This year’s group include students from the UK as well as the USA, from both coasts, and from New England and the South. Their average age is 29.
The sermon that evening was given by Dawn Stegelman ‘08, interim Cooordinator of the Annand Program in Spiritual Formation:
‘Each of you has been called here by some prompting of the Spirit, for some gift the Spirit wants to give you individually and collectively in this community. There is much to learn here—and so much to give to one another in the relationships that are forming. Tonight those of you who are newly admitted students are officially embarking on an exceptional adventure: a new ministry of the mind and mission that will take you out of comfort zones.’
‘None of us can pretend to know what the Spirit is up to or what the Spirit is going to give to each of you while you’re here. But we do know this, it will probably be something that you don’t expect. It will be something beyond your academic work and a new degree. It will be a surprise that gets planted and will grow in your heart long after you leave here. “We arrange our lives as best we can,” Walter Bruegemann writes, “with our pieties, our doctrines, our liturgies, our moralities and our secret ideologies”…And just when we begin to feel “safe, virtuous and settled,” God makes God’s self known in our dreams and visions, in the changes of plans and schedules, in a “chance” encounter or comment, and sets us on an unforeseen course in which we are compelled to yield, “sometimes gladly, sometimes resentfully, sometimes late….or soon.”’
After the service, students gathered at the Berkeley Center to share supper together, as they do after every Wednesday evening Eucharist. With the semester begun, the Berkeley community is well into another year of life together.