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Tamra Tucker is an explorer.

When she was an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma she’d occasionally just drop into her car and go for a ride, ending up in Florida or Minnesota, or Boston, which she had always admired from a far.

In August, Tucker will begin to explore Berkeley when she takes up residence at CDSP. She has been awarded her one of the seminary’s two coveted Excellence in Ministry scholarships, which include full tuition and a $1,000 stipend.

Thanks to alumni and donors who have contributed to funds through estate plans and endowed gifts, CDSP has expanded its range of scholarships and financial aid for the 2015-2016 academic year.

“I think right now CDSP is the most stable and life-giving community that there is,” says Tucker, who will soon be a postulant for Holy Orders from the Diocese of Massachusetts, and serves as the operations manager at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston’s Back Bay.

The admiration is mutual. “Over the years, CDSP has been fortunate to welcome excellent students from the Diocese of Massachusetts,” says the Rev. Andrew Hybl, CDSP’s director of admissions. “Tamra's energy and passion for ministry are palpable. I believe the gifts for ministry that she brings will be expanded during her time at CDSP, which will prepare her to excel in any ministry setting."

Tucker grew up in Oklahoma, a diocese that she says had a strong youth ministry program. “We were all close,” she says of participants in the program. “And our camps and chaplains were encouraging of asking difficult questions about our faith. That led many of us to discernment for the ministry.”

As an undergraduate, Tucker sang in the choir and worked as an intern at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norman, where CDSP alumna the Rev. Twila Smith (MDiv ’14) was a lay member of the parish staff.

“I learned a lot from her about ‘finding the gap’—figuring out what services were missing in a community and then figuring out whether the church could help to provide them,” Tucker says of Smith.

Smith, now a missioner at Church of the Mediator in Allentown, Pennsylvania, says the “stirrings toward ordained ministry” were apparent in Tucker during her undergraduate years. “You don’t have to be around Tamra long to hear and see her love of God and love of the church, and her dedication to both seem to grow with each passing year,” Smith says.

After college, Tucker moved to Boston—which she “fell in love with” on one of her impromptu road trips—to participate in Life Together, a part of a national network of intentional communities for young adults called Episcopal Service Corps.

Tucker and the other interns in the “relational evangelism” branch of the program received training in community organizing and were sent out to talk with people about their needs and hopes, and to help organize the community to bring about political change. The work was not easy, Tucker says. “But I like struggle. I like working things through and going the hard way, so I enjoyed it.”

When the program ended, she found a series of jobs that allowed her to remain in Boston, and began worshiping with The Crossing, a community that convened at St. Paul’s Cathedral. “I was a co-convener, which is their version of a vestry, and was part of the leadership of the worship circle,” she says. “I loved discussing liturgical design. We’d form partnerships with churches that wanted a fresher expression of worship and work with them.”

Eighteen months ago, she began working at Emmanuel, a church that is a popular venue for concerts, weddings, 12-step meetings, and other kinds of events that keep an operations manager busy. As she made her way through the discernment process, her thoughts turned to CDSP.

“I’ve had a list of seminaries in my head for ten years since I first started to think about becoming a priest when I was 18,” she says. “And I’ve come to realize that the thing I yearned for most was a different atmosphere, a different environment than what I had been serving in, or what I had grown up in. I needed to experience as much as possible before I settle in one place.”

She’s also eager to study with CDSP’s partner schools in the Graduate Theological Union. “I like going to the source of things,” she says. “I can imagine studying at a rabbinical institute for Hebrew, studying preaching with Baptists. Even if I put my own Anglican spin on it, I can see what it is like to get that cultural perspective.”

Tucker says she is drawn to prison ministry and working among the homeless, but adds, “I think I would really love and be challenged by parish ministry. To commit your family and your life to an already-formed community, and then to be charged with leading that community in some direction, I think that is a challenge I would find very enlivening.”

Author James Carroll will give the address at CDSP’s 121st Commencement on May 22, 2015 at 10:30 am in the St. Margaret’s Courtyard. The event is open to the public and will be broadcast live online at

Carroll, who will be awarded an honorary doctorate, is the author of 11 novels and eight works of non-fiction and is a regular columnist for The Boston Globe. In a profile for the Spring 2015 issue of Crossings, CDSP's magazine, he said, "All of my work has been preoccupied with trying to reconcile the relationship between the Christian religion and...grotesque outbreaks of violence, especially anti-Semitism."

