23 December 2008

End of year commentary from Dean Markham of Virginia Theological Seminary

End of year commentary from Dean Ian Markham of Virginia Theological Seminary. Read the Dean's Commentary HERE

~ Rev. Peter M. Carey


The Commentary is not written when the Seminary is closed. So this is the last day for the Commentary until January 2 2009. As 2008 comes to a close with the annual celebration of Christmastide, it is worth pausing to reflect on this year.

Much has been accomplished. The Strategic Planning Process came to a culmination with the Board’s adoption of a four year plan at the November board meeting. Thanks to the hard work of the maintenance team, the Seminary was a winner of the Alexandria Beautification Award. William Roberts, David Gortner and Jonathan Gray joined the Faculty, while George Kroupa and Ed Hall moved on. Three Foundations supported the Seminary with significant grants – the Henry Luce Foundation provided the Center for Anglican Communion Studies with a grant for ‘Interreligious’ work, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation provided funding for our work in the area of Ethnic Ministries, while the Lilly Endowment provided the start up funds for the Second Three years program. Virginia Theological Seminary was the only Seminary in the Anglican Communion with a booth at the Lambeth Conference of 2008, beautifully captured in the Fall issue of the Journal. Over 250 people came to our dinner, which was held there. Meriwether Godsey served countless outstanding meals in the Refectory and at the Deanery. Kathy Grieb continued her hard work on the Covenant for the Anglican Communion. Stephen Cook and Joyce Mercer both published important books. And of course, lots of students graduated and many more arrived.

We enter 2009 with some concerns. The dramatic fall in the value of the Seminary’s endowment will need some careful management. The Episcopal Church continues to face the challenges of disagreement both internally and across the Communion. All of this will make 2009 a testing time.

Yet Christmas is almost upon us. The Christchild is here: once again we remember the disclosure of divine love in a baby in a manager. For this moment, we give thanks. And we offer to God our worries, trusting that God’s grace is sufficient for every challenge the Seminary will have to face.

The Very Rev Ian Markham
Dean and President

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