When members of the Society of Ordained Scientists gathered at CDSP earlier this month, it was to share how they traverse the worlds of faith and science, how those journeys shape their ministries, and how their ministries can influence their communities.
“Everyone in the Society, in some way, has had two careers, has held authority in science and the church,” said the Rev. Lucas Mix, PhD, who is warden for the Society’s North American Province. Mix, an adjunct faculty member at CDSP, received his MDiv from the seminary in 2007 and his PhD in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard in 2004. This year he is a research fellow at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, where he is investigating astrobiology and society.
“All of us have this language that we have learned from being church geeks and science geeks,” Mix said, “and there is something wonderful about being with people who speak your language. Being able to talk to each other allows us to put things in new ways.”
In addition to Mix, attendees included CDSP President and Dean Mark Richardson and the Rev. Dr. Marilyn M. Cornwell (MDiv ‘06), rector of Church of the Ascension, Seattle. Both were presenters (download Dean Richardson's presentation), as was the Rev. Dr. Ted Peters, research professor emeritus in systematic theology and ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at Graduate Theological Union. Both Cornwell and Peters (from whom Mix took a seminary course in religion and science) were accepted as new members during the retreat.
Also attending was the Rev. Deacon Josephine “Phina” Borgeson (MDiv ‘74), the Rev. Robyn Arnold (MDiv ‘08), the Rev. Barbara Smith-Moran (DMin ‘09), and the Rev. Dr. Robert Russell, director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences and professor of theology and Science at Graduate Theological Union.
Founded in 1987, the Society of Ordained Scientists has more than 100 members and holds a yearly retreat in the United Kingdom, where it was founded. Additionally, it meets every two years in the United States. This year’s meeting was the first to be held at CDSP.
Most Society members serve in parishes, and according to its website, “[i]ntegrating science and theology, reason and faith is not just a work for scholars; it is something all of us have to do every day, as God calls us each in our own time and place.”
Mix understands that call. “My work is largely labeled science and religion,” he says. “There’s also this question of synthesis; how do I bring my faith and my knowledge together? It’s all about faith and understanding. I think it’s a question of speaking about Jesus and speaking about science in the vernacular.”
Presenter Marilyn Cornwell, a lifelong Episcopalian, said “The deep lessons of my scientific training prepared me well for the pilgrimage of faith as an ordained scientist.”
Cornwell was a scientist with a PhD in biochemistry when she joined the faculty of a cancer research center and conducted research on how tumor cells become resistant to chemotherapy. She also had been asked by her church to be a link between spiritual care and health care for cancer patients she met through the church.
“I began to be a resource for Episcopalian and Anglican patients from all over the place coming to Seattle for bone marrow transplants,” Cornwell said. “At the beginning I found it quite odd—I mean, although a person of faith, I was just a simple lab geek, a true science nerd; but I just kept getting these invitations to be a bridge for patients and families as they left their everyday lives and entered the bewildering world of high-tech health care.”
Through those accumulating experiences, she felt her call. Cornwell went to seminary, completed her MDiv at CDSP in 2006 and was ordained in 2007. Now, asrector of Church of the Ascension in Seattle, she witnesses first-hand the value of the Society of Ordained Scientists.
“It provides support for its members who are in the forefront of providing resources and connections, and unfolding the link to science for people in the pews in the church, and people outside the church,” Cornwell said. “At least the people in my parish, who are highly conversant and educated in the sciences, want to know how do we make sense of the stories of our faith, with galaxies being burst out like milkweed seeds (as seen on Hubble Space Telescope images)? How do we make sense of God and the fact that there is other life on other planets? How do we make sense of the Holy Spirit and a techno-cultural milieu dominated by data-driven science?
“People from the outside looking in need to know that the church isn’t stuck in the 1400s in its ideas about the world. And people on the inside need to know how to live in relationship with what we call God in the context of their lives.”
Deacon Phina Borgeson, who holds both an MDiv and a DD from CDSP, has attended all kinds of forums and conferences on science and faith. But the Society of Ordained Scientists offers something she hasn’t found elsewhere.
“I really joined simply because I had been timed out of the (Episcopal) Church’s Committee on Science, Technology and Faith,” she said. “One of the things I really like about it is, it is not task-oriented like the committee was. I like that you see people that you might be going to a conference with, and you pray for one another daily. It’s a different way of dealing with people.”
