The annual Wesley Royce Leadership Symposium in June offers Berkeley graduates the opportunity to come back to Yale for two days of reconnection and leadership development. This year’s program, offered to graduates of the past 15 years, explored the subject of leadership in times of conflict and transition. Thirty-four attendees gathered at the Greenberg Center near Sterling Divinity Quadrangle, to hear from presenters the Rev. Dr. C.K. “Chuck” Robertson, and alums the The Rev. Dr. William Rich ‘80, and The Rev. Yejide Peters ‘08.
The thematic framework for the program was presented by keynote speaker Robertson, a widely-published author and currently Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church. Drawing on his recent book, Barnabas vs. Paul: To Encourage or to Confront?, Robertson noted that the Acts of the Apostles presents models of leadership from the early Church that present timeless guidance for organizations of many kinds, including modern-day church communities, especially those in transition from the comfortable status quo—which Robertson identifies with Jerusalem—to more challenging opportunities for growth—which he identifies with Antioch, where Barnabas had been sent to support the emerging church. For Robertson, Barnabas is a role model for strategic growth based on deliberate, principle-driven community development. Central to such strategic growth is a clear understanding of the community’s “sacred bundle,” its core values that should direct each step in the change process. On the second day, Yejide Peters, Rector of All Saints’ in Briarcliff Manor, NY, and William Rich, Vicar of Trinity Church, Boston, held a forum on “Leading in Times of Conflict and Transition,” drawing on their experiences in parish leadership, and in a closing session, which also included Robertson and Berkeley Dean Andrew McGowan, the conversation included reflections on The Episcopal Church as a whole and its relationship with Anglican Communion, both organizations experiencing their own challenges with change.
The Wesley Royce Leadership Symposium was also a time for spiritual renewal and fellowship. Evensong and morning Holy Eucharist, with Yejide Peters serving as Symposium Chaplain, offered participants the opportunity to worship together in Marquand Chapel, a space both sacred and nostalgic for Berkeley graduates. The group also enjoyed an evening reception and dinner at the Berkeley Center on St. Ronan Street. Old friendships were renewed and new professional connections made, strengthening the bonds so valuable to Berkeley graduates serving in parishes and schools throughout the country.
At the end of the symposium, Dean McGowan thanked the gathered ordained and lay leaders for their active participation, and reminded them that the strength of Berkeley’s programs, for both graduates and current students, depended on their leadership as financial supporters as well.