Students at the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale come from every part of the church, and as graduates they serve in many varied capacities throughout its ministry. They become parish priests, seminary professors, school chaplains and teachers, missionaries, bishops, cathedral canons, social workers, and more. Potential employers can find up-to-date online resumes for the current Berkeley senior class at the Yale Divinity School's Career Services page.
At Yale, BDS is known for the intensity of its academic, spiritual and community life (see for example the October 2011 story, "Seminary on the Hill," in the Yale Herald). Students and graduates alike have much to say about their vocational intentions and experience at the School: below are some comments and brief profiles from current students and graduates.
Student and Graduate Profiles
Robert Pennoyer '16: First Year Reflections
I imagine that I’m hardly alone among Berkeley students in struggling to answer a rather simple question: “What program are you in at Yale?” My alphabet soup of a response (“YDS, BDS, ISM—and, if I can squeeze in the requirements, the ELM program”) still stumps my family and friends. Paragons of generosity and patience, they’ve learned to translate abbreviations into names, but the way these programs fit together still baffles them. I don’t blame them. Until recently, my parsing of the dual natures of a Berkeley/Yale student into distinct (if slightly overlapping) categories was more muddled than any heretic’s Christology. Berkeley would oversee spiritual formation; Yale would handle all academic matters.
When I arrived in August, I tried not to let on too obviously that the academic matters were what excited me most, that it was the Yale side of the Berkeley/Yale divide that I was most eager to explore. After eight years of being a teacher, I was practically giddy to be a student again, diving into the YDS curriculum—and I was thrilled by the ratio of schoolwork (lots) to spirituality (less, I thought) that awaited me.
I don’t mean to suggest that I was unexcited about being a part of Berkeley. From the start, I found the life of common worship and formation to be deeply enriching and inspiring, and I quickly recognized the privilege of being part of my cohort of classmates—as talented, generous, devoted, and quirky a group of Episcopalians as any I’ve encountered. We bonded over coffee, colloquium discussions, Wednesday night suppers at Berkeley Center, study sessions, and secret meetings to plan for the Wooden Spoon cooking competition. And yet, in the Venn diagrams I scribbled onto napkins for my inquisitive friends, I was perfectly content to draw Berkeley as a dime-sized circle, overlapping the silver-dollar ring marked “YDS.”
I couldn’t have been more than a couple weeks into the term when I felt a strange sort of whiplash; the shift from teaching to being a student was more affecting than I’d expected. As a teacher, I could boil down most of my daily activities to a single activity: loving the adolescent boys who were my students, hormones and all. As a divinity student, I can boil down most of my daily activities to a single activity: learning. The outwardly focused life of teaching—a ministry towards others—stands in sharp contrast to the life of a student—which can often feel like a ministry towards the self. I was unsettled by an inchoate realization: that the vast majority of my next three years, the entire YDS portion of my dual identity, might be spent engaged in academic activities that felt vaguely selfish.
Partway through the semester, however, Berkeley started coloring, and even driving, a greater proportion of my time. I was still doing the same things as before, still spending the same large portion of each day reading assignments and attending classes—and the same smaller portion engaging in official BDS activities. It wasn’t so much what I was doing that changed, than it was how and why I was doing it. The rhythm of the Berkeley Rule of Life started expanding beyond the boundaries of Morning Prayer, following me up Canner Street and into my classes. Dog-eared pages of class texts now screamed from their margins: “PREACH THIS!” or “TEACH THIS!” Poems discussed in a morning’s seminar transformed into prayer by the time I carried them home in my head. What I was learning today at school started having clear and obvious applications for the tomorrow I hope to effect through my ministry. I was starting to see more clearly how my YDS courses were serving my BDS experience of formation. And it wasn’t just the academics. There isn’t an aspect of my life at Yale that can’t be seen to serve the aims that led me to Berkeley: to shape and nurture my sense of the Christian I am and of the priest I feel called to be. My old Venn diagrams needed an overhaul.
Maybe this is an easy rationalization of what feels like an astonishingly privileged existence here on the hill. As my wife never fails to point out whenever I start to complain about my workload: my being hard at work these days looks virtually indistinguishable from my being on vacation. At least outwardly.
But Berkeley isn’t primarily concerned with outward things. The distinct privilege and continuing challenge of these next two and half years will be the inward work of spiritual and professional formation, work made more fruitful and fun by the extraordinary BDS community of which I feel so blessed to be a part.
