A New Call for Kathleen Hawkins Berkowe ‘10

The Rev. Kathleen Hawkins Berkowe, Class of 2010, is the new Priest-in-Charge at Church of the Holy Communion, Mahopac, NY. She most recently served as Priest-in-Charge of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Britain, Connecticut.

Berkowe previously served as Asst. to the Rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Stamford, Connecticut and was a leader in Public Witness Against Violence in the Diocese of Connecticut. While at General she organized the speaker series, Identity, Community and the World with inaugural speaker, the Rev. Canon Harold Lewis. In 2009, she received a grant from the Seminary Commission on Mission to work for the summer with children in the Episcopal School in Blantyre, Malawi, Southern Africa.

Berkowe also received a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and an A.B., cum laude, from Harvard University and worked as a corporate and real estate attorney in New York City before her call to the priesthood.

Raised in the Church, and confirmed on a military base in Germany, Berkowe had a sense of God’s presence as a constant throughout her childhood as her family moved frequently throughout the United States and Europe. At the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, D.C., she studied Church History and Church Music, and fell in love with the Daily Office and Liturgy. In Latin class, she read Cicero, who, together with Thurgood Marshall and the great civil rights lawyers, were her role models for choosing a career in law.

Donn Mitchell ’91 Explores Theology of Frances Perkins

Donn Mitchell, Class of 1991, has a new book from Anglican Examiner Publications, Tread the City’s Streets Again. It is the first book to explore the theology and vocation of Frances Perkins, the settlement house worker who went on to lift millions of Americans out of poverty through the creation of the Social Security system.

From the slums of Chicago to the brothels of Philadelphia; from the tenements of New York to the halls of power in Albany and Washington, Perkins was guided by a deeply incarnational understanding of Christianity.

Drawing heavily on her presentations as part of the St. Bede Lectures at St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue, in 1948, this book allows Perkins, mostly in her own words, to explain the theological foundations of her vocation. A lay associate of All Saints Sisters of the Poor, Perkins was a devout Episcopalian steeped in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. As U.S. Secretary of Labor in the New Deal, she was able to translate many of the ethical teachings of her tradition into social policy.

“Donn Mitchell has beautifully understood and conveyed the primary motivating factor in my grandmother's life and work." writes Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, Perkin’s grandson and founder of the Frances Perkins Center. "Her faith and her compassion for her fellow man …  improved the lives of so many that the Episcopal Church named her a Holy Woman. Tread the City's Streets Again takes the reader by the hand and introduces the soul of Frances Perkins.”

Mitchell teaches religion and ethics at Berkeley College in New York and has served as Adjunct Professor of Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He formerly directed a program to develop theological education faculty through the Episcopal Church Foundation.

Tread the City's Streets Again is available for order from Anglican Examiner Publications.

In Memorium: Paul Woodrum ‘65

With great sadness we share news of the death of the Rev. L. Paul Woodrum, Class of 1965, on May 22, 2018. Woodrum first served churches in Pennsylvania, and then went on to the Diocese of Newark, and then later New York and Long Island. Woodrum was a former board member of Integrity USA. With the permission of Integrity’s current President Bruce Garner, also a member of General’s Board of Trustees, we share the following post from their website, written by Prof. Louie Crew Clay, founder of Integrity USA and the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from General in 2003.

"I am in shock learning that my friend Paul Woodrum+ died six days ago, of heart failure. He is survived by Victor Challenor, his husband of 37 years.
Paul was ordained deacon in June 1965, priest a year later. He paid dearly for his early openness, fired quite early when a bishop used the lew and spotted a photograph of a male nude. Paul never gave up on the church which so forcefully gave up on him. Paul spent all of his clerical ministry as a faithful, indefatigable priest, and when fired, was deployed to assignments that could offer only low stipends, serving persons of the greatest need.
To survive economically, he and Victor established Challwood, vestment makers sought by almost all bishops and other clergy from many denominations.
Paul was active in Integrity as soon as he learned of it. He served on the Integrity board in many different capacities. He was a splendid educator for those of us who did not know how to get things done using the formal instruments of governance. He drafted many of the resolutions that made their way to General Convention for almost five decades.
Paul was one of the most hospitable persons that I have ever met. He never gave guests a meal: it was always a feast.
Paul's memorial mass will be at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, Long Island, NY on June 12th, at 11 AM. Paul is resting in peace, gussying up the heaven's vestments. Pray for his beloved Victor."

