Earlier this month, the CDSP Community Leadership Team passed a resolution calling on the entire CDSP community to stand in solidarity with "water protectors from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies, who are defending sacred lands against the construction of the DAPL [Dakota Access Pipeline]." Read the entire resolution.
Phil Hooper, a first-year MDiv student who organized the effort, writes, "Our response was a natural outgrowth of CDSP's commitment to the issues of creation care and social justice. I was inspired by the Episcopal Church's decision to publicly stand with Standing Rock, and there was clearly a desire among the CDSP community to affirm that position. Our formation as seminarians needs to translate into a public witness of faith, and this was a time to speak out."
Alison Fisher, also a first-year MDiv student, compiled a list of national and local public officials and employees of Energy Transfer Partners, LP, the company that owns the Dakota Access Pipeline. At a community Eucharist, CDSP students and community members pledged to advocate on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by contacting legislators and stakeholders.
"The CDSP community is committed to caring for the earth and its inhabitants," says Fischer. "Our priority was to honor Standing Rock with effective protest and we felt that documented communication to government officials would be productive."
The Celtic Cross Mission Society, a student group that coordinates grants for outreach, made a $1,000 donation to the Diocese of North Dakota to assist with its work to oppose the pipeline.
On October 22, more than a hundred people gathered at CDSP for a day of theological reflection, worship and exploration of the church's response to climate change:
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the current St. Margaret’s Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry, gave an address titled "Creation and the Effective Word: Holy Storytelling, Creation, and God’s Mission." Read her address.
Professor Cynthia Moe-Loebeda gave an address titled "Truth-telling, Inequity, and Christian Action." Read her address.
The day culminated with a liturgy to bless CDSP’s new installation of solar panels led by Bishop Jefferts Schori and Bishop Marc Andrus of California. The panels, installed on Easton, Parsons, and Shires Halls earlier in 2016, make up the largest solar installation of any theological seminary in the United States.
Watch videos of the event:
The Lawrence Kristin Mikkelsen Preaching Scholarship at CDSP, established by St. John’s Episcopal Church, Aptos, California, is awarded to a CDSP student who has demonstrated outstanding promise as a preacher and a commitment to social justice and human dignity. The 2016 recipient of the scholarship is Aaron Klinefelter '18, who preached this sermon at St. John's on October 23:
Holy Spirit, come. Calm our tempest and trouble our waters. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Amen.
Once upon a time, there was a woman who came to visit a new church. She was wearing a bold red hat with the words “Make America Great Again” emblazoned across the front. She came up for Eucharist and weeping she took the bread and wine giving thanks and praise for God’s deep and abiding love and forgiveness.
Standing in the back of the nave, sipping on their fair trade coffee in environmentally sustainable recycled, compostable paper cups, several church leaders gathered to whisper gossip about this unexpected visitor. “What was she doing here?” “How could she be supporting him?!” “It’s just deplorable!”
Once upon a time, there was a young man who came to a new church. He was wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt. During the Prayers of the People he tearfully called out a lament for the young, unarmed black men who have been shot this last year.
During coffee hour, several seasoned vestry members were discussing his “political statement” and whether or not the church should be supporting this kind of behavior. “We welcome everybody, shouldn’t we just be saying, All Lives Matter?” “He should keep his politics private and not try to indoctrinate others, church is about feeling God’s love.”
One of these scenarios, or both, might make you uncomfortable. The nice thing about being a guest preacher is you get to say outlandish things and then leave. But in all honesty, these little vignettes make me uncomfortable too.
The 2016 Alumni Convocation on October 13 will include a forum from 3-4:30 pm with the Rev. Canon Rosa Lee Harden ‘99, one of the founders of SOCAP, which Harden describes as “a network of heart-centered investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders who believe in an inclusive and socially responsible economy to address the world’s toughest challenges.”
SOCAP holds an annual conference in San Francisco that draws about 2500 attendees for presentations, conversations, and entrepreneurial pitches. The community that gathers each year for the event, says Harden, “is dedicated to accelerating a new market at the intersection of money and meaning.”
