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.