She appreciates the camaraderie.
“There is a kind of loneliness, when you think about the number of people in science who are people of faith,” she said. “This is a place where you can be out about your faith.”
Borgeson, a Radcliffe graduate with a major in biology, teaches at the School for Deacons on the CDSP campus. She lives in Santa Rosa and recently retired from paid church work redeveloping small congregations.
She has a long history of ministry development and involvement in food system ethics. She was director of the Faith Network Project for the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, founder and lead organizer of the Sonoma Valley Gleaning Project, and for years served as Episcopal News Service’s correspondent for science and the environment. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative in Sebastopol, California.
Borgeson said she hopes the Society of Ordained Scientists will become more influential in promoting the integration of science and theology.
“I think in seminaries today, there are opportunities,” she said, “but sometimes what happens is the academic work is done by a small cadre of the faculty and it still hasn’t touched the mainstream of the seminary or the church. How does it impact our preaching? How does it impact our hymnology?”
It can be difficult, she said, for scientists who enter seminary to focus on the convergence of science and faith because “if they moved from science to a career in a church, there’s where their energy is going to go, to finding a church, finding a job.”
CDSP makes the convergence much easier.
“With Mark (Richardson) being so squarely in the place of understanding that need and the movement, CDSP is in a better place to give any seminarian, whether they have an interest in science and faith, some exposure in the field.”
During her years as a scientist and as a person of faith, Borgeson has seen a positive shift in the conversation.
“There are some issues today, particularly environmental issues,” she said, “which are a lead-in to look at the dialog of the convergence of science and faith. The early years of church-based environmental activism tended to be romantic and elitist. It was a movement primarily among the privileged with an emphasis on preserving wilderness. Now food security and food sovereignty have made a sound connection between the plight of the world’s poor struggle for survival and the environmental movement.”
Why be concerned by the connection between faith and science? In her recent presentation to the Society, Cornwell summed it up this way.
A recently retired professor of New Testament who is a member of the parish asked me on Sunday, “How much science does the person in the pew need to know to live meaningful life? How much theology?” I don’t have the answer to his questions.
I do believe that the answers to the questions at the intersection of science and faith matter. Why? Because people care.
You and I both know that most of the people in my parish could care less about the fact that the paired spins of electrons in orbit around the nucleus of an atom are energetically entangled, but they do care about how the very energy in and of the space between us connects us to one another and to what we call God.
Some of the people I encounter in parish life do care about the ethics of human cloning and they care more about hope of gene editing to cure diseases like muscular dystrophy and HIV.
Many care deeply about the connection between the science of climate change because they care about deep ecology of humankind and creation with the Divine. The answers to their questions about science and faith do matter to those who seek a deeper relationship with the Holy One.
I'm always glad when it's time to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe; but it's a celebration that always makes me a little nervous. At its worst, it can be a particularly unpleasant example of "supermarket Christianity," where we simply pick and choose anything that happens to attract us, the more "exotic" the better, without thinking about what it means, to us or to the people whose sacred story it is. It can be a kind of neo-colonialism, or worse; stealing other peoples' sacred stories or borrowing them without asking is probably worse than stealing their property or borrowing their car without asking.
That's why tonight makes me a little nervous. But there are lots of reasons why I am glad to be part of this celebration...and maybe the most important is for the message it communicates to us, here in this our own context...although the setting of the characters in the story was nothing like the one most of us call home
Juan Diego was a member of the Nahuatl people of Mexico in one of the darkest times for his people. They had been overwhelmed by their Spanish conquerors, their history and traditions distorted, their religion mocked, their treasure stolen, their identity challenged; and their conquerors had done everything they could to turn them into Spanish-speaking Christians. Christ was the victorious King of Kings whose counterpart sat on the Spanish throne on the other side of the world, and his virgin mother was a Spanish queen depicted in jeweled splendor who looked nothing like the women Juan Diego met every day. No people could have been more dispossessed than the Indian people of the Valley of Mexico in Juan Diego's time. Their oppression was profound, and it was complete.
