January 31, 2009

An Unfulfilled Promise

Filed under: Trinity School for Ministry — William Witt @ 7:21 am

I had posted what follows below shortly after having arrived at Trinity School for Ministry.  I was just adjusting to the new life of faculty and was disappointed at how little time this left for blogging.  I have since discovered that there is no letup to the responsibilities of teaching at a seminary.  Some of us have suggested that this has something to do with the Calvinist heritage of the place.  We’re all trying to prove we’re elect by putting in as many hours as we can.

Seriously, in some ways teaching in a seminary is more time consuming than teaching at a university or college,or doing full-time IT support.  There are a lot more responsibilities besides teaching classes.  All the faculty preach in chapel.  All the faculty are advisors to students.  All the faculty participate in the day to day governing of the seminary–from discussing curriculum, to student evaluations, to discussing finances.  We all promote the school in various ways.  We go to conferences. We contribute to the Theological Journal, and other publications. We have responsibilities connected with the current Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion crisis.  We teach not only on campus, but online as well.  It is a lot to do.  But I think we all love it.  And we love the students.  Or we wouldn’t do it.  But it makes blogging difficult.

I decided to add a blog to my website last January after having received complaints that people would like to be able to comment on what I had written. I had hoped that blogging might become a regular discipline. Shortly after my first few posts, however, my life was interrupted first by the unexpected death of my father, and then, by the more happy request to interview for a teaching position at Trinity School for Ministry. Since that interview, the last several months have been consumed with preparing to teach two courses I had never taught before, packing up and saying goodbye to old friends, moving to Ambridge, unpacking, saying hello to new friends, and now, the first few weeks of teaching.

So far TESM has exceeded my wildest expectations. Despite the general craziness that comes with moving to a new place–one of the movers commented while unloading one of my dozens and dozens of boxes of books, “You sure must like to read”–being here has brought me almost unmitigated joy. There are new surprises every day. This morning we heard Bishop Mouneer Anis preach in chapel, and then speak afterwards to the faculty and student body. He is the Primate of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East. His diocese includes not only Jerusalem, but also Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, and Algiers. He brought greetings from the Global South Primates and assured us of their support for the “remnant” of faithful Anglicans/Episcopalians in the United States. When I was a child I used to dread the Sundays when the missionaries brought in their slideshows, but Bishop Mouneer visibly moved a packed auditorium as he talked about the work of Anglican Christians in an overwhelmingly Muslim part of the world. I was moved. My jaded cynicism is having to fight hard to stay alive here.

Now that I am a little more settled I’ll try to do more to keep in touch with my readers.

Grace and Peace,


Originally published September 19, 2007

January 27, 2009

Why Not Leave? A Followup

Filed under: Anglicanism — William Witt @ 6:35 am

“Why Not Leave?” was one of the first blog posts I did, and the most popular. It received over 14,000 views. A lot of the people who viewed it at the time misread it as an apology to stay in the Episcopal Church, but that was a misreading. If you read to the end I make clear that I believed there would be a separation of the ways between orthodox Anglicans and TEC, and I believed at the time it would happen sooner rather than later.

There were a couple of things that I did not anticipate when I wrote this. First was that the Archbishop of Canterbury would subvert the process of disciplining the Episcopal Church by (1) disregarding the deadline set by the Primates at Dar Es Salaam; (2) guaranteeing that the Lambeth Conference would exercise no discipline by inviting all the TEC bishops who had participated in Robinson’s ordination, and (3) by turning the Conference into a series of Indaba groups where no substantive conversation could take place, and no decisions made. (more…)

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