EDS at Union Newsletter | April 2022

EDS at Union Newsletter | April 2022

Categories: Uncategorized

Dear Friends,

I hope that each of you are enjoying a blessed Lenten Season. This Lent, as EDS at Union students have continued the daily practice of morning prayer and weekly Eucharist, they have also reflected on the challenges of ministry and faith in our world that is filled with too many crucifying realities.

EDS at Union students in both New York and across the country joined in an online weekend course on the writing and thought of Audre Lorde. They read Lorde’s Sister Outsider and engaged with speakers who shared insights into Lorde’s work as well as their personal experiences with her. The energy and passion to learn was palpable even in the online classroom as Lorde’s thought and life as a “Black lesbian feminist” challenged us to recognize how “the power of the erotic within our lives can give us the energy to pursue genuine change within our world.”

One student said that the conversations “stirred my heart and pushed my thinking.” Another simply said, “I am changed.” Indeed, I was moved by the students as they opened themselves to be challenged.

During this Lenten season, EDS at Union students also met with Matthew Desmond to discuss his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. As the students were confronted with the complex realities of poverty and eviction through the stories of people who face these realities, they reflected with Desmond on that faith leaders and the church can play in addressing the eviction crisis in America.

Several of our students spent their Spring Break on a two-day pilgrimage to Centro Franciscano led by the Rev. Gerardo Romo. Centro Francisco is a worshipping congregation in collaboration with Episcopal Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. whose members are primarily indigenous Mexican immigrants working in agriculture. This pilgrimage touched on Franciscan spirituality and its unique approach to building community, worker justice organizing, history around labor and racial injustice in Long Island, and the challenges of ministry in contexts where extreme wealth and extreme poverty share close geographical space.

As you can see, the season of Lent at EDS at Union has been a spiritually reflective and enriching time.  I pray the same for each of you as you journey through this holy season.

God’s Peace,

The Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Ph.D.
Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union
Bill and Judith Moyers Chair in Theology, Union Theological Seminary

On March 10th, EDS at Union welcomed Dr. Matthew Desmond, the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, for the Spring 2022 Community Read Lecture and Interview.  EDS at Union selected his book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City as our Spring 2022 Community Read. This Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Book took us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Following his lecture, he joined in conversation with Dean Kelly Brown Douglas.

On March 12th, Nicole Hanley was ordained to the diaconate at St. John the Divine. Many of her EDS family attended the service and celebrated this beautiful and exciting moment in Deacon Nicole’s life with her. Congratulations Deacon Nicole!

EDS at Union is excited to have welcomed the Rev. Dr. Anderson Jeremiah as Adjunct Professor for Anglican Missions and Social Justice. Anderson Jeremiah holds a Ph.D degree from New College, the University of Edinburgh and is an ordained Anglican Priest. Anderson’s research primarily centers on the study of contemporary Christianity and the socio-cultural implications of the shift of Christianity to the global south. He has many areas of academic expertise, and we encourage you to read more about him here.

On March 18th and 19th, EDS took a small pilgrimage to the North Fork of the East End of Long Island. This pilgrimage centered on the ministry of Centro Franciscano – a worshiping congregation, community gathering space and collaboration with Episcopal Migrant Ministries – whose members are primarily indigenous Mexican immigrants working in agriculture, led by Fr. Gerardo Romo, Bishop’s Vicar for Hispanic Ministries on the East End.  The pilgrimage touched on Franciscan spirituality and its unique approach to building community, worker justice organizing, history around labor and racial injustice in Long Island, and the challenges of ministry in contexts where extreme wealth and extreme poverty share close geographical space.

EDS at Union’s new, non-degree theological education program entitled “Anglicanism and Social Justice” (ASJ) is off to a great start. Over the course of four semesters, the program aims to examine issues of racial justice, gender and sexuality, poverty, and environmental justice from a theological perspective, asking how the church is being called to respond. The two online courses that have already taken place are On Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, taught by Dean Kelly Brown Douglas, and Gospel of Luke, taught by Dr. Jeremy Hultin. In the first, students explored Audre Lorde’s landmark book addressing the intersecting and interactive realities of oppression with special concern with issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Audre Lorde’s work continues to speak to today as a people as we still struggle to create a world where all of God’s people can thrive and be whole. In the second, Hultin led students through the Gospel of Luke, focusing on the themes it sets forth programmatically in Jesus’ inaugural sermon: “good news for the poor”; “release for the captives”; “freedom for the oppressed”; and “the Favorable Year of the Lord.” Students also looked at how Jesus and his followers envisioned the reversal, renewal, and revolution that might usher in the kingdom of God. As the program moves forward, its participants and EDS are excited to continue the program’s mission to look at the histories of Christian biblical interpretation and the Anglican/Episcopal tradition as sites for sanctioning and/or resisting oppression.