And at just such a time, Juan Diego has a vision; and the woman he sees looks nothing like the statues of Christ's mother he saw in church. This woman looked suspiciously like the mother goddess his people had revered, to whom they had turned for comfort and support...and yet, she was Christ's mother. And most surprising of all, she spoke to Juan Diego in Nahuatl, which was the language of his own people. And as the legend unfolds, this mysterious figure does amazing things -- roses appear in the middle of winter on a hilltop, her image is miraculously imposed on Juan Diego's cape, and maybe most miraculously of all, the bishop comes to believe in Juan Diego and his vision. The figure he met on that December day in a place his people knew was holy became the symbol of survival, and hope; Our Lady of Guadalupe became the symbol that the Holy One knows who matters, who has value even when those in charge think otherwise. And Juan Diego discovered that God speaks the language of those who need God most: the ones whose value is denied, whose identity is under attack, who would seem to be hopeless and lost.
Our Lady of Guadalupe became the champion of our neighbors, our brothers and sisters to the south who were once the people of this land where we live. She is the patron of Mexico, and even a Church that at first scoffed at the story has come to realize that the love people have for her cannot, and will not, be challenged.
The descendants of Juan Diego and his people have endured centuries of struggle, and they still do. Their country was pillaged by their conquerors. A church that should have been on their side chose instead to support those conquerors and their descendants who owned most of the land and kept the mass of the people in conditions of misery. The struggle for freedom, for a sense of identity and self-worth has been a struggle of centuries. But always, in times of suffering and in times of struggle, the Virgin of Guadalupe has been the sign that God was still with them. And in our own time, when the descendants of all the Juan Diegos have made their way north in search of life instead of death, the Virgin has gone with them -- only now she speaks Spanish. When Cesar Chavez led migrant workers in the fields of California to demand a better life, the Virgin of Guadalupe was heir patron, because she still remains the sign that whatever the forces of oppression and death may say, nevertheless -- Emmanuel. God with us.
I don't suppose there is a more powerful image for the Advent season than the figure of the mother of Christ who is also the patron, the friend, the advocate, the supporter of a people who continue to be mistreated, not least by political demagogues. It's the message of the Magnificat: God has shown strength with his arm, scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, brought down the powerful and lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. That's what happens when God comes to be with the people who need God most: They are vindicated. The lies that they heard to "keep them in their place" are revealed for what they are -- lies.
We are walking through a time when the shadow of death seems to be particularly strong -- shadows of fear, shadows of hate, shadows of discrimination and intolerance are all around us. But Emmanuel -- God is with us. Remembering and honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe is a way to stand with all those who are suffering tonight as Juan Diego suffered nearly five centuries ago. It is a way to stand with our neighbors from the south who are being vilified for political gain even as they flee for their lives. It is a way to stand with those in our own place and time whose religion is demonized or mocked. It is a way to stand with people whose lives are considered not to matter. It is a way to stand with people whose lives have become a pilgrimage towards safety in the face of awful violence. It is a way to stand with those, whoever they are, who wonder where is God when they need God. It is a way to remember God's own priorities, never more obvious than in the story of Jesus' own birth as homeless, an outcast, a member of a despised minority and a scorned religion, and as Matthew would have it, a refugee.
Advent is a time of Emmanuel -- God coming to be with us. Maybe it's people like Juan Diego who get to see how true that is: roses bloom in the mountains in December, and hope is born, because God turns out to speak Nahuatl, and Spanish, and Arabic, and those who tell us the truth about God turn out to look like those who need it most.
A sermon preached at All Saints Chapel on December 17, 2015
From December 5-10, the Very Rev. Mark Richardson, dean and president of Church Divinity School of the Pacific, attended the Conference of Parties, the international climate change conference in Paris. He was part of the official delegation funded to represent the Episcopal Church at the event.
December 5: A Wound in Paris
I arrived in Paris and there was little sign of extra security, but who knows what is behind the cameras?
After getting through security and to the hotel it was early afternoon, with little chance to get to the COP21 pavilion for a session. I walked the streets near the hotel instead and only three blocks away was one of the major memorials for those who died in the attack of a few weeks ago. Flowers and pictures lined a park wall for at least two blocks, across the street one of the cafes that had been the site of this attack. It reminded me of living in NYC when memorials popped up all over NYC after 9/11. NYC continued the affairs of daily life but people carried inside a sadness they could not sweep away; it took time. The people of Paris do not seem to be paralyzed: sidewalk cafes still open and bustling, people shopping, but one feels the wound in their presence, and the memorials bear testimony to this.