At CDSP, Harden, who is also canon for money and meaning at All Souls Cathedral in Asheville, North Carolina, will be joined by both her husband and SOCACP co-founder, Kevin Jones, and their colleague, Tim Soerens. The trio will lead a conversation about how Christian leaders and congregations can help build thriving neighborhoods and become financial anchors for communities in need by paying attention to what they do with all of their assets, including money. “If you come to this symposium,” says Harden, “be prepared to consider what it might look like if you, and your congregation, used all of your assets to love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
After the forum, Alumni Convocation attendees are invited to a reception before Convocation Eucharist at 5:45 pm. Former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori ’94, ’01 will preach at the service, and CDSP President and Dean W. Mark Richardson will preside. Harden, the Rev. Rodney Davis ’09, and the Rev. Canon Caryl Marsh ’77 will receive honorary degrees. Davis is a retired associate justice on the California Court of Appeal and Marsh is a former member of CDSP’s board and the retired rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City.
Dean Richardson preached this sermon at the funeral of Bob Rybicki, CDSP's director of operations and personnel management, on September 10, 2016 at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.
We come together today in memory of the Rev. Bob Rybicki, priest of the church. We are here as Bob’s friends to support especially his husband Lee Ng. And we gather here in this place, in the context of the faith of the church, as a people of hope in God’s future, trusting that God is transforming and drawing all things into God’s own presence more fully and deeply.
Our scriptures readings today are about hope in God’s future. And about hope, the writers of Sacred scripture, including St. Paul in today’s reading, provide us only with picture language, words that depict and point but never define the mode in which God’s promise is fulfilled, as if to say that what we trust in is not our highest imagination about what is possible but God’s transformation of all things.
So I begin this morning with the picture language of Paul. Bob was an urban creature through and through, whether in the streets of Chicago or the streets of the Bay area, but let your thoughts turn for a moment to Paul’s agrarian image of ‘sowing’. Essentially Paul is saying, one’s life now is like a seed, given away, placed in the soil. Sown in our weakness and finitude, sown in the complex soil of a city and its struggles and all the struggles of history. The words of Paul are an echo of Jesus’ own words to his friends: except a grain fall to the earth it abides by itself alone, and it does not bear much fruit. When it dies it bears much fruit.
It is as if, spiritually, our lives are to be in a continuous posture of being given away, sown into the soil of life surrounding us. I want later to think of this in terms of God’s future in which we place our trust, but first in terms of what God is doing through our lives now, the present effects of our lives thrown into the soil of our own time and place. Bob planted his life into many places as if to give himself away in the service of life itself: into his marriage with Lee, his friendships (he loved his friends—Barbara Kimport, you come to mind when I think of the reciprocity of this friendship), and into a professional life dedicated to God’s mission in the world. The planting of himself that I knew began barely two years ago in the fall of 2014. And what I witnessed over two years many of you have known for much longer.
Join us at CDSP for a day of theological reflection, discussion and worship as we explore the church’s response to the crisis of climate change. Speakers will include former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is the current St. Margaret’s Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry; Bishop Marc Andrus of California, CDSP President and Dean W. Mark Richardson, and Professor Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, professor of theological and social ethics at CDSP and Pacific Lutheran Seminary of California Lutheran University.
Jefferts Schori will deliver the keynote address, titled “Creation and the Effective Word: Holy Storytelling, Creation, and God’s Mission,” and Moe-Lobeda will give an address titled “Truthtelling, Inequity, and Christian Action.”
The day will culminate with a liturgy to bless CDSP’s new installation of solar panels led by Bishops Jefferts Schori and Andrus. The panels, installed on Easton, Parsons, and Shires Halls earlier in 2016, make up the largest solar installation of any theological seminary in the United States.
“This Fragile Earth” is designed for both laypeople and clergy who are active in environmental ministry and want to explore new opportunities for reflection and Christian action on behalf of our planet.
Registration is $35, which includes lunch. Register online now.
Schedule for This Fragile Earth:
10 am: Welcome from Dean Richardson
10:10 am: Opening Devotion with Bishop Andrus and Bishop Jefferts Schori
10:30 am: Keynote Address from Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori: “Creation and the Effective Word: Holy Storytelling, Creation, and God's Mission”
11 am: Q&A
11:30 am: Address from Professor Cynthia Moe-Lobeda: “Truthtelling, Inequity, and Christian Action”
12:30 pm: Lunch
1 pm: Panel: Action and Advocacy with Bishop Marc Andrus; Lewis Maldondo, lay Christian activist, All Souls Berkeley; and Mark Carlson, director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy for California. Dean Richardson moderating.
