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April 30, 2018

Dear Friends and Alumni/Alumnae of CDSP,

A Blessed Eastertide to all of you! I hope this season, in which we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus has been, and continues to be, a memorable and joyous time in your lives.

I am enclosing a remarkable and thought-provoking reflection from the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, our dean and president, that I hope will inspire you to be generous to our Eastertide Appeal. Mark has a gift for articulating why CDSP’s mission is more relevant and more important than it has even been. Your generosity will palpably assist CDSP in living into that mission, as we create leaders of our beloved Church.

I entreat you: please make your generosity equivalent to the joy in your heart this season.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

I am, your faithful servant,

The Rev. P. Donald White ’91
Chair of the Board of Trustees


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Taking holy risks

December 30, 2017

For CDSP students, the holy season of Christmas is also the longed-for season of winter break. We put them through their paces during the fall semester, and they deserve a chance to catch their breaths. While they enjoy a respite, I'd like to ask you to support them and their seminary by making a gift to our Christmas Appeal.

CDSP students are training for ministry in a church undergoing rapid change. We are preparing them to take risks, to create new ministries, to work on the margins if that is where they are called. But unconventional ministries may be out of reach to students who graduate deeply in debt. The good news is that you can free our students to be innovators. 

Your contribution to the Christmas Appeal will help us to provide generous financial aid packages to well-deserving students. And that not only helps us compete with other seminaries for top-notch students, it also allows those students to undertake the ministries that the church most needs, rather than taking the jobs that will help them put the biggest dent in their student loans. Please help this new generation of innovators by making a gift to our Christmas Appeal.

And from everyone at CDSP, best wishes for a happy new year.


The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson
Dean and President

P.S. One of the best ways to follow life at CDSP is through our student-run Instagram account.

Photo: Bishop's Scholar Phil Hooper '19 and Excellence in Ministry Scholar Kathleen Moore '19 prepare for Eucharist in All Saints' Chapel. Photo by Excellence in Ministry Scholar Mia Benjamin '19.

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Help us train a generation of pastors, peacemakers and advocates.

December 15, 2017

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who came into the world as a vulnerable child in an occupied country, I imagine that you, like many of our alumni and friends, are considering how you will support the needy, the neglected and the oppressed. Because of your generous support, CDSP is increasingly able to train leaders to serve the people and populations our society ignores. You can help CDSP fulfill its mission with a gift to our Christmas Appeal.

The years in which seminaries could concentrate exclusively on preparing priests and lay leaders for parish life are over. Today’s leaders must be pastors and spiritual guides, but they also must be prepared to lead communities confronting the most divisive issues of our precarious time.

At CDSP, we have strengthened our rigorous curriculum to prepare students for these challenges. While focusing on the core Christian concepts of mission, discipleship and evangelism, students are also taught the core leadership skills of contextual awareness, critical reflection and public conversation. Our students prepare for ministry in a pluralistic culture by training in the ecumenical and interfaith environment of the Graduate Theological Union.

In addition to the traditional classes that prepare students for ministry, they are also required to complete a course in community organizing that equips them not only to lead a congregation, but also to work for justice. When they leave, they are ready to be pastors, to be peacemakers and to amplify the voices of those who are too often unheard.

The Word, as John tells us, became flesh and dwelt among us. We serve a God who became incarnate as child and was vulnerable to the violent whims of Herod and Pilate. And that God calls us to work for healing and for justice. We are counting on you to continue to support our unwavering pledge to educate and form leaders for this holy work — please make your gift today.
May the light that shines in darkness light your way this Advent, and may you celebrate a blessed Christmas.


The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson
Dean and President


If someone in your life is considering attending seminary, invite them to SeeCDSP and discover how we are preparing leaders for the church of the 21st century. Campus visits are January 31-February 2; February 28-March 2 and March 14-16. More information at:

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Priest Bishop with lost sheep. Credit Carol Waller

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December 7, 2017

"With CDSP, I know we can get what we need."