Sarah Stewart '15: On the Rule of Life
True love builds limits that ground us and orient us in a world of possibilities. Rightly wielded, rules function as useful tools, helping people forge mutually responsible relationships that foster human flourishing. Rules challenge us to go beyond complacent egocentrism, toward creative self-giving that honors God, our neighbors and ourselves. Surrounded by healthy rules, a seminary community establishes a safe space where members are invited to encounter God and others in order to be formed as Christians and discern gifts for ministry in the church and the world.
Berkeley Divinity School’s Rule of Life embodies such life-affirming rules for seminarians worshipping and living together. Our Lenten custom calls for daily engagement with our Rule of Life, prayerfully established by prior generations of Berkeley students. Each day during Morning Prayer a chapter of the Rule is read aloud, offering a chance to reflect upon the ways we allow ourselves to be formed through academic work, community engagement, corporate worship and prayer, and through individual interactions with one another. This daily reminder stirs us to consider our every word, thought, and action as distinct moments of discipline and surrender, as we submit to spiritual and personal formation through our shared embrace of this guiding rule.
In a similar way Berkeley’s Annand Program for Spiritual Formation sustains our spiritual vitality through the discipline of self-reflection. The program, available to all Yale Divinity School students, encourages us to find spiritual direction, both individually and together in groups, through contemplative retreats, workshops and quiet days.
Daily prayer, worship and reflection are deep-rooted cornerstones of our life at Berkeley and lead to a close, authentic community, and also draw denominationally diverse students into meaningful engagement with The Episcopal Church during their years at Yale.
Throughout the remainder of this penitential season, as you seek spiritual renewal by embracing the rules or practices that awaken awareness of God’s presence in your life or alert you to particular needs for nurture, discipline or reflection, please join us in reading a chapter of the Berkeley Rule of Life each day (http://berkeleydivinity.yale.edu/community/rule-life ), knowing that we hold you in our prayers, and ask for God’s sustenance, direction, and abundant blessing on your lives and upon your ministries.
Kevin Caruso '11: Curate and Lilly Intern
There is something truly remarkable about having the privilege to spend three years to study and pray in a place like Berkeley/Yale. No words can quite capture what it meant to be surrounded by a community of people passionately committed to discerning what God was calling them to do, or perhaps more aptly, who God was calling them to be. As someone who grew up in the Episcopal Church, I came to Berkeley/Yale because it offered an opportunity to be formed in the Anglican tradition while at the same time providing an opportunity to interact in an ongoing and deep way with Christians from other traditions. In particular, I found it profoundly formative to be immersed in worship services that were unapologetically Anglican and also in other services that were rooted in the diversity of the larger Yale community. At St. Luke’s, the Episcopal Chapel, I found myself cherishing the repetitive nature of our prayer life. All my critical reflections about how worship should look dissipated with the daily habit of simply doing the same thing. The repetition and rhythm allowed my experience of prayer to get underneath the words. On the other hand, at Marquand Chapel, each day brought a new experience. I often sat at the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen, and the way we were empowered to sing together was breathtaking.
One of the most remarkable experiences I had while in seminary came after receiving a grant from the Episcopal Evangelism Society. This grant provided me with the opportunity to visit three innovative Churches affiliated with the Episcopal Church. I spent about a week at each site immersing myself in their life and interviewing various stake holders. The goal was to get underneath the all too superficial rhetoric which pervades conversations about the “emerging” Church vs the “traditional” Church and to learn about some recently formed Christian communities from their own words and practices. It was an amazing experience that challenged my assumptions about what it means to be Episcopalian. Each of these communities manages to forge a unique bond between the Anglican tradition and their contemporary context. More than anything, each of these communities is pressing the Church to consider the difference between “going to Church” and “being Church.”
During my final semester at Berkeley/Yale, I received a call to serve as the curate at a suburban parish near Chicago. This position is partially funded by a grant from the Lilly endowment. As a condition of receiving the grant, St. Michael’s is supporting my ongoing participation in the Making Excellent Disciples (MED) program run by the Diocese of Chicago. MED is designed to provide clergy just out of seminary with structured and intentional tools to get the most out of the first years in ministry. One of the foundational principles of the MED program is that having an intentional relationship with a mentor is vital to developing high-functioning successful clergy. Over the next 2 years, I will be "doing the rounds" and learning about all the roles a rector plays in the parish. At the same time, I will also be primarily responsible for a few specific areas of parish life, including facilitating the Adult Formation/Education programs and serving as a chaplain to the parish’s pre-school. I am thankful every day for the preparation I received at Yale/Berkeley, even as I recognize how much I am learning that is not, nor could it be, taught in seminary. I feel truly blessed to have the privilege to serve God and God’s people in the context of a parish. Together we are joining Christians all over the world in doing the hard work of trying to be Christ’s heart and hands in the world.
