News and Info



June 25, 2018

Dear CDSP community:

On Friday, we concluded this year’s summer intensive program, during which 56 of our students came to campus for two weeks of classes, worship, and formation. This summer session anchors our low-residence MDiv and Certificate of Anglican Studies programs, where students build relationships and spiritual disciplines that they continue all year via online learning and formation.

This year, summer intensive took place as news about the separation of children and parents on our southern border unfolded. This moral crisis in our nation brought fresh urgency to our prayer, liturgy, and theological discussions. Here at CDSP, we find our story as people of faith in the scriptures that tell us of God’s people who were strangers in a strange land. These scriptures command us not only to love and care for those who come among us from outside our borders, but also to repent of our government’s willingness to “sacrifice thousands to an uncertain fate in our self-made altar of protection and safety,” as MDiv student Daniel Pinell ’19 put it in a recent sermon in All Saints Chapel.

Daniel was once himself undocumented. Today he leads prayer vigils at an immigrant detention facility nearby. In his sermon, he went on to say, “Now, to those of us privileged enough to be sitting here without fear of deportation or living in the shadows, it is not my purpose to instill guilt in your hearts. But are we asking the question, Why me, Lord? Why am I so privileged? I hope you look back at history straight in the eye and ask of it the reason of why we stand in privilege while others stand in misery.”

Here in the East Bay, we are every day aware of the blessings that accrue to our communities and our nation from a rich diversity of immigrant communities and congregations. Now is the time for those of us who have the privilege of documented citizenship to acknowledge our privilege and act on behalf of our neighbors, friends, and fellow children of God who find themselves in peril. Here are some actions I hope you will consider:

  • The Rev. Winnie Varghese, director of justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, joined us for intersession as the St. Margaret’s Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry. For those who want to join my office in making financial contributions to support work with immigrants at the border, she recommends RAICES, which provides legal services to immigrants in Texas, and Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley
  • If you are traveling to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, which takes place from July 5-13 in Austin, Texas, I hope you will consider joining CDSP students and staff at a prayer vigil at the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, on Sunday, July 8 at noon. You can learn more online.

Thank you for making CDSP a community that stands with the immigrants and refugees whom Christ has commanded us to love.


The Rev. Dr. W. Mark Richardson
President and Dean

A reception for the first black woman to be elected a diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church, the announcement of a scholarship in her honor, the premiere of two new videos and a lively booth in the Exhibit Hall will highlight CDSP’s participation in the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church to be held in Austin, Texas, July 5-13.

The reception honoring Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows of Indianapolis ’97, will be held on Sunday, July 8, 7-9 p.m., in Crail Hall at St. David’s Episcopal Church at 301 East Eight Street, less than half a mile from the Austin Convention Center.

Baskerville-Burrows was CDSP’s director of alumni/ae and church relations from 2002-2004 before serving in the Dioceses of Central New York and Chicago. She had previously served in the Diocese of Newark. The scholarship that bears her name will benefit black and Native American students.

The Rev. Andrew Hybl CAS ’12, CDSP’s dean of students and a group of staff and student volunteers will be on hand to greet visitors at the seminary’s booth in General Convention’s vast Exhibit Hall. Drop by Booth 911 to say hello, watch new videos about CDSP and learn more about the only Episcopal seminary on the West Coast.

The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, CDSP’s president and dean, will attend convention to meet with Episcopal Church leaders and offer testimony on legislative resolutions that address theological education and the role of seminaries.

The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, an alternate deputy from the Diocese of California, is serving as vice chair of the Special Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation, created in February by the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies. Since 2015, Meyers has served on the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, a group appointed by the presiding officers. It has proposed several resolutions to the convention.

During the triennium, the Rev. Dr. Susanna Singer served as chair of the Task Force on Clergy Leadership in Small Congregations, which has proposed several resolutions that will be considered at the convention.

