In COVID-time, we have learned to take nothing for granted and to have contingency plans for just about everything. This fall YDS and BDS will offer a mix of on-campus and online classes, and the Berkeley community will be following its own carefully developed safety protocols, including morning prayer via Zoom rather than worship in St. Luke’s Chapel. Berkeley will be welcoming back Dean Andrew McGowan, (and his wife, Prof. Felicity Harley-McGowan) who spent their sabbatical in Oxford and Australia. We are grateful to Acting Dean Cathy George for her leadership of the seminary for the Spring semester and throughout the summer, the highlight of which was the graduation and very successful placement of the strong and resilient Class of 2020.
But the most important news of all is that we have a robust and talented class of new students who are eager to begin their YDS and Berkeley experience no matter what the circumstances are. Seventeen in all, the class continues the Berkeley tradition of drawing students from all over the nation and world with a wide variety of backgrounds and vocational interests: one is a graduate student in marine ecology from Oregon, one is an actor, producer, and director who attended Oxford, one is a native Hoosier who worked for the National Parks Service in New Hampshire, and one speaks eight languages and loves to play the mandolin and the bandoneon (for those who are into tango music). And that is just a sampling of the many talents and interests that this class will bring to the Berkeley community and develop as future leaders of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. Most will be preparing for priesthood and parish life, while some will be exploring fields such as education, prison and hospital chaplaincy, and environmental theology.
Berkeley cannot attract such talented students without the encouragement of Berkeley’s friends and graduates, and certainly their financial generosity, which provides for all seminary programs and formation. In an extraordinary year, we are grateful to the Berkeley community who went above and beyond in their support for the seminary.
Berkeley’s legacy of leadership is in good hands with the Class of 2023!