On February 10th, EDS at Union celebrated Black History Month and honored the life of Absalom Jones, the first Black Episcopal priest, whose feast day is February 13th. Dean Kelly Brown Douglas hosted a panel discussion, which is available to listen to as a podcast episode or to watch as a video, featuring Bishop Shannon MacVean-Brown, Bishop Kevin Nichols, and Bishop Robert Wright. In the episode, these thoughtful minds discuss the Episcopal Church’s first African American priest, the Rev. Absalom Jones, and his story of resilience, struggle, and powerful witness.

On February 24, Bishop Bonnie Perry from the Diocese of Michigan met with EDS students to introduce herself and for students to learn more about ministry in the Diocese of Michigan. From backpack blessings and food programs to being a founding board member for GROWCommunity, a not for profit dedicated to providing quality, K-12 neighborhood education, Bishop Perry is an example of the kind of work ministers and people in the Episcopal church should be doing to engage with and improve their communities. Students had the chance to ask Bp. Perry about churches in the diocese of Michigan, Bp. Perry’s vision for ministry in that diocese, and her advice for their journeys through seminary and the ordination process.

Honoring Oscar Romero

On March 24th, the Feast Day of Oscar Romero, program staff Miguel Escobar and the Rev. Anna Olson spoke with the Rev. Dr. Julio Torres on Romero’s legacy for the church and world today. The event was centered on the recent book by Julio Torres, Oscar Romero: A Man for Our Times.

Watch the conversation here

A Meeting with American Friends of the Episcopal Church in Sudan

On March 29th, EDS had a lunchtime conversation with Dane Smith, the executive director of American Friends of the Episcopal Church in Sudan (AFRECS), an organization that aims to connect the Episcopal churches in the US and Sudan, and to amplify the voice of Sudanese Christians.

EDS at Union’s Facebook Live series “Just Conversations” with Kelly Brown Douglas explores the racialized inequities intrinsic to our nation and our collective responsibility to create a more just future. These 30-minute conversations featured on the EDS at Union Facebook page will invite activists and religious, political, and thought leaders to discuss their work being champions for justice. Videos are also available on the Union YouTube Page.

  • On January 6th, Dean Douglas spoke with Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, the Co-Chair Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Rev. Theoharis is also the Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice at Union. Watch the conversation here.
  • On January 21st, Dean Douglas spoke with Danté Stewart, writer and speaker on the topics of race, religion, and politics, and author of Shoutin’ in the Fire: An American Epistle. Watch the conversation here. 
  • On January 27, Dean Douglas spoke with the Rev. Sarah Monroe, priest in charge and cofounder of Chaplains on the Harbor. Watch the conversation here.
  • On February 4th, Dean Kelly Brown Douglas had a discussion with Darren Sands, a reporter who has covered race, identity, and politics for The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News. Watch the conversation here. 
  • On February 9th, Dean Douglas spoke with Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, and the Co-Host of the Politics and Polls podcast. Watch the conversation here.

Curate/Assistant Rector (full-time)
All Saints’, East Lansing MI 
All Saints’ is seeking a newly ordained person to serve as Assistant Rector/Curate, to intentionally grow as a priest through the guidance and formation of this Teaching Congregation. The Assistant Rector specifically will lead the parish in its “outward facing” ministries of outreach, social justice, and evangelism/innovation, while serving as pastor, priest, and teacher under the direction of the Rector. Learn more here and here.