In Memoriam: John Steed ‘71

The Rev. John Steed, Class of 1971, died Tuesday, May 8, 2018, of late stage Parkinson's Disease at his home in Whiting, NJ at the age of 75. His last active ministry was at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Whiting, NJ. Previous charges were Trinity Church in Scotland Neck, NC, Christ Church in Rocky Mount, NC, St. Joseph's Church in Durham, NC, Trinity Church in Wilson, NC, and St. Stephen's Church in Culpeper, VA.

He was on the Search Committee for a new bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey. He also enjoyed many years' service on the Companion Dioceses Commissions in the Diocese of NJ and the Diocese of NC. After his retirement from active ministry, Rev. Steed was an assisting priest at Christ Episcopal Church in Toms River, NJ.

Born to Dr. James Steed and his mother, Dr. Marion Steed, in Dayton, OH, Steed was a civilian employee in the Navy Department at the Pentagon Prior to entering the priesthood. He also served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves during the Vietnam Conflict. John's academic career was broad; he had a BA and MA in Political Science from the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, a BA in Psychology from North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, NC, an MA in Psychology from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC, before receiving his MDiv from General.

Surviving is his wife of 52 years, Mary Lou Steed (nee Widmer). He is also survived by his son, James Steed, his daughter-in-law, Catherine Hou, and his grandson, Sebastian Steed, all of Bala Cynwyd, PA. He also has two surviving brothers-in-law, John Widmer and Kurt Ericksen, both of Toledo, OH. The memorial services was held Wednesday, May 16, in the Chapel at Christ Episcopal Church, Toms River, NJ. Interment followed in the Memorial Garden on the parish property.

In Memoriam: Roberts P. Johnson ‘65

The Rev. Roberts Poinsett Johnson III, Class of 1965, died May 25, 2018. A resident of Mountain Brook, Alabama since 1983, Johnson was born in Winnfield, Louisiana, August 30, 1940, and served as an Episcopal priest for 52 years.

Johnson began his ministry at St. Martin's Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana, where he met his future wife, and served in the church there as well as in several other churches in Louisiana. In 1983, following 5 years as Headmaster of St. Matthew's Episcopal School in Houma, Louisiana, he came to Alabama to serve as an associate at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Mtn. Brook. He then served as an interim rector at St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands, Birmingham, until he was called to be rector at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Hoover, in 1987.

Johnson remained at St. Albans until his retirement in 2006. He then was asked to be an interim part-time rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Birmingham, Alabama, and remained there for 7 years. He served as Dean of the Birmingham Convocation for several years, and has been a long time member of Shades Valley Rotary Club.

The only child of a U.S. Air Force colonel, Johnson attended schools in many different places. Following high school graduation from Wiesbaden American High School in Wiesbaden, Germany, he attended Louisiana State University, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta and graduated in 1962. His marriage to Barbara Jane Boasberg in 1969 at Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans was eventually followed by the birth of a son and a daughter.

Loved by so many, Johnson is survived by his wife, Janie, his son Roberts R Johnson IV (Jade), his daughter, Wendy Johnson Burroughs (Brian) and his 6 grandchildren. Hunter, Preston and Justin Johnson and Jane, William and Samuel Burroughs. He is preceded in death by his parents Colonel and Mrs. R. Poinsett Johnson, Jr. of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The funeral service will be at St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 2:00p.m. Interment will be in New Orleans at a later date.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to all the loving and compassionate caregivers who so faithfully attended to Rev. Johnson at the end of his life.

