Nobody about to be baptized promises to make regular retreats. Neither does anybody about to be ordained. The annual parochial report wants to know your Average Sunday Attendance, the number of children in your church school, how your number of baptisms stacks up against your number of funerals, and the vector of your balance sheet, but it does not demand to know whether or not the parish schedules retreats or quiet days for its members, or keeps them informed about opportunities for these experiences in other communities.
Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, will lead “45 Years of ‘Being Christian’: Rowan Williams at General Seminary” in the seminary’s annual Paddock Lectures. The presentation will feature his bestselling catechetical work, Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer in addition to his reflections on a life of ministry, academia, and ecclesiastical leadership.
When asked about the importance of this conference, Stace responded, “Religious institutions have an opportunity to save lives.” She went on to cite several studies that indicated the significant decrease of depression and suicide rates among transgender people and discovering a genuinely affirming religious community.
Artist and Spiritual Director Heather K. Sisk received her M.A. in Spiritual Direction from General in 2010 and has returned as a Middler M.Div. candidate. Her original sculptures on the theme of Mary Magdalene as spiritual guide, first exhibited at General in 2012, are now on display in the lobby of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Library.
This project is based on the subject of Sisk’s Masters Thesis and was funded in part through a grant awarded by the Episcopal Evangelism Society in 2010. These pieces act as three dimensional icons to accompany a retreat based on The Magdalene as role model for a spiritual journey which is accessible to all of us. The retreat has traveled since 2012.
As Sisk describes the project:
“Mary Magdalene as disciple, witness, and prophet is one of our strongest role models for understanding the elements that emerge as one enters into a spiritual journey. This installation explores the arc of The Magdalene’s witness through healing, discernment, abiding, and transformation. For hundreds of years the emphasis on her character as a prostitute has overshadowed her vital role as a close follower of Jesus and the first witness to the resurrected Christ; obscuring her significant example of spirituality. These four sculptures are dedicated to spiritual elements I believe The Magdalene exemplifies for us, and are always intended and extended for the community in her prophetic exclamation, ‘I have seen the Lord!’ These elements do not follow in a necessary order but cycle within us as we grow into deeper awareness of the movement of the divine encounter.”