On Monday, March 25, Seminary of the Southwest welcomed the Rev. John Floberg, supervising priest for three Episcopal congregations at Standing Rock Sioux Nation, to give the 2019 Harvey Lecture.
Floberg gave a personal account of his experiences leading The Episcopal Church’s support efforts for water protectors at Standing Rock in November 2016, organizing a national call to serve that drew more than 500 interfaith clergy and lay ministers — including seven Southwest students — to the reservation.
“The students chose Fr. John Floberg to be this year’s Harvey Lecturer because of his unique ministry context and his existing relationship with students here on campus,” said the Rev. Camie Dewey, senior and chair of the Harvey Lecture Committee. “His faithful witness to the sacred land and people of Standing Rock caught the attention of the Episcopal Church, and his dedication to Stand With Standing Rock during the peaceful protest at Backwater Bridge in 2016 made waves across the church and the nation, causing others to rise up and stand in solidarity. John has been Standing With Standing Rock since 1991, and his life’s work has remained steadily with and for the people on the reservation. We here at Seminary of the Southwest were blessed by his presence and his message.”
In addition to the lecture, Floberg delivered a sermon in Christ Chapel to the greater Southwest community. “John Floberg’s presence, preaching, and lecture were a blessing to us. He embodied personal holiness. He modeled steadiness in pastoral ministry and prophetic courage. I was very moved by his deep connection with our students who had witnessed at Standing Rock even on the night of the water cannons,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President.
The Harvey Lectures were established at Seminary of the Southwest as a way of honoring the late Dean Harvey, who died unexpectedly in 1972, after serving as the seminary’s Dean for just 5 years. The seminary community established the annual series, mandating that it would be overseen by student leaders, and that would address the relationship between pastoral leadership and contemporary issues confronting the church.