Sometimes, reading through Crossings, our twice-yearly magazine, I come across something that delights me. In the most recent issue, Bishop Gretchen Rehberg of the Diocese of Spokane says:

"We can't say one size fits all in the West. With CDSP, I know we can get what we need. I feel like the CDSP faculty and staff are responsive. I sometimes hear that seminaries aren't listening to us, I never felt like that when I called up CDSP."

I am grateful for this affirmation of our approach to preparing Christian leaders for ministry, and, as we wrap up both the fall semester and our fall fundraising appeal, I hope you will support us by making a generous gift.

Through its new curriculum, CDSP is forming students in the core Christian concepts of mission, discipleship and evangelism. Through innovative programs such as our low-residency Master of Divinity degree and the local formation partnerships we've nurtured through the Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL), we're making advanced theological education available to scores of current and future leaders who would have no access to it otherwise.

"Formation needs are different than they were even 10 years ago," another bishop told us recently. "They are working hard on that. They are working hard to meet the needs of 21st century church."

I hope you agree, and ask you to support us with a gift to the fall appeal.,

The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson
Dean and President

P.S. Read Crossings to learn how CDSP is shaping leaders for the church that is being born all around us.

Photo: Bishop Brian Thom of Idaho '87, pictured here at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Ketchum, knows all about adapting his ministry to meet the changing needs of the church. Photo credit: Carol Waller.

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rally against hate for web

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October 11, 2017

You are helping CDSP to shape leaders for challenging times.

We live in a culture that increasingly rejects dogma and rigidity, yet hungers for ancient spiritual wisdom. We live in a world that is deeply divided, yet many of the most contentious issues that confront us are grounded in impassioned arguments about what God requires of us, both in our politics and in our personal conduct.

At CDSP we are shaping students who will lead Christian communities in worship, service, education and advocacy during these intensely challenging times. These students and this seminary have never needed the encouragement of Episcopalians like you more than we do now. I hope you show your support by making a gift to our annual fund.

In these times of great uncertainty, CDSP and other seminaries must ground students so firmly in the ageless wisdom of our Christian faith that they have roots deep enough to withstand the many storms that will blow through the culture and the church in the years ahead. Yet, we must simultaneously train them to be adaptive and supple in leading their communities in responding to these challenges.

I believe that CDSP’s renewed emphasis on the core Christian concepts of mission, discipleship and evangelism, complemented by required community organizing training, equips our students to stand firmly in matters of faith while deftly navigating the evermore complex moral challenges of our age.

Here in Berkeley, these challenges present themselves regularly. On the day before our residential students began fall classes, white supremacists held a rally several miles from campus. In response, many of our students, faculty and staff attended a workshop on non-violent resistance and then participated in a counter demonstration, the Rally Against Hate. I was proud of their disciplined, gospel-centered response and the moving and insightful ways in which so many of them spoke of their experiences.

These are aspiring leaders of whom we can be proud, and I hope that as a person of faith you will continue to support them in your prayers, through your relationships with other friends and alumni of the seminary, and through your contributions to our annual fund.


The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson
Dean and President

P.S.  Follow CDSP on Facebook at fans to see photos of our participation in Berkeley’s recent Rally Against Hate.

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When students can't come to the seminary, we bring the seminary to them.

June 9, 2017 

Dear Friends,

If you’ve spent any time on our campus in the Berkeley hills, you know what a beautiful and inspiring place it is. But did you know that CDSP is also at work in Nevada, Minnesota, Washington, D. C. and elsewhere through innovative diocesan partnerships?

These partnerships are one of the ways that CDSP is responding to the needs of the contemporary church, and we are counting on you to support our efforts to make sure that everyone who is called to lead a Christian community receives a top-notch theological education.

As someone with an interest in the life of the church, you may be aware that many dioceses are unable to send all their candidates for the priesthood or the diaconate to a residential seminary. Our low residency degree and certificate programs have allowed us to reach 41 new students who have jobs or families they cannot leave.

But some Christian leaders can’t come to us at all. So we go to them.

