Introducing the Dean’s (E)pistle

Bishop Kirk Smith

To the faithful community at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, from Kirk Smith, Interim Dean of the same, greetings!

Thus would begin a letter in New Testament times. The cadence sounds familiar because this is how St Paul begins his letters, his epistles, to those communities of Christians mentioned in the Bible. St Paul knew the value of communications, and even though we now only have a small fraction of his correspondence, we know that he used his letters to address a wide range of issues facing the church, from thorny issues of Christology to more mundane matters of church discipline.

During my time as interim dean, I would like to use digital technology to keep the larger school community informed about happenings at this beloved place. I plan to send to you twice each week an (E)pistle about life on campus. More than just a bulletin board, these (E)pistles will be a chance for me to share with you my thinking on a whole range of topics related to theological education. From time to time, I will also ask other members of the community to be “guest columnists.”

The word “epistle” has ancient roots:

from ἐπιστέλλω (epistéllō, “I send a message”),

from ἐπί (epí, “upon”) + στέλλω (stéllō, “I prepare, send”),

but “epistle” also has modern applications.  I look forward to using this technology to help bind us together in the service of Christ.