Kevin is curate at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Barrington, Illinois
Bethany Davidson Myers '10: Vocational Deacon and Social Worker
I entered BDS as a joint degree student, concurrently pursuing a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School/BDS and a Master of Social Work in Community Organizing from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. I was also seeking ordination as a vocational deacon from my home diocese of Colorado, where deacons are not typically seminary trained.
One of the most positive aspects of my time at BDS was how supported I felt with my bi-vocational call. I felt very strongly that in order for me to live as a disciple of Jesus I had to put that faith into action. While fulfilling all the requirements for a Diploma in Anglican Studies, I was also able to tailor my curriculum to engage my passion of social justice and social ministry. I took courses with many YDS/BDS professors that focused on raising social awareness. My internship placements were geared toward exposure to social ministry and paired me with another active parish deacon. I was also able to take an independent study course that critically examined the intersection of faith-based initiatives and social service agencies in America. Within the BDS community I was supported and also challenged to really live out my call. During my joint degree work I was able to gain insight into how I might best serve God and God’s people as a bi-vocational woman, ordained as a deacon and working as a social worker.
Until recently I was working in Washington, DC as a mental health social worker. I focused on the specific needs of women with co-occurring mental illness and a history of trauma. While challenging, my work in DC facilitated my service with one of the most vulnerable populations and further enabled me to live out my bi-vocation as a social worker and a deacon who is called to serve the poor and needy. My husband, the Rev. Nicholas Myers ‘09, was called to serve Grace and Saint Stephens Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs, CO. I am excited to be back in my home diocese with a vibrant diaconate and many active deacons.
Bethany is a case worker for the All Inclusive Care Program for the Elderly, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Beth Tjoflat '11: Bilingual Priest and Church Planter
One of the most valuable parts of my experience at Yale and Berkeley Divinity School was the opportunity to travel and experience other parts of the Anglican Communion. In January of 2010 I was able to participate in a small group travel seminar from Harvard, Yale and Boston College. We spent a week in Ecuador exploring the theme: Rethinking Mission, Sustainability and Globalization in Latin America. We heard from the head of the Council of Latin American Churches, a U.N. economist, an environmental activist, and indigenous clergy. We also visited various mission sites in Quito and high in the Andes mountains, where we shared worship in Spanish and Quechua and were deeply humbled by the rich hospitality of the people. This trip came on the heels of a reading course (independent study) on Latino Ministry and Mission, under the direction of Professor Diana Swancutt.
In the spring of 2010, I was able to travel to El Salvador with a group from BDS. Our trip coincided with the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero, so we had a chance to hear Gustavo Gutierrez and others speak. This trip resulted in much reflection around what makes for a partnership and ministry with “the other.”
Thanks to support from the Seminary Consultation on Mission and my diocese, I was able to spend two months in Peru during the summer of 2010. My job was to get to know the people of the diocese and to begin to consider how we might partner with them and learn from each other. Encountering so much deep poverty has given me a different sense of how to define “need.” Spending extended time with folks in Peru taught me how to be present and to listen in a way that already defines my priesthood.
Presently I am serving as the assistant at St. Francis-in-the-Field, where I help to plan liturgy, preach and celebrate for English-speaking and Spanish-speaking services. I also am charged with planting a new church between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. The flexibility and support that Berkeley at Yale provides have been invaluable. It has been a gift to be able to explore and live into vocations of bilingual and entrepreneurial ministry as they emerged. The ability to weave academic study with practical experience has helped to solidify a vision for my ministry and prepare me for life after seminary. This experience helped prepare me for these exciting challenges.
The experiences offered through Berkeley are so rich and varied and all play a part in the process we call formation. The daily pattern of worship with my colleagues is what I miss most of all. The support for mission and independent, entrepreneurial study that combined practical work with academic research has enabled me to discern and live into a call. No doubt this will continue to evolve, but my Berkeley experience has enabled me to gain clarity and own my call for myself -- which is invaluable as one prepares to leave seminary.
