Berkeley Divinity School officially celebrated the beginning of a new academic year with its annual Matriculation Eucharist, held at Marquand Chapel on Wednesday, September 21, at 6:00 PM. Twenty-five Berkeley students participated in the ritual of signing the Berkeley register or matricula, which records classes dating back to 1854. The new class includes students from across the Episcopal Church (including the Convocation of American Churches in Europe), the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Church of England.
After the service, many students expressed their excitement about officially joining the Berkeley community. For Shancia Jarrett, a first-year MDiv student, Berkeley is “the best place to be at the best time.” After several years in New Haven affiliated with St. Hilda’s House, Jarrett said, “I’m passionate about my calling and I believe this is exactly where God is calling me to be.”
Dean Andrew McGowan reflected on the meaning of the ceremony in his sermon (available here). In matriculating, said McGowan, students “not only write their names in a book, they write a community into being.” As first-year MDiv Pei-Han Peggy Lo noted, “Three years seem long, but it will go so fast.” After McGowan’s sermon, she said, “I’m asking myself, ‘What am I going to write into being during these three years?’”
Not all the newly-matriculated students are new to Yale Divinity School. Third-year MDiv student Robbie Laughton entered YDS as an MAR concentrating in Hebrew Bible, before switching to the MDiv and joining Berkeley. As he said, “It’s been a long discernment process for me. Being a part of Berkeley has helped me work it out.”
After the service, students gathered at the Berkeley Center to share supper together, as they do after every Wednesday evening Eucharist. With the semester barely begun, the Berkeley community is looking forward to another year of life together.