Practicing Forgiveness in Challenging Times June 5-9, 2017 In these challenging times of political, social, religious, and interpersonal conflict, practicing forgiveness helps individuals, families, and communities restore broken relationships. This unique five-day, multi-disciplinary study will explore the practice of forgiveness from a variety of Christian theological and psychological perspectives. Our instructors include members of Southwest’s … read more
At Commencement at Harvard University, the minister at the Memorial Church renowned preacher, Peter Gomes, used to tell the graduates this famous bible story:
“As they were being driven out of Eden, and at the east the flaming sword barricaded the tree of life and blocked the way back, Eve turned to Adam and said, ‘My dear, we are entering a time of transition.’”
After years of drought, this year’s winter and spring rains have brought almost unbearable beauty to Austin. I had gotten used to a minimal landscape, the trees calligraphic in their bare-branched simplicity – and then all of a sudden the world was shaggy and colorful and fragrant with blossoms on every branch. When I run in the neighborhood around the seminary, I find my head swiveling to take in a sweet smell or a brilliantly colored sidewalk garden.
In the midst of all this blooming, three of us realized that we had significant ordination anniversaries: Cynthia Kittredge 30 years, Kathleen Russell 25 years, and my 20, all adding up to a stunning 75 years of ordained life. We celebrated the occasion at noon Eucharist in Christ chapel on April 17, by remembering also the courageous women who went before us and made the path that we walk on. You can hear Kathleen’s beautiful sermon here. What follows is the Eucharistic prayer I wrote for the day, inspired both by the physical beauty that surrounds us here and by the beauty of the work that involves us day in and day out at Seminary of the Southwest: forming students to live and lead as Christ in all the contexts to which they are called.
The dirt of Laredo is caked on my boots, a dingy and grey chalk that bears the complexities of the lives of immigrants in this Texas border town, a matter of miles from Mexico.
During Encuentro this January, my classmates and I met two families at Christ Church in Laredo. They are separated from their extended families in Central America or Mexico. They, like many immigrant families on the border, face poverty, often finding only low-paying jobs. They fled the violence and injustice of their homelands, though they are not secure in the US; those who are undocumented – even if they are attempting to get paperwork approved – live in fear of the Border Patrol, deportation and state-sanctioned detention facilities.
Jodi Baron is a Senior MDiv student from the Diocese of Western Michigan. Jodi and her husband Christian graduate from Seminary of the Southwest on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 and will be returning to the Diocese of Western Michigan.
Gathered around the campfire for one of the last times with friends my demeanor is no less joyful but it occurs to me that this is my favorite season of the seminary year. Not because of the good-byes, (those are terrible!) but because of the atmosphere of joy and celebration: Juniors celebrating the accomplishment of completing their first year; Middlers celebrating the accomplishment of not only having two very intense years complete, but finishing one of the most challenging semesters of all; and Seniors, well…WE DID IT!!!!! And we’re all getting amazing placements, ordination dates, houses, reunions with family… it’s all coming together.
And I am grateful.
Reflecting on the last three years causes me to pause and breathe in deeply, the joy and beauty of this place, this MDiv program, and my place in it. It reveals, however, that pesky little thing my Spiritual Director told me would happen if I would but embrace the fact that God delights in me; if I was faithful to living into the God Life no matter where that leads.
The Rev. Glenice Robinson-Como currently serves Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, TX as the Canon Pastor. Ms. Robinson-Como received an MDiv from Southern Methodist University and a Diploma of Theological Studies from Seminary of the Southwest in 2010.
Fifty years ago, the civil rights act was enacted as a means of ending discrimination. Today we stand at its anniversary perhaps pondering the question how much has really changed? As I reflect upon those she-roes and heroes who lived and died for the sake of freedom, I tremble at the same time about events in Florida and throughout the world. These are reminders that we must continue to move forward until the bells of liberty clang loudly and until truth and mercy pours out into all people in all places.
Lecia Brannon is a junior in the Master of Divinity program. Lecia and her husband came to Seminary of the Southwest from Diocese of Camino Real.
Southwest’s Master of Divinity Program requires a January Term course entitled Encuentro: Mission in Latino Contexts. Encuentro or encounter is a keyword to what this course is about, however there is so much more. Over the three weeks of this course our class was presented with people and experiences that will require us to absorb, process and discern. Where might we fit in?
Eight years ago almost to the day, when I was a new interim theology professor at SSW, I stood in this pulpit and preached my very first sermon in Christ Chapel. It was 2 days after we sent George W Bush back to the White House for 4 more years, and 3 or 4 days after the Lambeth Commission released the Windsor Report, giving a theological and ecclesiastical response to the controversies in the Episcopal Church surrounding human sexuality.
Because It Is True
A Commencement Sermon
The Seminary of the Southwest
May 8, 2012