Memorial Eucharist Remembers the Past, Looks to the Future

On May 15, 2018 during our Alumni Gathering, the annual Memorial Eucharist was held in remembrance of those members of the alumni community whose deaths had been reported to the seminary during the previous year. The preacher for the service was the Rev. Deacon Geraldine Swanson, Class of 2008, the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Following the sermon, Swanson was honored for her many contributions to the diaconal community of the Episcopal Church during her life of service. Swanson is the deacon to the Richmond Episcopal Ministry overseeing the development of new ministries on Staten Island, NY and helping existing congregations revamp their vision for the future due to changing demographics and resources. Read Swanson’s full biography here.

The Eucharist was celebrated by the Rev. Rita Steadman, Class of 1997 and President of the Alumni Executive Committee, with concelebrant the Rev. Susan Wrathall, Class of 2006 and V.P. of the Alumni Executive Committee. The Deacon was the Rev. Deacon Denise LaVetty, Class of 2013, who had nominated Swanson for the award and introduced her to the congregation. You can read LaVetty’s introduction here.

The service also included a special reading of the Prayers of the People by our Necrologist, Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Corney, who read aloud each name of our departed alums.  At the annual Alumni meeting later in the day, Dr. Corney was honored for his many years of service, having announced that he would be retiring from his post after this year. The 2017-2018 Necrology is available here.

Swanson preached on John 14-1-6 “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places”, looking to and celebrating the possibilities of ecumenism as a force of unification in the church. Acknowledging how much work still needs to be done to draw people together, she spoke to General Seminary as a place where “spiritual curiosity and intellectual creativity offer new and interesting dwelling places for all kinds of growth for all kinds of people doing all kinds of ministry to and with the people of God, helping, forming and informing traditional and non-traditional servant leaders, lay and ordained, priests and deacons to knock on the doors of those dwelling places, those rooms where for too long , we have been isolated in our thinking and in our perceptions, and let The Spirit that fills us all, work in each of us to further the Kingdom that we all can inherit.” Read the full text of Swanson’s sermon here.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was created in 2004 to recognize and hold up Seminary degree holders with both extraordinarily original, path breaking ministries and extraordinarily faithful, though quiet ministries. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Award. Click here for more information.

Click here to view photographs from the Memorial Eucharist and the Alumni Gathering.

A New Call for Walter Brownridge ‘00

The Rev. Walter Brownridge, Class of 2000, has been appointed Associate for Parish Life and Christian Formation (Interim) at Christ Church, Grosse Pointe, MI. He most recently served as the Dean of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu, Hawai`i from 2011-2016, and comes to Christ Church following a recent sabbatical in Nashotah, Wisconsin.

Prior to his appointment in Hawai`i, Brownridge served for five years as Associate Dean for Community Life at the School of Theology, Sewanee at The University of the South. His principal duties concerned the overall formation of seminarians for the priesthood and to facilitate their formation in a variety of aspects beyond their academic work. Dean Brownridge was also a faculty member who lectured in the areas of Missiology, Canon Law, and Ethics (focusing on Church and Society).

Prior to his appointment at Sewanee, Walter served The Episcopal Church and broader Anglican Communion in a variety of ministry settings. He has served congregations in Ohio, Delaware, New York City and South Africa. In South Africa he served as a Canon at St. George's Cathedral (Cape Town), the Mother church of the Anglican Communion in Southern Africa.

Before attending General, Brownridge graduated from John Carroll University with a B.A. in Political Science (1978). He also holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego (1985) and a J.D. from Georgetown University (1987), after which he practiced law for ten years as a federal prosecutor and in the area of public policy. While in graduate and professional school, Brownridge developed his political and academic interest in South Africa. Brownridge has written on South Africa from the diverse perspectives of law, politics, and theology.

He has been married since 1982 to his wife, Christina Nader - Brownridge. They are the parents of two sons, Alec Thurgood, a graduate of Brown University currently a corporate consultant, and Martin Desmond, a student at Georgetown University.


