginia
Mike is a lifelong Episcopalian, coming from five previous generations of Episcopalians. Baptized in the Diocese of Long Island, and growing up in the Diocese of Chicago, Mike attended General from 1977 - 1980. He considers General to be his 'Honeymoon,' as he and Marsha were married just nine days prior to their arrival on the Close. Mike served at Grace Church, Freeport, Illinois, from 1980 - 1990, where he was Curate for the first 18 months, and Rector for the remaining time. He was called to Trinity Church, Wheaton, Illinois in September, 1990, and served there until his election as Bishop of West Virginia in 2001.
I believe that we are at an interesting, challenging, and hopeful time in the Church, and particularly in regard to the lives of our seminaries. General has a strong and vibrant past. While the future is challenging, I believe that the leadership of General is facing the challenges (and opportunities) head on. While the landscape is changing rapidly, General is and will continue to be a leader in the formation of leaders in the Episcopal Church. I have been happy to serve these past six years, and look forward to working with the Administration, Staff, and other Board Members to bring General to a stronger and better place in the Church.
Click here and you will be taken to the ballot 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 4, 2013.
2013 Paddock Lectures
The Paddock Lectures, Nov. 6 and 7, 2013
Media, Meaning, and Ministry in the Digital Reformation
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.
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.
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.
The Alumni Gathering 2014 has been scheduled for
Wednesday and Thursday, November 5 and 6, 2014
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.