At the ceremony, CDSP will award the Master of Divinity degree to 15 candidates and will also grant the Master of Theological Studies and Doctor of Ministry degrees, the Master of Arts degree in cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union, and the Certificate of Anglican Studies.

The Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, bishop of Utah, and the Rt. Rev. Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan of North Carolina, will receive the honorary Doctor of Divinity at the ceremony.

Hayashi, who was elected bishop of Utah in 2010, is known as an advocate for health care, immigration reform, and respect for other faith traditions. Before becoming bishop, he was canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Chicago for five years and served parishes in Washington, Utah and California. Hayashi, who converted to Christianity at age 15, earned a certificate of studies from CDSP in 1984, an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Washington.

Hodges-Copple, who was elected bishop suffragan of North Carolina in 2013, is a 1984 graduate of the Pacific School of Religion, one of CDSP’s partners in the Graduate Theological Union. Her MDiv studies included coursework at CDSP. Prior to seminary, Hodges-Copple was a community organizer. Since ordination, she has served congregations in the Diocese of North Carolina and as Episcopal chaplain to Duke University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in public policy in 1979.

Priority for parking in the CDSP lot will be given to our honorees and those who require special access. Some parking may be available on the morning of the event, but please leave extra time to find street parking.

Dear Friends:

Grau Marion II thumbBefore you all take a well-deserved break next week, I want to let you know that Professor Marion Grau has accepted the positions of professor of systematic theology and missiology at the Norwegian School of Theology and editor of the Norwegian Journal of Missiology beginning this fall.

Marion’s impressive research, which includes three books and numerous journal articles, has made substantial contributions to her field and the wider church’s understanding of systematic and constructive theology. You may know that, for the last several years, Marion has been conducting research on pilgrimage sponsored by the Norwegian Research Foundation’s Ritual and Democracy Project. Her new position will make it possible both to return to Europe full-time and to extend this important new academic work and the relationships that have developed from it. While I will be sorry to say goodbye to Marion, who has been at CDSP for fourteen years, I hope you will all join me in congratulating her on this prestigious new position.

Between now and the end of the spring semester in May, we will find opportunities to celebrate Marion’s time with us. Most immediately, I hope that you will plan to attend, in person or online, the forum on her new book, “Refiguring Theological Hermeneutics:  Hermes, Trickster, Fool,” tomorrow evening at 7:45 pm. More information is available on the website.

MacDougall headshot thumbI am glad to announce that Scott MacDougall will join us for the 2015-2016 academic year as visiting assistant professor of theology. Scott, whose MA thesis I directed at General Theological Seminary in 2007, holds a PhD in theology from Fordham University and has taught there as a teaching fellow since 2010. In addition to his first-rate academic career, Scott is also an experienced grants manager who has worked for the Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and other New York-based non-profit organizations. While Scott joins us in Berkeley, his husband, Michael Angelo, will remain in New York, where he is the founder and creative director of the prestigious salon Wonderland, and will visit us during the year.


The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson
Dean and President

Iain Stanford is the new Giving Tuesday Scholar at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Dean and President W. Mark Richardson announced on Tuesday.

Stanford, a postulant to the priesthood from the Diocese of Oregon, earned a master of divinity from the University of Notre Dame, a master of theology from Harvard Divinity School and has completed coursework for doctorate of theology at Harvard. At CDSP, Stanford is enrolled in the Certificate of Anglican Studies program and will work on his dissertation.

The new Giving Tuesday scholarship, one of several new scholarships that CDSP offers for 2015-2016, was made possible by CDSP donors who participated in Giving Tuesday, an initiative that encourages people to give online on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. In 2014, CDSP’s Giving Tuesday raised more than $10,000.

“When we initiated Giving Tuesday at CDSP, an idea originating with [CDSP’s development director] Patrick Delahunt, we had no idea what to expect,” said Richardson. “It is exciting to know that the generosity of those who responded will have this kind of impact on a student's life. We’re delighted to welcome Iain to CDSP, and grateful for the generosity of the donors who made our new Giving Tuesday scholarship possible. This is just one of several new scholarships now available from CDSP, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of alumni and donors who have contributed to funds through estate plans and endowed gifts.”

Other new CDSP scholarship opportunities include the full-tuition Bishop’s Scholarships, which are given on the nomination of students’ diocesan bishops; the Presidential Scholarship, which includes tuition, room and board, meal plan and books for an exceptional leader age 35 or under; and Excellence in Ministry scholarships that include full tuition and a stipend.