Tonight our delegation meets for dinner and we will hear instructions about our deployment over the next several days. I heard from Bishop Marc [Andrus] and received his warm welcome. He was up at the conference today right on schedule to gather people for prayer in the heart of the pavilion. I look forward to joining him and others in the days ahead.
December 6: How Do We Have Conversations About Climate Change?
Sunday was a great day of being with the church in Paris. Our delegation gathered at the American Cathedral in Paris, first to hear a forum presentation by George Marshall, a social anthropologist who is renowned internationally for his work on public conversation skills especially for discussing issues of great concern. He was there to help us address the question: “How do we have conversations across our deep cultural polarization on the issues of climate change?” This seemed so important to share with our seminary community. Soon we will build into our curriculum at Church Divinity School of the Pacific the learning of skills of conversation.
According to Marshall, we will not communicate with those who hold differing points of view from our own on issues of climate change until we listen deeply to the values and identity issues that motivate them. When we listen for these things we begin to build trust, and this personal and relational level is essential to forward progress. We need to learn from each other those things that will motivate change in us. He had some wonderful anecdotes to illustrate his point.
The Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of Greenfaith, an important player in the climate change conference, preached at the principal service. I loved being back at the Cathedral after my visit with my wife, Brenda, this summer and renewing connection with friends there. Bishop Pierre Whalon and Dean Lucinda Laird were wonderful hosts.
The Cathedral is impressive for the kind of leaders in the congregation. I met an international lawyer in the congregation who was on his way to meet with theEgyptian representatives at the Climate Change conference who are his clients. Before he left, he shared some fascinating stories and his hopes regarding the activities at the conference.
This afternoon, the delegation was left to some leisure, and to prepare material on specialized topics we have been assigned for our participation tomorrow in the “green zone,” the location of non-legislative bodies. It is where important networking and learning goes on, and bottom-up organizing that has impact we cannot measure on those who must sign the agreements. In my leisure I enjoyed the company of John and Julia McCray Goldsmith, and Grace Aherne, who formerly lived in California and is now chaplain at the University of Virginia. A very good day for this jet lagged dean and president!
December 7: Learning About Renewable Energy
Our day as delegates from the Episcopal Church to the Climate Change conference began with early morning edits of an official letter from the Church to the representatives in the legislative sessions. It had to go from our hands back to NYC for approval and then return before delivering this afternoon. It is in response to some goals already set, and encouragement of certain actions yet to be taken.
We arrived for our first day at the Pavilion, the gathering place of thousands of non-legislative delegates from many organizations. I attended a meeting on “North American climate collaboration” with an interdisciplinary group attempting to integrate efforts across a wide range of science, technology, and business.
Then at noon, Bishop Marc Andrus gathered us in a public space under “the prayer umbrella” for singing, prayer and meditation. We are centering our mediation on one of the four themes each day: reverence, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation. Our goal in this short time is to fill the space with this prayerful spirit which really comes from many people back home as well as within this huge space. Imagine singing with all kinds of activity and chaos around you, hundreds of people walking by wondering who you are and what you are doing. (A parade of people dressed as penguins came marching by with their own tune at one point.) Some stopped in curiosity to listen to our singing, others to joined the circle.
In fact, in just five minutes I met with two who stopped: Mohammed El-Hadi Khalifi, president of an investment bank in Sudan, who came solely to connect investment funds with groups pursuing green technology solutions in sub-Saharan Africa; and Vincent Powlowski from Arizona, who founded the Association for the Tree of Life, dedicated to organizing in response to climate change.
Since we at Church Divinity School of the Pacific are new participants in solar energy, in the afternoon I attended a panel presentation on “Renewable Energy and Intermittency.” The idea of intermittency is that in the diverse menu of renewable energy sources--hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, ocean currents, wind, and bio-mass--there will be fluctuations and times of unpredictable fluctuation. Solar is a case in point: it is a very powerful source, but there are times when it is not easy to predict excess production on the one hand, or insufficiency in meeting demand on the other hand (in contrast to geo-thermal, for example, which is constant).