2 pm: Final responses
2:30-3:30 pm: Blessing of the Solar Panels, led by Bishops Jefferts Schori and Andrus
Phil Hooper, an experienced non-profit fundraiser and postulant from the Diocese of Nevada, has been named a Bishop’s Scholar at CDSP.
When Hooper, who was raised in northern California, heads to Berkeley later this month to begin his master of divinity studies, the trip will be another stage in what he calls a “long personal and spiritual journey to figure out what place I might have in my faith community.”
His call to ordained ministry began in high school when he moved to Michigan to finish high school and friends invited him to church. “I was raised in a family of spiritual seekers, but not in a church community,” Hooper says. “But when I was invited to a Lutheran [ELCA] church, I became aware in a conscious way of God’s presence in the world. Church became not just this place that people go to on Sunday morning, but Christian community that I wanted to understand and embrace.”
In college at the University of Mary Washington, however, Hooper came out as a gay man, and at the time, he felt as if he had to choose between his sexuality and his faith.
“I did walk away for awhile,” he says. “Not because I didn’t love God or the church, but I had to figure out a way to be authentic and hold those two parts of myself in communion with each other. Once I came to Las Vegas and found the Episcopal Church, it all clicked.” His current parish, Grace in the Desert, where he has been a member since 2014, is sponsoring him for ordination.
“Phil Hooper has been a real blessing to his Nevada congregation as leader of everything from the Holy Doubt millennials class to the stewardship campaign,” says the Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards, bishop of Nevada. “He brings intelligence and a gentle spirit to ministry. CDSP will be just the place to add the necessary academic foundation for what I know will be a missional vocation for years to come.”
For the last nine years, Hooper has worked for non-profit organizations in Las Vegas, including the state chapter of the ACLU and Nevada Ballet Theatre. Along the way, he earned a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management.
“I’ve learned how to inspire people to support a cause,” he says. “I’ve found in this professional experience, like most things in life, it’s about building relationships. Now these skills I’ve been acquiring in the last nine years are pointing me toward a different path from what I expected, but maybe toward what God had been asking me all along.”
Not surprisingly, Hooper had choices about where to attend seminary. “People were offering all kinds of advice,” he says. “Before I visited CDSP, there were one or two other schools I was leaning toward. But from the moment I arrived on campus, I felt at home. There was academic rigor, and a commitment to community and prayer and all of the tools you need to pursue this path. But there was also a sense of humor and sense of humility. I just knew that’s where I was meant to do my studies.”
It makes sense to Hooper that rediscovering his faith in Las Vegas would lead him to seminary at CDSP. “I identify with the church in the west, where we have an understanding of our counter-cultural identity,” he says. In 2015, the religion research firm Barna reported that nearly 60% of Las Vegas residents qualify as post-Christian. “I’ve lived a lot of my life trying to understand my identity as someone at the periphery, and I live in an environment where people are devoted to God and the church, but understand our place in the broader context. I felt that same understanding more strongly at CDSP than anywhere else I visited.”
The Rev. Andrew Hybl, CDSP’s director of admissions says Hooper will fit well in the seminary’s community. “At CDSP, we’re continually seeking candidates with a natural ability to create community and challenge one another to live out their values,” says Hybl, CAS ’12, director of admissions. “Upon first meeting Phil in the fall of 2015 it was clear that he embodies these characteristics. We are fortunate to welcome him to our residential community and look forward to being a part of his further development.”
As he prepares to head to campus in a few weeks, Hooper particularly looks forward to CDSP’s new curriculum with its increased emphasis on spiritual formation and the opportunity, which began with the new summer reading list to study the bible from the perspectives of other cultures and contexts. Reading “Santa Biblia: The Bible Through Hispanic Eyes,” for example, pushed him to think about how his own experiences have shaped his faith and his understanding of scripture. “That’s when growth as a Christian really occurs,” he says.
“I’m ready to jump in and be challenged in all ways.”