On Saturday, October 24, the faculty strategic visioning team of San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) offered alumni and friends a chance to participate in a virtual mini-retreat to discuss the stated values and identity of the seminary. This dialogue followed the appointment of Professors Gregory Love, Wendy Farley, Laurie Garrett-Cobbina, and Marcia McFee to a subcommittee that would envision SFTS’s future and strengthen its present. Updates during the event also included a statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as words from U of R Graduate School of Theology (GST) Dean Jana Childers about the newly formed SFTS Board of Directors.
McFee greeted participating alumni and friends by sharing a photo of the current faculty and asking participants “to imagine a kind of ‘cloud of witnesses’ among this amazing line-up of faculty with whom SFTS students connect.” McFee continued, “It is quite an extraordinary community of which we are a part and with whom we are in dialogue … These are the people whose primary responsibility and dedication are to SFTS, the Shaw Chaplaincy Institute, and the Center for Innovation in Ministry, all comprising the Graduate School of Theology.”
After her introduction, McFee shared a piece she wrote for an upcoming Advent Christmas worship series as a way to acknowledge the current times and expand awareness and remembrance of All Saints. (See www.worshipdesignstudio.com.)
The remainder of the event focused on five values using pre-recorded video clips that were originally shared with the campus community as a kickoff to the 2020 fall semester on September 4. The values include critical thinking, hospitality to difference (pluralism), scholarship as a spiritual practice, social justice/anti-racism, and interior transformation.
Richard Poole ’06 (M.Div.) appreciated the opportunity to attend this special event. “Ordinarily, my standards for my SFTS/GST experiences are high, but my expectations were blown away by the events of this past weekend, particularly the retreat,” said Poole. “I was struck by the faculty’s brilliance, and the pertinence and integration of their talents, skills, and passion with the specific hurts and needs of our world. It reinforced my belief that this is an institution I can, and intend to, learn from throughout my life.”