The point is that we are headed toward an era when societies will cooperate in producing a variety of renewable energy integrated into a single system. This really took me out of a certain kind of isolation in my attitude about producing solar at CDSP: “we'll produce for ourselves and sell a little to the grid.” What if we began to think of our production as fitting into a larger system where diverse sources of renewable energy were feeding into a public grid to meet the public demand?
Mind-opening meetings like this are happening all over the pavilion all day, every day, for two weeks. It is not only a privilege to hear these presentations; it is also impressive to encounter very bright engineers, social psychologists, city planners, ecologists and others who have dedicated lifetimes to realizing outcomes that are essential to our future on this planet.
I discovered in the evening that this is truly not the work of heroic individuals, but of collaborating communities and leaders. At a concert event in downtown Paris, we paid tribute to heroes from all over the globe who were saving forests, protecting communal lands and being leaders in global adaptation. In each case, it was communities, not individuals, being honored, and communities accepting those honors. It was quite a moving event, emceed by Alec Baldwin.
December 8: The Inner Dimension of Climate Change
Today I met today with a pastor in the Swedish Church who wrote that church’s document titled “A Bishops’ Letter About the Climate.” Sweden is largely regarded as a world leader in the march toward a carbon neutral economy. By contributing their share to a global fund to support island peoples and other poorer nations, they are also leading in the effort to assist the people most vulnerable to climate change. Compared to the United States, their per capita contribution is staggering.
Traveling to the pavilion, I had a chance meeting with Bill McKibben among the hundreds loading onto buses. We talked on the way to the conference. I'll hear him speak tomorrow. Once we arrive, we pass through a checkpoint that is like those at the airport. Bags are x-rayed, belts come off, and all the rest.
At our Episcopal worship today, we marched with musicians around the pavilion singing hymns before going to our gathering place for reflection and prayer. This offends my natural shyness about such things, but I must admit it drew some to join us.
Would you ever expect to hear Inuit rap music? Today at lunch I heard it for the first time. It has kind of had an Arctic Indian twist to it.
After our prayer gathering today, I attended a session on "Adaptation in urban contexts worldwide,” which included health experts, city planners and others who have attempted over the years to prepare cities for fatalities from heat or floods in light of the inevitability of climate change. These climate extremes first impact the most vulnerable people: infants, elderly, the poor. Proactive urban planning, education, and communication have achieved remarkable results; for example, a record heatwave in Ahmedabad, India in 2010 killed 1300 people. After coordinated, proactive planning, the next heat wave of comparable duration and temperature killed 20.
In this same session, it was interesting to hear from Governor Brown's top planning official, Ken Alex, who made a case for why California is so far ahead of most states in the U.S. in planning for climate change and in initiating mitigation of carbon emission. Since 1970, particulate pollution in California has been reduced by 95% and by 2030 the goal is 98%. This success, Alex said, is due to the time and expertise that California devotes to identifying the problem and providing a regulatory response. The state regulatory bodies press the business community to meet higher standards, and eventually business innovation follows. From there, requirements to meet environmental standards tighten in increments.
Many remember Los Angeles of the 1970s as the Beijing of today. You couldn't see more than a block on bad days. I remember competing in a track meet at UCLA then and having to adjust warm ups to avoid sickness before the competition. So California has changed. Today, whereas many states in the U.S. are very anti-government and anti-regulation, California is not afraid of regulation, and is a case study in why it matters. (Okay, that's as political as it's gonna get in this communication!)
The point from this panel was that climate change resilience is “win-win.” Change does not mean sacrifice, which is the great fear of those who resist. Change toward renewable energy sources and lifestyle change lead to better quality of life, better health, money savings, and in many cases, job creation.
The next panel, led by Catholic, Buddhist and Hindu leaders, was titled, "The Inner Dimension of Climate Change.” Their question: "What is the Connection between Social Violence and Violence Against Nature?" The message shared among the speakers was that change in technique, finance and governance in response to climate issues will change nothing—mere band-aids—if we do not motivate a spiritual change of heart in all of us toward others and the natural world. We are in pain and we are inflicting pain, creating deserts of the heart as we create natural deserts globally, to paraphrase Pope Francis.