Beth is an assistant at St. Francis-in-the-Field, Ponte Vedra, Florida.
Spencer Reece '11: Poet and Curate
I went to Las Rositas Orphanage in Honduras the summer before my senior year. Nothing could prepare me for the orphanage. I think it changed my life. And I never expected that to happen. When I came back, subtly, I began to see my whole perspective had changed. People kept telling me I was different. I'd never been in such poverty before or been in an orphanage. From then on, I felt I could be a priest. I was humbled by my poor Spanish skills. I could see how I could be of some use as a priest in that environment. After that, it has become my driving goal to return and work on a book of poems by the girls about home, along with their drawings. I have reapplied to the Fulbright for 2012-2013. Academically, the ethics class, taught by Fred Simmons, was beautiful theoretical talk taught excellently. Suddenly in Honduras, in San Pedro Sula, I was called upon to live what I had read. When I was ordained in New Haven, I knew I wanted the ordination to celebrate the orphanage.
Another important part of my experience was being a house resident at Berkeley Center. This reinforced being of service in this world, over and over again, every week. It probably did detract from studies, I'm sure, but I loved being in the center of the community life of the school and having something to do, very simple work, amongst all those complicated academic thoughts, many of which I did not always understand. When all else failed, doing the dishes and cleaning the toilets was something I could understand.
The Institute of Sacred Music is a marvelous resource that I knew about only because Dean Britton told me about it. It paid for my education, and I never lost sight of that fact, and so I approached each Wednesday afternoon with gratitude. The artists I met there were brimming with talent. I learned more from my project on Benjamin Britten than from almost anything else. The travel seminar trip to Germany was incredible; I'd never been there, and each day was filled with lectures, sights, conversations.
While I was at Berkeley, the contract for my second book of poems came through from Farrar, Straus, Giroux (the publisher I'd dreamed about my whole life being published by). At the same time, James Franco asked to make a film of the poem “The Clerk’s Tale” from the first book. I do best artistically when I am busy doing something else, so it all kept me quite busy. The second book is called The Road to Emmaus and tracks the trajectory of someone becoming a priest; I could not have written it as it is without my time at Yale.
Overall, Berkeley/Yale was a deep, rich, challenging, bright experience for me. I feel trained up in Episcopal life and as I was not a very churchy person, this was important. Our senior year pilgrimage to Cantebury was wonderful. Dean Britton was very supportive and priestly and fatherly to me, and I take that with me as I leave.
Spencer is working on a book of poetry in Spain and serves as an assistant at St. George’s Church in Madrid.
Blake Sawicky '11: Cathedral Curate
I found the annual class retreats to be one of the most positive, formative aspects of my time at Berkeley, at least as much for the fellowship with my classmates as for the programmatic content. In that they taught me a lot about the corporate prayer life of the Church, helped me explore tried and true patterns of individual piety, and introduced me to the people and institutions at the heart of the Anglican Communion, they accomplished what they set out to do. But more than this, going on these retreats with my classmates made the content come alive in the context of a real ecclesial community striving to learn and grow together according to the vocational grace we have been given.
When people ask what drew me to the Episcopal Church in the first place, I often say that I encountered here a language that I knew, intuitively, how to speak -- even though I'd never come across it before. I appreciated especially the centrality of the Eucharist, and the dignity of traditional liturgical form; but before coming to Berkeley, I didn't strongly identify with any particular "school of churchmanship." When I came to New Haven, the Anglo-Catholic portion of our heritage was part of my world for the first time -- and the experience was as if the Episcopal prose which I'd intuited years ago had suddenly been transfigured into poetry. I loved it. And as I spent time in it, I was able to see my own vocation to the priesthood articulated in a particularly compelling way: not as so much "solemn high prancing about," but a life of total self-giving service on behalf of the people of God, ordered according to Our Lord's own incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension, in which all of creation is lifted to the joy of divine fellowship with our triune God.
I was ordained to the diaconate shortly after graduating from Berkeley, and I'm currently serving a three-year term as curate at the cathedral in Denver, Colorado. It's a large parish church in addition to a diocesan cathedral, and life here is very exciting -- I regularly officiate at our daily morning and evening offices, serve at the daily mass, preach on Sundays, make hospital visits, coordinate/administer social service concerns for those who walk in needing help, work with the youth as well as with the seniors group, etc. I love what I'm doing, and every day it seems I come across new reasons to be glad for the preparation I received at Berkeley.
