2020 and Beyond

June 10, 2020

Throughout its three years at YDS, Berkeley’s Class of 2020 has proved to be particularly strong—in its sense of community, in its contributions to intellectual and worship life at YDS, and in its resilient response to the pandemic, which turned much of the spring term upside down. From the moment that the traditional Canterbury pilgrimage was cancelled in March, the class created their own closer-to-home pilgrimage to the Trinity Retreat Center in West Cornwall, CT, and they continued to complete all of their academic work with unflagging commitment to excellence.

As the year has drawn to a close, the distinctive gifts of the Class of 2020 and their formational experience at Berkeley/YDS have also resulted in a particularly strong placement record in a season when many church communities are tightening their budgets.  While one or two final positions are still being resolved, this class has distinguished itself in the breadth of its placements. From Baltimore to Fort Worth to San Francisco to New York and Indianapolis, Berkeley’s recent graduates are truly covering the map, many at cardinal parishes. The strengths of this class, and Berkeley students in general, were particularly noteworthy to Roger Ferlo, who this semester served as acting associate dean for Cathy George while Andrew McGowan has been on sabbatical:

“In over thirty years of ordained ministry, this is the fifth Episcopal seminary in which I have either studied or served.  All these schools have their special gifts. What struck me most here at Yale was the intellectual excellence of our students. I have read many student papers and heard many student sermons over the years. The Berkeley students I encountered produced by far the best writing and the best preaching in my experience.  In the coming perilous and fragile times, it is crucial that we continue to attract future church leaders of this high caliber to Berkeley—with our prayers, our encouragement, and our continued financial support, now more important than ever in the history of this institution.” 

Such success indeed depends on financial support from friends and graduates, if Berkeley is to continue attracting talented students and providing them with exceptional seminary formation—particularly this year, as parish giving is down due to the pandemic. Please help Berkeley stay at the forefront of Episcopal seminary education by making a gift prior to June 30 online. We thank all of our friends and graduates for their ongoing support of Berkeley Divinity School!