The message was consonant across all the traditions represented on the panel. The internal root of this violence is separation from ourselves, from others, and from the natural world. We are attached to our subjective ideologies and attached to our desires, and things that threaten this insular individualism lead to violence. But this alienation is a trap. The message of all the traditions is that we need compassion, reverence for the ground of our being, and reconciliation. Our Episcopal worship this week has centered on these three themes, among others. I was moved by the clarity, depth, and common voice coming from many religious traditions of the world. It reminded me of the richness of our context in the Graduate Theological Union.
I ended the day by traveling back downtown to the American Cathedral for interfaith prayer, singing and testimony which took the message of the session I’d just attended and placed it in the context of prayerful practice. We ended in music led by a group of pilgrims who had walked the 1500 kilometers from Rome to Paris for this conference. Their goal was to leave the message of love and hope with each step, and they discovered along the way that it was they who were given love and hope by those who received them. You could feel in their words, in their music, that this had been their experience. This was a wonderful prayer of gratitude to end the evening.
December 9: Prayer, Debate, and a State Department Briefing
I am impressed with the chance meetings and unpredictable conversations at events like this climate change conference involving thousands of people. As I traveled by train to the day's events, I conversed with Arif Rahman in the Pakistan government's delegation on environment and development. He shared a momentary doubt about the value of the conference: "I think of the investment Pakistan made to send its delegation. We could have built a school. We must be serious about what we are doing."
We talked about family, and he lit up telling me about his children and how his parents who live in the same village in northern Pakistan were doing in old age. Basic human and personal things linked us. We both were reminded of the loves and longings that bind us,reminded of the simple but deep needs that make life on this globe so precious. We were ready to go to work.
Right on time, our noonday prayer group gathered, marched and sang accompanied by accordion, clarinet, string instrument, and drum. Yes, you read it correctly. Quite a combination! As we marched through the pavilion, more began to join us: participants from the Micronesian islands threatened by inundation as the globe warms and waters rise, a Kenyan reporter, young people from the U.S. who are religiously unaffiliated, and more. Bringing prayer to a space of debate and technical discussions was uniquely moving. Later, the Kenyan reporter interviewed me, and in tears stated that he needed this time to pray with others in the midst of serious and frightening challenges.
Each day, the noonday prayer ends in a lunch gathering, and I have enjoyed this time with friends and fellow delegates before launching into our several paths for the rest of the day. In my case, the afternoon began in a meeting on “free trade and climate change” that examined some of the ways in which international trade agreements are apparently at cross-purposes with new directions needed to face climate challenges. It was essentially an urgent plea for a re-balancing of interests and power and for regulatory measures that protect against the excesses of a fossil-fuel based economy.
There is debate over differences in this pavilion. Should nuclear power be in the energy future or not? Is carbon trading the best method toward a policy of a carbon neutral future, and, if so, what should the caps be? Is a multinational agreement worth anything without enforcement? What are the developed world's obligations in the face of loss and damages experienced in the developing world?
Late in the afternoon, Jessie Young, a State Department representative, visited our delegation to brief us on the status of the climate change negotiations and timetable for reaching an agreement. Our conversation with her lent perspective on issues including the complexity of bi-lateral discussions with India, whose interests run counter at times to near-term carbon reduction; transparency among nations and the monitoring of their commitments; how to determine developed-world contribution to adaptation in the face of current climate disasters; setting goals for the future; and the unpredictable path toward meeting them assuming the will, intelligence and commitment is in place to do so.
To learn more about the Episcopal Church’s presence at the Paris conference, read Episcopal News Service coverage.