Blake is Curate at St. John's Cathedral, Denver, Colorado
Rachel Lyle Hatch '08: Lay Ecumenist
I am a young student, so my path to the Berkeley Divinity School was not as long and winding as some others. After graduating from college, I spent a year studying at Trinity College, Dublin. Not quite ready to settle back into life in the US, I spent a second year abroad in Gorow, Poland teaching English. After all of that, I knew that I wanted to come to a place where I could deepen my fundamental grasp of the Christian religion, while also continuing my ecumenical emphasis.
A central tenet of ecumenism is that one must be steeped in his or her own particular tradition in order to engage with a religious "other" in dialogue. Because of this, it was very important for me to be in a place where Anglicanism is lived, prayed and learned, and I have certainly found that with Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Two types of experiences have been particularly meaningful for me. First of all, I have had exposure to remarkable Anglicans—visionaries who have emerged among their peers as exceptional spokespeople and mediators within our tradition, such as Archbishop of Ireland Robin Eames, and the Episcopal Church's Director of Women's Ministries Margaret Rose. Secondly, I continue to be shaped through liturgical experiences (the Wednesday evening Eucharist and fellowship is a highlight of my week!); the Anglican Studies colloquium in which we learn from each other as fellow students and future ministers of the church; the Annand spirituality groups in which we attempt to live a more prayerful life together; and the Lutheran-Episcopal ecumenical relationship lived out through our respective populations at YDS.
Through these encounters, I have discerned that I'm called to a ministry of peer leadership either in ecumenical organizations, the Episcopal Church, or academia. Thanks to the Office of Supervised Ministries, I will intern next year at the Office of Women's Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City.
Rachel is Research Manager at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California.
Michael Cover '08: Scholar and Teacher
I came to Berkeley Divinity School because it offers not only the best of two worlds, but direct access to three. Berkeley is a denominational seminary, in an ecumenical Christian divinity school, at a secular research university. The desire to seek Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church has been one which I have been aware of since at least high school. Perhaps as strong and enduring has been the call to engage in critical linguistic study of the Bible, and to trace the theological and philosophical presuppositions which have shaped the history of its interpretation. Despite the current crisis in the Episcopal Church, I began seminary as an act of faith that God will not abandon his Church.
The experience thus far has exceeded my expectations. Berkeley at Yale has provided me a place to study and pray, in a truly ecumenical community. Eucharist is celebrated nearly every morning at St. Luke's Chapel on Bishop Samuel Seabury's old writing desk, a living relic of our Episcopal identity. The household names at YDS of Jaroslav Pelikan and Henri Nouwen (to name just two) attest to the joint pilgrimage of Protestants and Roman Catholics through this place, which continues to this day. As a full member of Yale University, I have also been able to pursue my interests in Classical languages in the department downtown.
My sense of vocation at this point is to combine ordained ministry and academic teaching, at the college or secondary school level. You would be hard pressed to find an Episcopal seminary in America which would provide better preparation for such a dual vocation as Berkeley Divinity School.
Michael is a doctoral student in New Testament at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.
David Dill '08: Building an Image of God
In the summer of 2005 I left a career as a documentary television editor, and my wife Mary Alex, our two year old daughter Ella, and our big yellow dog Eli packed up and moved to New Haven. Long before I came to Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, exposure to a variety of Christian traditions had been a major theme of my life. I was raised in the United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, attended a Catholic high school, sang in an Episcopal choir in college, and married a woman who was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church. All of those traditions are a part of who I am as a Christian. I believe the work of the church is largely about celebrating the rich differences that make us the body of Christ. Our distinctions are signs to us of God's amazing vitality and variety. Those signs are on display in this community.
Rich relationships are being built among those within my own denomination, but I am also developing deep bonds with people from other traditions—the folks who will be in those other churches in my neighborhood, ministering to the same community of need, rowing the same boat. The work of Jesus Christ gets done in many ways. "Aren't we glad we are all alike?" is not a question you're likely to hear at YDS. Diversity of opinion, tradition, background and belief is the rule. Assumptions are hard to come by, which makes this school a great training ground for ministry in a complicated world.
Questions you will hear go something like this: "How can we worship together? What do we do with our differences? Who got left out? What is the future of our churches?" Ecumenical engagement isn't just an idea at YDS; it is an everyday reality. Exposure to many ways of worshipping the same God is a central part of life in this community. Together, we are building a composite image of the God who continually confounds and amazes us and calls us out to that other shore, beyond ourselves.
