This past November 7-9, the 52nd annual Blandy Lectures and Alumni Convocation gathered on the campus of Seminary of the Southwest. Alongside its trademark programming and lectures, Blandy presented alumni, students, faculty, and friends of the seminary the opportunity to reconnect through worship, fun, and fellowship.
The Blandy events were a tremendous success! Anchored by profound lectures by Dr. Warren Kinghorn and enhanced by rich continuing ed offerings by our faculty, Blandy brought together alums, current students, and the Austin and Central Texas community on our campus. The exuberance of hymn singing, the jazz eucharist, and Soul in the City was matched by the spirit-energized effort of the Southwest Thuribles at the Polity Bowl. “I am grateful to all who made the events hospitable and joyful,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president.
With this focus on reconnecting with classmates and connecting with current students, attendees activities included two worship service in Christ Chapel, a fun Friday night dinner, and the chance to cheer on the ThuriBulls at the annual Polity Bowl.
Thursday’s first continuing education session featured The Rev. Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski and Rabbi Neil Blumofe presenting on Undoing Anti-Judaism in the Liturgy. Following an alumni-led Holy Eucharist that evening, the Rev. Canon Lisa Hines was presented with the Hal Brook Perry Award, which is conferred upon a graduate of Seminary of the Southwest who exemplifies exceptional ministry to parishes, dioceses, and/or specific communities or ministries – locally, regional, or worldwide.
Following this presentation and dinner, Dr. Warren Kinghorn from Duke University gave the keynote lecture, Walking with Veterans After War: Combat Trauma, Moral Injury, and the Journey Home. Combined with Friday’s lecture, From Control to Wonder: Action, Contemplation, and Modern Mental Health Care, Dr. Kinghorn’s lectures highlighted the importance of spirituality in mental health care practices.
After a lively Holy Eucharist featuring jazz performed by Southwest students and staff, the Counseling Faculty gave a standalone ‘lunch and learn’ titled New Telemental Health Practices: Ethics, Rules and Clinical Considerations.
Another highlight of the convocation was a gathering at the Posse, led by Stephen Kinney, called ‘Friends and Hymns’ – where students and alums gathered to sing hymns and other songs at the popular gathering spot.
The day was wrapped up with a festive pep rally for the ThuriBulls ahead of the Polity Bowl, followed by a fajita dinner and live music from Austin’s own Wendy Collona and her A-list Band.
While the ThuriBulls fell short in the Polity Bowl, the fellowship, as well as the loud and generous support of alums at the game wrapped up the wonderful gathering with true Southwest spirit.