On October 8, CDSP held its annual alumni convocation in All Saints Chapel. The Rev. Dennis Tierney '02 preached at the service, and the Rev. Canon Robert J. Brooks '73, Dr. Ronald C. Johnson and the Rev. Eliza Linley '90 were awarded honorary degrees:
The Rev. Cn Robert J. Brooks ’73
Canon Robert Brooks is a priest of the Diocese of Connecticut and Canon for International Affairs of the Diocese of El Salvador. He is President of the national Episcopal Urban Caucus, and member of the Executive Committee of APLM. He was appointed to the Standing Liturgical Commission (1985- 1988) that produced the first expansive language Eucharistic texts which are still in use; chairing the Committee on Initiation that enhanced the liturgies for the catechumenal process. He represented The Episcopal Church on the Consultation on Common Texts, making contributions to the development of the Revised Common Lectionary. Among his many accomplishments, Canon Brooks was elected to the Bretton Woods Committee to honor his role in the funding of debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. As Director of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church (1988-1998), Canon Brooks worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on democratic transitions from apartheid systems, and has worked with leaders in the Middle East in search of peace. Canon Brooks played a definitive role on the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the National and Community Service Act (Americorps), the Omnibus Crime Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the International Religious Freedom Act. He organized religious community support for ratification by the Senate of the treaty banning chemical weapons. For his work around the world in conflict resolution, Canon Brooks was invested by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
Dr. Ronald C. Johnson
Band raised in Philadelphia, baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church in my teen years. After completion of military service and pursuit of a career in science, I earned a doctoral degree in biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. Following graduation, I was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship position at the University of California, San Francisco, and after a two-year period was invited to stay on as full time staff. I am currently retired from the University after a 30 year career as a research biochemist.
In retirement I have been involved in tutoring and mentoring young people. I have served in both leadership and participatory capacities in several governance and service positions in my parish, Grace Cathedral, and in the Diocese of California, where I was appointed to the Commission on Ministry and elected to the Standing Committee. I have also functioned for many years in adult Christian formation and have assisted those in their discernment to calls to lay and to ordained ministry.
The Rev. Eliza Linley ’90
After beginning her professional life as an artist and architect, followed by a detour as a caterer and refectory manager at CDSP, Eliza received her MDiv with Distinction from CDSP in 1990. She then served various Bay Area parishes as Priest-in-Charge and Interim and returned to CDSP as Visiting Chaplain to Students in 1997-9. She joined the CDSP Board of Trustees in 2001 and, in 2007, became the first ordained woman to chair the board of an Episcopal seminary until her term ended in 2013. She has taught as adjunct professor at the GTU in the area of Worship and the Arts and has led numerous congregational workshops on sacred space and the building process. Eliza was a founding member of the Episcopal Church in the Visual Arts and has served on the boards of the Church Building Fund, the Center for Arts, Religion and Education at the GTU, St. Dorothy’s Rest and the Bishop’s Ranch. She is also an artist whose work hangs in collections across the country including Stanford University, the Episcopal Church Center in New York, and Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago.
Blow trumpets and horns, and shout for joy to the Lord our king. Psalm 98:6
Even if you haven’t yet met Devin Rodgers on the CDSP campus, there’s a chance you may have heard him.
When Bishop Marc Andrus joined the CDSP community October 1 to bless the campus buildings and the ministries they support, Rodgers helped lead the parade.
“I played trumpet and we had a drummer,” he said. “We walked around campus singing and playing music between the places we were blessing. It was kind of cool.”
Rodgers is this year’s recipient of the Norman Mealy Music Scholarship, given to encourage skilled musicians with an interest in church music to attend and enrich the musical life of CDSP and the church at large. Rodgers is thrilled with the seminary and is grateful for the scholarship.
“I love it here,” he said. "It’s a great fit.”
Rodgers spent a year at Bexley Seabury before arriving at CDSP in September as a second year MDiv student, a move prompted when his husband, Philippe Terrasson, got a new job in California.
Church music has been an integral part of Rodgers’ life since he was a little boy attending the Lutheran church. In grade school he learned to play the clarinet and the trumpet, which is his primary instrument. He went on to major in music education at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he was the principal chair of the symphony band and was trumpet section leader in the marching band. Following graduation, he taught instrumental music for four years to students in grades six through twelve in North College Hill, Ohio. While serving as a band director, “I began to see the ways music-making could be translated into service and community. How could this be translated into a formal church structure?”
At Bexley Seabury, Rodgers was in a brass choir and took piano lessons as an elective.
“As a musician, I recognize that there’s a spiritual aspect of music connecting with worship and prayer. Music, by its nature, is an expression of who we are. If we are created in the image of God, then music gives us a glimpse of God’s nature, particularly as creative and life-giving.”
The Norman Mealy scholarship is given in honor of Norman Mealy (1923–1987), who was professor of church music at CDSP from 1952 to 1987 and at the GTU from 1965 to 1987. He also served as the director of music at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley from 1947 to 1961 and was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1960.