Formerly at Trinity Church Copley Square, Boston, David is now Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Decatur, Alabama.
Kate Bryant '06: Grounded in the Practice of Ministry
I first felt called to ordained ministry when I was thirteen. I remember looking up at my home parish rector while he was preaching and thinking, "I'm supposed to be doing that." But I didn't know how to respond. After college and graduate school, I embarked upon a twenty-year career in banking, advertising, and corporate communications. Finally, I just had to cooperate with God. I couldn't resist any longer, so I entered the discernment process at the parish level.
It was my Canon for Ministry in the Diocese of New York who encouraged me to apply to Berkeley/Yale. After I was accepted, I came to the school for a daylong visit. I worshipped in both Berkeley's St. Luke's Chapel and Yale's Marquand Chapel, went to classes, talked with students and faculty. That did it for me. I knew BDS was the place for my theological education and formation as a priest-to-be.
Study, worship, community life, spiritual direction, field work—all of these have contributed to a great sense of what I feel God is calling me to do. The academics here are first-rate; I really enjoyed being able to study with and ask questions of some of the leading thinkers of the day in biblical studies and theology. Corporate worship was also really important for me. The daily service of Morning Prayer and Eucharist fed me a great deal. It grounded me. I couldn't imagine beginning a day without it. Services in Marquand Chapel provided another opportunity for daily worship, where I experienced real cutting-edge worship, with liturgical approaches I could never have imagined.
Through BDS I took advantage of two summer opportunities. First, I particated in a three-week program of Anglican Studies for seminarians from all around the Anglican Communion at Canterbury Cathedral. It was a transformative experience for me. The Anglican Communion is not some vague, abstract concept but a living and breathing organism that is in a constant state of growth and evolution. Second, I participated in a week-long Preaching Excellence Program for Episcopal seminarians, where the week was dedicated to crafting, listening to, and critiquing sermons—as well as getting to know other seminarians.
As I prepare to enter the world of parish ministry, I know that I don't have all the answers to all the questions. But I do feel that Berkeley/Yale gave me an excellent set of the basic tools I need to begin to figure them out, on my own.
Kate is the Assistant to the Rector for Adult Ministries at St. James' Church, Leesburg, Virginia.
Eric Jeuland '06: Seeker and Confirmand
I just finished my degree at Berkeley/Yale, and I'm so thankful for both places. Before seminary, I had varied church experiences, first a liberal not-so-kid-friendly American Baptist church, then a few Vineyard churches and campus fellowships, and then finally an experimental phase bouncing between Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran churches. I came to seminary feeling a strong call to full-time ministry but knowing I still needed a denomination. I knew Yale would offer me a cornucopia of options in this regard.
After a year of looking around at all the options, I got plugged into the Berkeley community my second year. The Episcopal Church was the best fit for me theologically and liturgically. The Berkeley community added focus to a wonderful but sometimes overwhelmingly diverse YDS. By that I mean the focus of a smaller, worshipping community life as well as a helpful theological framework on which to build my developing sense of ministry and life.
I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church at the wonderful monastery guesthouse of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Massachusetts in February, 2005. And now here I sit writing this profile from Canterbury, England, with the great cathedral glowing in the night sky just out the window. I came here on pilgrimage with the senior class, and have gained even more perspective on the Anglican tradition by being where much of it started.
Eric is Episcopal Chaplain at the University of Connecticut, St. Mark's Chapel, Storrs, Connecticut.
Will Mebane '06: A Life Transformed
My journey to Berkeley Divinity School started, unbeknownst to me of course, around the age of nine when I was first told, "you know, young man, you're gonna be a preacher one day." Forty years later, the decision to attend BDS was made after consulting and interviewing with other seminaries. It became clear to me that I wanted the challenge of being in classrooms and discussions with faculty and students from traditions different from my own.
Before arriving on campus as a student, I was told to expect to be transformed over the next three years. As a fifty-year-old, I assumed I had it all figured out. A successful career in executive and management positions with some fairly high-profile national media, non-profit, and marketing organizations had prepared me, I assumed, to resist change.
It's impossible, I now believe, to engage in the Berkeley/Yale community without being transformed. Daily worship, internships, Clinical Pastoral Education, class assignments, "coffee hour" discussions, and hallway debates have all contributed to a reexamination of the assumptions I had prior to attending Berkeley. Seminary really became a time of intense and active discernment for me.