For his part, Stanford is thrilled to be in Berkeley. “One of the opportunities of being a student at CDSP is I get to go and experience different communities in the area. It’s a chance for me to get to know what’s available on the West Coast.  I have an ability and opportunity just to experience the breadth of what the Episcopal Church can be.”

To learn more about scholarship and financial aid opportunities at CDSP, contact the Rev. Andrew Hybl ’12 at 510-204-0715 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

February 25, 2015—The Rev. Bob Rybicki has joined Church Divinity School of the Pacific as director of operations and personnel management, a new position.

Rybicki is the former vice president for programs and services of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and has served as CEO of several large Bay Area nonprofits. Formerly a Roman Catholic priest who served urban congregations, Rybicki was recently received into the Episcopal Church as a priest. He holds a bachelor of arts from Loyola University in Chicago, a master of divinity from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, and a master of arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“In the midst of transitions that are strengthening CDSP and our capacity to fulfill our mission, the board of trustees and I determined the need to separate leadership of operations and personnel management from leadership over finance,” said CDSP President Mark Richardson. “Bob brings great talent and a richness of executive-level experience to this new role. Those who know him well consistently say the same things:  He is humble, he is a relationship-builder, and he is keenly focused on the goals set before him.”

Rybicki said, “It is an honor for me to be part of such a prestigious seminary. I am very excited by the new directions that CDSP is undertaking as it prepares the future leaders of the Episcopal Church to assume their place in the community. The Spirit is clearly influencing this process at CDSP and I believe our students will be effective heralds as they go out to proclaim and give witness to the Kingdom.

Rybicki, who works Mondays-Thursdays, can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 510-204-0725.

James Carroll, an author whose works include “Christ Actually” and “Constantine’s Sword”, will be the principal speaker at CDSP’s commencement on Friday, May 22.

Carroll, who has written eleven novels and eight works of non-fiction, is a distinguished scholar in residence at Suffolk University and a columnist for The Boston Globe. He has won the National Book Award for “An American Requiem” and the Pen Galbraith Award for “House of War”.

“All of my work has been preoccupied with trying to reconcile the relationship between the Christian religion and ... grotesque outbreaks of violence, especially anti-Semitism,” says Carroll, who has been a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at the Harvard Divinity School.  

In “Christ Actually”, Carroll argues that the Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima are evidence that humankind is capable of self-extinction. “I am recruiting a new understanding of Jesus as one mode of securing that future,” he says. “If we go on thinking of Jesus the way we have, it makes our suicide more likely.”

The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, CDSP’s dean and president, met Carroll when the author spoke on two occasions at the Trinity Institute at Trinity Wall Street in New York City, when Richardson served as moderator of the institute’s conferences and senior theological advisor to the church.

“Each time, the seriousness with which he reflected on the topics at hand, the creativity and the depth of his reflection left a mark on all who participated,” Richardson said. “The seriousness of his faith commitment is so clear, as well as his willingness to let go when we uncover falsehood and insincerity.

“His most recent writing on Christ for our day is a demonstration of his commitment to truth seeking as a high Christian virtue. How do Christians face the aftermath of the Holocaust? What conversions and reexaminations are necessary in light of world conditions, and how is Christ good news in these conditions? James is not afraid of humble self-examination and cultural examination in the face of these questions.”

Carroll most recent novel is “Warburg in Rome,” a historical thriller set in post -war Rome.

More details about CDSP’s commencement will be available at this spring.

This spring, CDSP will convene several gatherings of alums and friends across California. At these gatherings, you'll have a chance to meet other CDSP alums, hear more about what's happening on campus, and learn from Dean Richardson and other Episcopal Church leaders more about how CDSP is preparing students to lead Christ-centered communities in our changing world. To learn more and make plans to join us, please talk with the Rev. Laurel Johnston, director of alumni affairs & major gift officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 510-204-0740.

Sacramento,  March 5:  The Very Rev. Mark Richardson & the Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner, bishop, Diocese of Northern California and CDSP trustee

Los Angeles, March 19:  The Very Rev. Mark Richardson & the Rev. Ed Bacon, Rector, All Saints Pasadena

Santa Barbara, March 20:  The Very Rev. Mark Richardson

San Jose, April 30: The Very Rev. Mark Richardson & the Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, bishop, Diocese of El Camino Real and CDSP trustee