Mealy was active in developing new music within the Episcopal Church and served on several commissions on service music and liturgy. The scholarship bearing his name requires proficiency in music leadership and helps to pay the tuition of recipient, who also serves as an assistant to George Emblom, the director of chapel music and CDSP’s assistant professor of church music.
At CDSP, liturgical and ritual music has long been considered an essential part of liturgy, and everyone is encouraged to develop their own musical skills and appreciation. Sixty years ago, a May 14, 1955, article in the Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard newspaper announced a 10-day summer school of church music at CDSP, run by Norman Mealy.
According to the article, “This school will provide the only intensive training in the music of the Episcopal Church that is available to church musicians west of the Rocky Mountains. It has been designed to offer training in the practical aspects of church music and to help musicians understand the profound relationship of music to the worship of the church.”
Rodgers understands that relationship.
“Music is so tied into our liturgical traditions. Our liturgy and scripture are full of images of music-making, both on earth and in heaven,” he said. “I particularly like Psalm 98, verse 6, which talks about praising God with the sounds of trumpets. When I was confirmed, each confirmand got to choose a favorite piece of scripture. That was the passage I chose.”
Rodgers became an Episcopalian in 2008, while he was in college.
“I went to an adult forum at Holy Trinity Church in Oxford, Ohio, to discuss how the church could be more supportive of the LGBT student community. I was so impressed that the parish was so supportive and receptive that I stayed for the Eucharist, and then I was kind of hooked.”
Rodgers said he looks forward to working with Emblom and exploring how sacred music can involve the use of a variety of instruments and music selections.
“One of the things I talked to George about is that, traditionally, we think of church musicians as selecting music for organs or pianos or choosing hymns. It was cool to talk to him about using other instruments and about music selection. As we strive to be the Episcopal Church in a more diverse society, I hope our musical tradition continues expanding and evolving to reflect the culture of the people, while also holding on to our traditional and rich music background.”
Whatever instrument or style is used, “music is one way that humans make theological connections and understandings,” Rodgers said. “As church leadership and musicians, it is our job to ensure that the liturgy and music is in the language of the people. It is my hope that our musical offerings would add a level of understanding and insight to the mission that we are called to in the world.”
The Rev. Suzanne Guthrie, a noted author and spiritual guide, will be CDSP’s second St. Margaret's Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry.
Dean Mark Richardson announced that Guthrie, author of “Praying the Hours” and “Grace's Window,” will offer a course on spiritual practices, devotions and praying during the spring semester next year.
“Our students will be able to get a taste for 'practices' of spirituality, varieties of prayer practice, and ministries of spiritual direction on their own campus with one of the leaders in our tradition,” Richardson said. “Suzanne Guthrie will be able to present students with the genius of Anglican spiritual traditions, while also offering a still larger diversity of practices in other traditions.”
Guthrie has served as a parish priest, a Christian education consultant and in chaplaincies at Vassar College and Cornell University. She and her husband, Bill Consiglio, are the parents of four grown children. Guthrie traces her interest in mystical theology to the “Autobiography of Teresa of Avila,” which she read at age 22.
"Christian leaders need to have a deep spiritual practice in order to sustain themselves in the ordinary stress of ministry,” Guthrie says. “Also, the world is changing very, very fast, and I think ministers have to be ready for catastrophe. So I think it is important to develop a vibrant theology of prayer out of which to live an active life and be able to respond to people who are suffering, with empathy and compassion, even if not in words."
Guthrie’s course will focus on a wide range of spiritual practices including monastic practices, lectio divina, body prayer, intercessions, rules of life, and devotional lifestyles.
"I've been having fun crafting this course because there's an unlimited number of ways it can be done,” Guthrie says. “It's like creating a palette of colors and textures for a painting."
Richardson said that as the visiting professor of women in ministry, Guthrie will have “the flexibility to work with students in groups and one-on-one, and both in classroom settings and informal contexts.”
The St. Margaret’s professorship was inaugurated last fall at CDSP on the 40th anniversary of the ordination of the first women to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church. The professorship was made possible by generous support from women who taught or studied at the seminary. The chair is named in honor of St. Margaret's House, a Berkeley-based institution that trained deaconesses and laywomen for ministry in the Episcopal Church from 1909-66.