In Memoriam: David Jenkins ‘61

The Rev. Dr. David P. Jenkins, Class of 1961, died April 18, 2018 in Pompano Beach, FL at the age of 82. Canonically resident in Albany, Jenkins was Pastor Emeritus of All Saints Episcopal Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Born October 3, 1935, in South Weymouth, Mass., Jenkins was ordained in 1961 and served parishes in Rhode Island, upstate New York, the Windward Islands and most recently at All Saints in Ft. Lauderdale. Between 1970 and 1991, he also worked in the Division of Student Affairs at the University at Albany.

Jenkins is survived by his brother Alexander Jenkins III (Judy); nephews, Alexander Tuxbury Jenkins and Charles Jenkins; niece Edith Callaghan; great-nieces, great-nephews, extended family and many friends.

The Mass of Resurrection was celebrated Sunday, May 13, in All Saints Episcopal Church, 333 Tarpon Drive, Ft. Lauderdale. Internment will be at St. Paul’s in Portsmouth, R.I. on July 27 at 2 p.m. Please visit fredhunters.com to leave a message of condolence for the family.

A New Call for Richard Norman ‘93

The Rev’d Canon Richard H. Norman, Class of 1993, has joined the Diocese of Southwest Florida as Canon for Mission and Ministry. Norman was previously the rector of Grace Episcopal Church and School in Monroe, La.

Norman will assist Bishop Dabney Smith in matters pertaining to church planting, Hispanic/Latino ministry, campus ministry, and exploring new models for an evolving church.  He will also work with diocesan staff in continuing the School for Ministry Development, as well as work with the Commission on Ministry in service to the ordination process.

"For over two decades I have felt called to this very sort of ministry," said Norman, in a letter to his parish. "I am confident that the Holy Spirit has been at work."

Since 2013, Norman has served as Rector of Grace Episcopal Church and School, Monroe, La. His prior ministry experience includes service at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Minneapolis, Minn; Church of the Redeemer, Greenville, S.C.; All Saints, Chevy Chase, Md.; and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Abbeville, La.  He also served as priest in charge of parishes in the Diocese of London. He holds S.T.M. and M.Div. degrees from General, an M.A. and B.Sc. from Louisiana State University and has trained in Congregational Wellness, and Stephen Ministry. 

Valerie Bailey Fischer Appointed Williams College Chaplain

The Rev. Valerie Bailey Fischer, Th.D. candidate and Teaching Assistant in Anglican Studies and Church History, has been appointed as the next Chaplain at Williams College. She will begin her position in July.

While at General, Bailey Fischer launched The Good Shepherd Children’s Atrium Project, a program providing Christian Formation for children at General and its wider community, as well as a formative experience for seminarians who are interested in leading similar ministries. The curriculum in use, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, is more than 50 years old and based on the Montessori principle of inspiring the child’s “inner teacher” to explore materials in a child-oriented environment.

Bailey Fischer is currently serving as priest associate at Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit, N.J. She has more than 11 years of college chaplaincy experience and nearly a decade in ordained ministry.

Raised in West Philadelphia in an African American Pentecostal tradition, Bailey Fischer participated in several other Protestant traditions before joining the Episcopal Church as a young adult. She received her B.A. from Penn State University and her M.Div. from Union, and then became university chaplain at Framingham State University, where she helped students from a variety of religious, moral, and philosophical traditions form and strengthen their communities. In addition, she assisted students in planning creative rituals and liturgies that deepened their spiritual engagement. 

Through Bailey Fischer’s ministry’s strong foundation in social justice, which included Urban Pilgrimage, the unique experiential learning program she developed at Framingham State, she galvanized the student-led development of interfaith programming to encourage learning across traditions.

Her research at General examines the ancient order of female deacons from the early church, its late-19th century revival, and its role in the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church in the United States.

As chaplain to the college, Mother Bailey Fischer will support the vitality of the many religious, spiritual, and intellectual traditions at Williams through dialogue, outreach, and advocacy. In addition, she will provide counseling and spiritual guidance for undergraduates and foster community between students and their neighbors in Williamstown and the wider world.

 “I am inspired how the chaplains, faculty, staff and students [at Williams] are engaged in issues of faith and religion in a variety of ways,” Bailey Fischer says. “I am excited to be part of this process as Chaplain to the College.”