Will is a Canon at Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio.
Kirk Stevan Smith '80: Urban pastor
I was born in 1951 in Soap Lake, a tiny town in eastern Washington where my father served as a Presbyterian pastor. I attended Lewis and Clark College, where my experience of the mystical, sensual, and artistic tradition of the Episcopal Church led to my gradual conversion. My deepening faith took me on to Cornell University to earn a PhD in church history, and then to Oxford, England for a year of independent research. Though deeply interested in church history, I increasingly felt God moving me from my academic pursuits toward the front lines of parish ministry. The support of the Episcopalians in my home parish in Arizona sent me to seminary at Berkeley Divinity School.
I had prayed for a parish that confronted the life-and-death challenges of contemporary life, and those prayers were more than answered when, in 1991, I was called to St. James', Los Angeles. From the peaceful rural town of West Hartford, I went to urban streets and homelessness, to earthquakes and civil unrest.
My interests beyond the church walls are many and varied: ecumenism, interfaith dialogue, church history, and the relationship of science and technology to religion. Recently I've discovered a new passion—the reconciliation and gathering together of those in our church who hold strongly differing viewpoints, especially now as concerns human sexuality. All these reflect the central theme of my ministry, which is a passion for relating the beauty of our ancient Anglican tradition to our fast-paced, culturally diverse, technological, and spiritually hungry society.
Kirk is Bishop of the Diocese of Arizona.
Rosalind Brown '97: A Passion for the Arts
I am a canon at Durham Cathedral, with responsibility for the "nave ministries" including visitors, education, pastoral care, the arts, and relationships with the city and university. My book (written with Christopher Cocksworth), On Being a Priest Today, is in its second edition, and I have also written Being a Deacon Today.
My time at Berkeley and Yale gave me a strong academic grounding that has proved invaluable since ordination. The three years were catalysts for further exploration, giving me an academic base from which to begin following up ideas. It is hard to say which courses have been most influential, but the opportunity to fit in one extra course each semester for sheer enjoyment gave me the luxury of exploring the arts and religion which is a bonus that many of my colleagues have not had.
I valued the combination of ecumenical worship and life at Yale Divinity School, which exposed me to many different Christian traditions and has been helpful when teaching and working in ecumenical contexts. The Anglican base at Berkeley, with the pattern of daily worship and weekly community Eucharist, was a vital balance to the intensity of academic study. Regular worship at Berkeley helped to keep study and formation in balance, encouraging me to love God with both my mind and my heart. Finally, the friendships and the contacts have continued to be significant, with many of us staying in regular contact.
Rosalind is Canon Librarian at Durham Cathedral, the first female Residentiary Canon in its 900-year history.
Mark Hummell '02: Serving God by serving those in need
In August, 1999 my partner and I loaded our rented truck and made our way from Arizona east towards New Haven, Connecticut. Looking back at the cross-country trip, I would never have imagined that I would one day minister through Episcopal Charities in New York City. Berkeley was instrumental in my formation and shaping my call to serve God through those in need.
The trip to New Haven was frightening: I was not in any formal diocesan formation process, and my partner left a very secure job as controller of an Indian tribe. We were taking a pretty major leap of faith. But the staff at Berkeley met me in the midst of my spiritual journey. Just living from day to day in a community like Berkeley, with a few who questioned my ministry in a healthy way, several who were supportive, and some who were also trying to balance their faith and sexuality, helped me to mature spiritually and realize that I, too, could live out God's call as a priest. Added to this was the formation that comes from participation in daily worship services, and the sense of community built through the Wednesday evening Eucharist and dinner.
When I visit the ninety outreach programs and parishes that Episcopal Charities supports, I see God's hand at work in those who help others in need. I also feel the presence of God in those who worship at the Cathedral, whether on a routine Sunday, or the thousands who come to Christmas, Easter, or with their pets on St. Francis Day. I am grateful that Berkeley helped me to become the priest I am today, and to live out God's call.
Mark is Associate Director of Episcopal Charities in the Diocese of New York, and an Assistant Priest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Christopher Martin '96: GenX Parish Priest
I am the rector of a church located twenty minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The church is located in the center of the largest town in the most secular county in the United States. People here in Marin County think they invented the phrase, "I'm spiritual but not religious!"