Lower School Chaplain (full-time)
National Cathedral School for Girls, Washington, D.C. 
NCS is seeking a school chaplain who is passionate about working with 4th – 6th  grade children to encourage their spiritual exploration and creative growth. Their chaplaincy philosophy is rooted in Episcopal tenets, traditions, and rhythm of the Church year, while attending to and celebrating the diversity of religious expression and values in their community. Serving on a three-person chaplaincy team, the Lower School Chaplain is the primary chaplain for the Lower School (grades 4, 5, & 6), and is responsible for pastoral care, worship, courses in the academic study of religion, and coordinating community service programming. Learn more here.

Assistant Rector (full-time)
Grace Episcopal Church, Alexandria VA
Grace Episcopal Church is looking for an Assistant Rector to join their team. The Assistant Rector will participate in liturgical, pastoral, educational and administrative ministries of the parish. This individual will share with the Rector, as fully as is possible, in all aspects of parish life. Fluent Spanish is preferred but not necessary. Learn more here.

Curate/Associate Rector of Communication (full-time)
Church of the Holy Communion, Memphis TN
The Church of the Holy Communion is seeking a Curate for Communication, a combined role of curate and head of communications. Responsibilities include leading a growing team of communications professionals, developing and implementing a comprehensive communications strategy for the parish which includes annual fundraising, and generating rich content for all of their media channels. Strong writing skills and experience with social media and marketing are important skills for this role. Learn more here.

The Rev. Mary Barber ’21 has been appointed to the Diocese of New York’s Committee for the Election of a New Bishop.

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas ’88 led a 3-day discussion in January with the Brothers of Society of St. John the Evangelist on how the community can play a strong role in responding to climate emergency.  On March 19 she led a free online Lenten retreat, sponsored by the two Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts, on “Reconciliation: Putting a Burden Down.”  She also led a workshop on climate preaching for Creation Justice Ministries on March 24.  She marked turning 70 by having hip replacement surgery, and she looks forward to following the path of life with greater ease!

The Very Rev. Thomas Chesterman ’56 has moved to an assisted living facility, still in Santa Rosa. Meals are prepared for him, instead of cooking for himself, and medications are provided as needed.  He is still sharing in services at True Sunshine in San Francisco via Zoom.  He expects to be providing non-denominational worship where he lives in the near future.

Rev. Dr. Anne Ierardi’s ’85 memoir “Coming Alive” (Shanti Arts Press) charts her spiritual and artistic formation of three decades through feminism, gay liberation, and her quest to integrate her Italian-Catholic background after experiencing a profound call to ordination while attending EDS. She is grateful for the influence of the faculty, especially Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, who made a way “where there was no way.”  Her paintings are also featured in the book and on the cover. Anne and her partner Judy recently celebrated 42 years as a couple and live on Cape Cod.

The Rev. Yein Kim ’14 is joining the clergy staff of Trinity Church Wall Street as Priest for Congregational Life. According to Trinity Wall Street’s website: “Since 2020, Mother Yein has served as Rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church Westwood in Los Angeles. Prior to that, she was a Parish Associate at St. Athanasius Episcopal Church at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in Los Angeles. She is the co-founder of The Gathering — a Space for Asian-American Spirituality, in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and has served as Vice-Chair of the Worship Committee at the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.”

Rev. Dr. Mary J. Korte ’91 celebrated a Renewal of Ministry service with the inspiring Episcopal Bishop of Missouri, Deon Johnson, and the Congregation of Christ Church, Rolla, Missouri on February 26. Rolla is the home of The Science and Technology University (S&T).

Philip Gardner ’68 passed away in October of 2021. He was a lay person who had varied roles in ministry working in communities from Boston to Washington D.C. and  Ithaca, NY. He is survived by his son, Rowan Gardner; his stepson, Dylan Lippincott; and his granddaughter, Luna Soleil Gardner.

Doctor Charles Willie Vert ’04 passed away on January 11th, 2022. He was the first African American Vice President of the House of Deputies from 1970-1974. He resigned when the House of Deputies refused to recognize the ordination of the women ordained in Philadelphia in 1974. He preached at their ordination. He was also a sociologist and published the 1976 groundbreaking book, A New Look at Black Families. He was instrumental in the desegregation of public schools in Boston, and the model he created went on to be implemented in many other school districts. He was given an honorary doctorate from Episcopal Divinity School in 2004. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Sue (Conklin) Willie, daughter Sarah Willie-LeBreton, son Martin Willie, son James Willie. For more information see the obituary on Episcopal News Service or in The New York Times.