From May 28-June 1, five CDSP students, President Richardson, the Rev. Lisa Cressman '92, and Bogard Teaching Fellow Tripp Hudgins are at the Roslyn Center in Richmond, Virginia, for the annual Preaching Excellent Program (PEP) sponsored by the Episcopal Preaching Foundation. Richardson serves on the foundation's board.
The PEP program aims to "recruit seminarians with the greatest potential to become the Episcopal Church's next generation of outstanding preachers, and provide the tools, motivation and peer community to accelerate their progress toward this goal."
The Rev. Winnie Varghese, director of justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, will serve as St. Margaret's Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry during the intensive academic term that begins on June 10. 
While she is on campus, Varghese will make guest presentations in several classes and preach and preside in chapel.
Varghese, who blogs at HuffPost, is the former rector of St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery in lower Manhattan. She also served as a chaplain at Columbia University and the University of California at Los Angeles. 
"The theological response to the evil humans can do to one another is to stand on the side of the suffering," she wrote in her book, "Church Meets World." "Liberation movements look for the action of God there among the powerless." 
Varghese, a native of Texas with family roots in the ancient Mar Thoma church of southwest India, has been a board member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and the Episcopal Service Corps. She has served on the church's Executive Council and is a deputy to General Convention. 
On May 18, CDSP welcomed the Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, 18th rector of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, as the preacher at CDSP's 124th commencement. A video of the ceremony is available online; Lupfer's address begins at 20:20.
"Number one: I hope that you will remember through your entire ministry that your only tool for ministry is yourself. ...So the important thing is to focus on self, not others," said Lupfer. "When people ask me 'What should we look for in a priest to come lead our community?' I say, 'Above anything else, make sure that they are self-regulating.'"
Bishop Barry Beisner of Northern California, Christian educator Sally Mancini, a longtime Godly Play teacher and trainer, and Canon Peter Ng, the Episcopal Church's former partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific, received honorary degrees at the ceremony. President Richardson read a letter praising Ng's service from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, mentioning that he had been "unable to attend because he is off doing a favor for the Royal Family."
Thirteen students were awarded the Master of Divinity degree, and six students were granted the Certificate of Anglican Studies or the Certificate of Theological Studies. Dr. Riess Potterveld, retiring president of the Graduate Theological Union, conferred the Ph.D. on Holly Mitchem and Stephen Shaver, who have both been affiliated with CDSP during their studies.
Graduating senior Peter Homeyer '18 of the Diocese of Western Michigan was awarded The Right Rev. Richard Millard Prize for Excellence in Preaching. Michael Sells '18 of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland was awarded The Fran Toy Prize for Multicultural Ministry at a Field Education Site.
The Lawrence Kristin Mikkelsen Preaching Scholarship, an award established by St. John's Episcopal Church in Aptos, California, was awarded to Kathleen Moore '19 of the Diocese of Vermont. The award is given to a CDSP student who has demonstrated outstanding promise as a preacher and a commitment to social justice and human dignity.

The Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, 18th rector of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, will give the address at CDSP's 124th Commencement on May 18, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Chapel of the Great Commission at Pacific School of Religion. The event is open to the public and will be broadcast live online.

The Rev. Dr. William Stafford, visiting professor of church history, will preside at the baccalaureate Eucharist at 5:45 p.m. on May 17 at CDSP's All Saints Chapel.

Lupfer, who joined Trinity in 2015, oversees the church's local and global ministries, including advocacy on issues of racial justice, mass incarceration, and affordable housing and homelessness. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado, an M.Div. from Yale University, and a D.Min. from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

"I'm honored to have been invited to address CDSP's newest graduates, who will be among those leading the church for future generations," said Lupfer. "CDSP is a place that is training leaders well, and I look forward to engaging the graduates in thinking about leadership opportunities in the church and our challenges for the future."

The Very Rev. Mark Richardson, CDSP's president and dean, said, "I am delighted to welcome Bill back to Holy Hill. His wise thinking about leadership and theological education will benefit the entire CDSP community and the church at large, and we're honored that he's chosen to join us."

At the commencement, CDSP expects to award the Master of Divinity degree to thirteen candidates and will also grant certificates to six students who have completed the Certificate of Anglican Studies or the Certificate of Theological Studies.

In January, CDSP faculty and administrators undertook a two-day training to strengthen their ability to work in intercultural settings. Using a tool called the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), they assessed their own intercultural competence and developed goals and plans for building intercultural skills.

Now, thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, the work will continue during the 2018-2019 academic year.

The next phase of the project will include more faculty training and development and an August workshop at which faculty will explore ways to increase intercultural competence across disciplines.

"The purpose of increasing intercultural competence among the faculty is to improve our ability to understand, navigate, and bridge cultural differences, so that we can better prepare students for ministry in culturally diverse communities," said Academic Dean Ruth Meyers. "In addition to continuing faculty training in intercultural competence, this grant will help us identify specific changes to our course design and teaching that will have a significant impact on intercultural competence in the classroom."