My Berkeley education shapes how I go about the work of proclaiming the gospel to a population more sympathetic to pop-Buddhism than Christianity. I find it takes every bit of my theological formation to stay true to orthodox belief while staying relevant to people immersed in a culture increasingly hostile or indifferent to Christianity. Berkeley continues to support me in my ministry through my ongoing friendships, and most recently, when I returned to Yale to take a course in "English Spirituality" taught by Prof. Christopher Beeley.
After graduation, I served at Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford. While there I pulled together a small team of recent graduates to organize a conference for GenX priests. The conference, "Gathering the NeXt Generation," attracted half of all the priests in our cohort, and was the decisive event in shifting church support back to young vocations in the priesthood.
Christopher is the Rector of St. Paul's Church in San Rafael, California.
Matthew Heyd '95: Leading social transformation
I arrived in New Haven with the ink on my college diploma barely dry. I came to Berkeley and Yale because I wanted to plumb the connection between faith and action.
Berkeley provided exactly the right combination of spiritual depth, academic rigor, and neighborhood engagement. Understanding the connection between a church and its community had an immediate and lasting use. Right after graduation I helped launch Episcopal Charities in the Diocese of New York, which supports congregations' summer camps and soup kitchens. For the last three years, I've worked at Trinity Church, Wall Street, funding and learning from partners who engage the Episcopal Church in social transformation—not just offering hospitality to those in need, but challenging the systems that allow human need to persist.
And I'm still exploring how faith and work entwine. A retired Yale professor called liturgy and service "primary theology": my time at Berkeley and Yale provided a lasting compass for this journey. It feels like sacramental work.
Matthew is the Associate Director of the Trinity Grants Program in the Parish of Trinity Church, New York City.
Amy Denney Zuniga '05: Missionary Priest in El Salvador
I grew up in the Central Valley of California, the oldest of three daughters of a farming family. Attending the University of California, Davis, and traveling in Latin America (El Salvador, Mexico and Ecuador) expanded my world and deepened my sense of vocation to priesthood I began to feel as a teenager with a desire to accompany the people of Latin America.
I chose to go east to seminary because I knew the experience of the church there to be different, and I chose Berkeley/Yale because of its strong academics and ecumenical context. I was not disappointed! My experience was on interlocking circles of community: BDS morning prayer, Marquand Chapel worship, peers and professors in classes, spiritual direction, parish internship, intentional community living, student organizations, local clergy and parishes, and opportunities to be involved with the wider community of Yale University all played a part in giving me a strong, integral foundation for ordained ministry.
Berkeley's increasing emphasis on mission also helped me and my husband as we prepared for service in the Anglican Episcopal Church in El Salvador (supported by a Fulbright Scholarship). I am now serving a parish and elementary school in the capital area, and my husband is teaching guitar and working on an agricultural development and reforestation project.
Amy was Priest-in-Charge of San Andrés Apóstol, San Salvador. She is now the priest-in-charge of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Hollister, California.
Betsy Anderson '97: Spiritual Guide and Teacher
I have been on the staff of my parish now for nine years. In addition to coordinating the pastoral ministries at my parish, I have been responsible for developing and overseeing the Emmaus Small Group ministry, a network of small groups devoted to Christian spiritual formation through prayer, Bible study, outreach, and caring fellowship.
At Berkeley I was involved in the Annand Program for Spiritual Formation, and I have used its resources greatly in parish ministry. I so appreciate the emphasis both on rigorous academic study, and on spiritual formation. I use historical theology every single day of my ministry, for as my parishioners seek pastoral care, they are really exploring their relationship with God, and the questions they have about ultimate reality. Having studied both the history of theology and the history and practice of Christian spirituality, I feel much better equipped to journey with them wherever they are.
Betsy is the Associate for Pastoral Ministries, St. Matthew's Church, Pacific Palisades, California.
Carol Pinkham Oak '85: Innovator in Leadership Formation
I serve a 2000-member parish located in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, including a day school, a 15-acre campus, lively ministries for youth, outreach, pastoral care, and Christian formation, as well as both traditional and contemporary worship services.
Most recently, I served as the Associate Rector at Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia, where I was program coordinator for a unique pilot project designed to support newly ordained clergy in the first two years of ministry. This ecumenical program, funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., places new priests in congregations so that they may be mentored by experienced priests as well as by members of the parish. The program has become a model for other programs across the country.
As a teacher of preachers, I developed a preaching mentoring process that builds the quality of preaching through feedback from clergy staff and congregation members.
Carol is Rector of St. John's Church, Ellicott City, Maryland.