Graduate School of Theology Celebration

May 22, 2021

2021 Commencement Announcement from Dean Jana Childers!

childers.jpgDear SFTS Community,

As staff and faculty began to work on Commencement plans this Spring, new questions and visions of possibility began bubbling up.

Is there any way we can transcend the difficulties of this year and create at least one big, beautiful experience? Can we dream up a graduation that will leave our seniors with lasting memories? How shall we follow the Spirit’s leading into a moment of communitas for SFTS? And can we do everything we need to do safely in the time of COVID?

We have been working these over, embracing the paradoxes of Spring 2021 life and seeking both/and solutions wherever we can find them. I write today to tell you what we have found so far.

Our Vision for a Both/And Commencement

We plan to hold Commencement in person outside on the Geneva Terrace. We plan to live-stream the ceremony for those unable to travel. We ask for patience and flexibility from the community as the county guidelines criss-cross the rainbow of COVID tiers, from purple to red to orange. We want you to know that barring the most extreme kind of change (i.e., all the way back to a shelter-in-place order), we will not pivot from the decision to be outside together for graduation this year. Other features may change in accordance with county guidelines. But we realize you need time to plan and so we commit to an in-person event.

Our commitment to safety is paramount. We will need to limit the number of in-person friends and family for each graduate candidate to 1 guest in order to ensure safe social distancing. The Class of 2020 is invited to participate in this year’s event, as promised at last year’s Commencement. We appreciate the help of SAC and the Chaplain’s Assistants in co-creating this event. Reminders and information will be sent in the weeks ahead about how to register, order gowns and arrange for senior photos—please check your emails from the Registrar and Student Services.

What a glorious setting we will have with Mt. Tamalpais, Bald Hill, and Geneva Hall framing our ceremony! And what could be more apt than to have the labyrinth beneath us, reminding us of the winding journey we have taken to and through this place. I hope you will plan to join us in a big, beautiful event celebrating our seniors and the community that is SFTS!

Many blessings,

Rev. Dr. Jana Childers, Dean of the Seminary