In spite of the air conditioning working overtime in Christ Chapel, I was sweating. It was August in Texas and I was wearing a suit, but I wasn’t sweating for those reasons. I was sweating because I was anxious. I wasn’t sure if I would fit in at the Seminary of the Southwest. I wasn’t sure if I would fit in anywhere. I felt this way ever since I left the Army about a year before.
Tonight we gather to welcome newcomers into our midst, to offer them membership in this community, to cast our gaze over the year that is ahead of us, and to remind ourselves of what we do and why we do it.
So first, a warm welcome to our students and families, to faculty, staff, and board members as we begin a new academic year. Welcome especially to our new students, who embark today on a journey of learning and formation. Welcome also to Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, our new faculty member, who embarks on his own journey with a new community of colleagues, students, and friends. Welcome to Irit Umani, whose remarkable journey we celebrate this evening.
As I was preparing for this event I made a typo in an email, referring to this evening as “ma-tribulation” rather than “matriculation.” I assume this newly coined word was some mash-up of “my tribulation” or, perhaps, “more tribulation”—and, though Freud might think otherwise, I am convinced that my typo is no harbinger of apocalyptic doom. Exam anxiety, workload worries, relationship drama, soul-searching—yes; but all-things-coming-to-an-end kind of suffering—very unlikely.
Christ Chapel, Seminary of the Southwest September 8, 2013
Posted by: T.J. Freeman, Middler MDiv
Thinking back to the Seminary of the Southwest Matriculation Eucharist and dinner last year brings a smile to my face. I do not remember a word from the sermon. I am rather certain that Dean Travis preached, but that is a guess at best.