Through our Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL) we are providing excellent online courses, many of them tailored to the specific needs of our diocesan partners, and all of them taught by experienced online instructors, to complement local formation efforts in dioceses across the church. The response has been gratifying.

“CDSP has demonstrated a willingness to think outside the box and innovate new programs, trusting that the Holy Spirit is guiding these changes,” says the Rev. Susan Daughtry, missioner for formation for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.

Forward-looking initiatives such as CALL and our diocesan partnerships require the support of forward-looking donors like you. Innovation grounded in tradition is essential to the future of what Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who was this year’s commencement speaker, refers to as “the Jesus movement.”


The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, Ph.D.
Dean and President

P.S. You can watch the presiding bishop’s rousing CDSP commencement address here. Will you support the Jesus movement by making a generous contribution to the CDSP annual fund?

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What does the beating heart of a seminary look like?

May 25, 2017 

Dear Friends,

CDSP is proud of the leading role it has long played in the liturgical life of the Episcopal Church, and I am especially excited by the renewed sense of energy and purpose emanating from All Saints Chapel this year. Students are learning to create and celebrate liturgies that are vital, inspiring and firmly grounded in the fundamental teachings of our faith. But the chapel is more than just the place where postulants learn the liturgical arts. It is also the place where students, faculty and staff are most aware of the people who came before them, and those who sustain them in their vocations both spiritually and financially.

CDSP has been teaching students to celebrate the rites of the Episcopal Church since 1893, but despite the passage of time, alumni and friends of any generation could visit the chapel and feel a deep and immediate connection to the students of today. All Saints is where we come together to worship. It is where we hold one another up to God in prayer. And, semester after semester, it is where we undertake the great challenge of articulating a living faith through ancient rites to the Christians, seekers and skeptics we meet every day.

Liturgy, we often say, is “the work of the people.” So too is the work of preparing students to lead their communities in prayer. And it is a source of comfort and strength to know that, due to your support, we are not alone in this work. We rely on both the wisdom and the generosity of those who came before us and those who accompany us now.

With your generous support today All Saints Chapel will continue to be a sacred place where seminarians learn the liturgical arts and where our community comes together to form leaders for the church of the future.


The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, Ph.D.
Dean and President

P.S. To keep up with life at the chapel and read student sermons, follow the chapel on Facebook at:

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In this season of Easter, we are preparing leaders for a new Pentecost.

April 20, 2017 

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter! In the past few months, we have all been reminded that Christians are called to carry our faith into the broader culture, engaging in the unavoidable public debates that are shaping the society in which we live and minister. CDSP is committed to training clergy and lay leaders to respond to this call, and I invite  you to  support our efforts.

We’ve thought hard in recent years about the skills our students will need to lead Christian communities in our deeply polarized country, and concluded that there is no substitute for a firm grounding in the core competencies of mission, discipleship and evangelism. We’ve also instituted a mandatory course in community organizing that is sparking intense conversations among our students about how challenging it is to be both a pastor and an advocate, a healing presence and a strong leader.

I feel humbled to lead a seminary in which these deep, rich and profoundly hopeful conversations are taking place, and I am grateful to you for making them possible. Your generosity allows us to make scholarship offers that draw many new top-notch students to CDSP. It encourages us to be bold in offering courses that prepare our students to enter confidently into communities. And it knits together our community, as alumni and friends support today’s students, staff and faculty in carrying on the always changing work of preparing Christians for ministry.

Reflecting on community organizing, one of our students wrote: “I believe we need to learn to lead people out of our buildings, creating effective partnerships with our local area institutions that also care about the issues of justice that we are called to consider:  feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoner, caring for widows and orphans, healing the hurting and relieving the oppressed.”

This is work we are all called to do. At CDSP, our mission is to educate and empower those who will lead us in doing it. We can only do that with your help.

Easter blessings, and thank you for your generosity.

The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, Ph.D.
Dean and President

P.S. To learn more about our new curriculum and its focus on mission, discipleship and evangelism, read “Fresh Polish on Ancient Touchstones” from a recent issue of Crossings, the CDSP Magazine at