To Train the Trainers

I am delighted to inaugurate this monthly column as a permanent feature of our new Bexley Seabury website. I hope you will take a moment to explore the various new features of the site, especially our new course offerings, the bios of our combined faculty and our new and continuing Board members, the photographs and personal stories, and the description of the daily worship and the disciplines of formation that mark our common life in Christ.

One of the features of our common life in both Columbus and Chicago that I find most meaningful is the longstanding Seabury tradition, now shared by Bexley, of praying in weekly rotation for each of our alumni by name. Leadership in the church, especially in these difficult times, is a lonely vocation. It is a privilege to pray for every graduate in the course of the academic year. That kind of intercessory prayer—a sign of our solidarity with all who are in ministry—is integral to our seminaries’ historic identities. This round of intercessory prayer affirms that we are all in this together.

It was in that spirit of solidarity that last week our newly united board of directors unanimously adopted a vision and mission statement for our new federation. The two statements are now a permanent feature of this website, and can be accessed under the “About” tab on the home page. The two statements read as follows:

Our vision: Bexley Seabury is called to be a 21st century seminary beyond walls – open to all who seek to deepen their Christian formation in a generous spiritual and intellectual tradition.

Our mission: As an Episcopal center for learning and discipleship at the crossroads of the nation, the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Seminary Federation forms lay and clergy leaders to proclaim God’s mission in the world, creating new networks of Christian formation, entrepreneurial leadership and bold inquiry in the service of the Gospel.

Even—-especially-—as we face continued structural change and diminished resources in our mainstream churches, we believe that our new federation is called to be generous, not anxious, in its Christian witness to the world. We are committed to sharing a global Anglican tradition of wisdom and learning, broken open and available to all. Our aim is to empower people to replicate the kind of teaching and learning that they have experienced in our courses—in their own congregations, dioceses, and places of daily work and ministry.

We seek, in short, to train the trainers—to teach the teachers of the next generation of faithful Christians. Our aim is to create lifelong learners, faithful Christian leaders whose lives remain always open to transforming grace. Bexley and Seabury offer these gifts and vocational aspirations to the wider church conscious that our size—we are the two smallest Episcopal Church seminaries—is in many ways a great advantage. Together we can maintain both a sense of proportion and a sense of humor. To paraphrase Paul, who knew what it means to live loose to institutional requirements, it is not we ourselves we preach, but the Gospel of Christ in the world. That is why we are here.

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About the author: Jaime