News and Info



Retired Sewanee dean, VTS professor to teach at CDSP

The Rev. Dr. William Stafford will be visiting professor of church history at CDSP during the 2014-2015 academic year, Academic Dean Ruth Meyers announced today.

Stafford, who taught a course in the English Reformation at CDSP during the fall of 2013, was a professor of church history at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) from 1976-2004, and also served as associate dean for academic affairs there from 1997-2004. He was dean of the School of Theology at University of the South (Sewanee) from 2004 until 2012.

"I am just thrilled to have a chance to be back in the classroom in a concentrated way," said Stafford. "My first calling, my first vocation as a Christian and as a priest is to be a teacher and a learner. As I prepare new classes for students at CDSP, I'm getting a chance to learn and relearn a lot of things. I've missed that badly."

During the fall semester, Stafford will teach a course on the history of the Western church from the second through the fifteenth centuries. In the spring semester, he will teach western church history from the Reformation through the 20th century and a course he developed at VTS and Sewanee called "Classics of the Christian Journey." Students will read Christian spiritual classics by authors including Perpetua, Origen, Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux and Julian of Norwich.

Stafford's time in Berkeley will also allow him to participate in CDSP's Thursday evening Community Night, which includes Eucharist, supper and, periodically, visiting speakers.

"What I really missed when I taught just one course last year was the Eucharistic community," said Stafford. "As a visiting professor, I can spend more time on campus and be more fully engaged in the formation of students and the life they are sharing."

"Having Bill at CDSP next year will be a tremendous boon to our entire community," said Meyers. "We are all eager to welcome him to campus and learn from his deep learning and rich experience in the church."

Stafford, who holds a bachelor's degree from Stanford and an M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. from Yale, anticipates yet another benefit to his time on Holy Hill.

"As a Stanford graduate, I am delighted for the opportunity to be a missionary to Berkeley."

Students interested in studying with Professor Stafford who are not already enrolled in a CDSP degree or certificate program can talk with Dianne Smith, director of enrollment services, via email or at 510-204-0715.

With the Oscar season just behind us, it is striking that two major films of the year "12 Years a Slave" and "Philomena"—challenge us to face the past with spiritual courage so that our histories may be redeemed, rather than forgotten. In a separate story in this issue of our electronic news, Church Divinity School of the Pacific trustee and alumnus, the Rev. Dr. P. Donald White Jr., writes of a familial connection to "12 Years A Slave." I reflect here on "Philomena," in which the lead role, played by Judy Dench, offers a study in contrasting spiritualties. This leaves us with food for thought for the CDSP community, including those of us in leadership who are charged with the seminary's mission of responding to contemporary society with the good news of Jesus Christ.

CDSP Board Member Don White tells his family story about Twelve Years a Slave

Growing up in central Louisiana, the Rev. Dr. P. Donald White, Jr. felt he had a cousin whom he'd never met. His maternal aunt, Sue Eakin, a historian who taught at the Louisiana State University's Alexandria campus, was always talking about someone named Solomon Northup. Five decades later, thanks to the film "Twelve Years a Slave," which garnered Oscar wins on March 3rd for best supporting actress, best adapted screenplay and best picture, much of the country knows who Northup was. Still, relatively few who watched the show or saw the film know that White's aunt was the individual responsible for proving that Northup was a real person and that his story of being a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery had occurred. The Oscar-winning film was based on Northrup's autobiography, "Twelve Years a Slave."

"An important step toward building a strong, sustainable future."

At a two-day meeting that concluded Thursday, CDSP's Board of Trustees voted to lease Shires Hall, the office and classroom building on Ridge Road, and to rent two empty apartments in the student housing building on Virginia St., as the first step in renting all units in that building at market rates.

The board also decided to keep tuition at current rates for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Very Rev. Mark Richardon, president and dean of CDSP called the move, "an important step toward building a strong, sustainable future for CDSP."

February 6, 2014

Dear Friends:

In seminary life, we are called to gather communities of the finest minds and hearts in the church, study and pray together for a time, and then send those we have come to love back out into the world to continue their service to God. Usually, those we send out are our students, but not always.

Today it is my job to tell you that our own Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski will leave us at the end of this academic year to become associate professor of church history at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. All of you who know Dan can understand that I make this announcement with sadness, but also with hope for the opportunity that Dan, Jennifer and their family have been given.

Low-residence Master of Divinity, online Master of Theological Studies in 2014

BERKELEY—Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the only Episcopal Church seminary west of the Rocky Mountains, will offer the master of divinity (MDiv) in a low-residence format and the master of theological studies (MTS) and certificate of theological studies (CTS) online. The new programs will begin in the fall of 2014.

Students in the low-residence MDiv program will study online during the fall and spring semesters and visit Berkeley each January and June for intensive academic work and Christian formation programs. The low-residence MDiv can be completed in as few as four years or as many as six years. CDSP will also continue to offer both degrees and the certificate in their existing on-campus format.

O Dayspring

O Dayspring, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.

What strikes me about the O Antiphons is as christological praise hymns they name Christ with different metaphors of phenomena that impact us.