EDS in Transition | February 2024 Update

February 5, 2024 Transition News
EDS in Transition | February 2024 Update

Dear friends of EDS,

February 1, 2024 marks the start of Black History Month, a time for reflecting on the significance of Black history in helping the church and society to be that place where the humanity of all is respected. This is particularly resonant for me following EDS’ recent civil rights pilgrimage to Atlanta, GA, and Montgomery and Selma, AL. Led in partnership with the Diocese of New York, we bore witness to the moral courage of so many, known and unknown, who risked their lives not only for Black freedom, but to push the nation toward being a place where there is truly freedom and justice for all. To trace their footsteps was not only humbling but a call for each of us to do in our time what they did in theirs: get on the arc that bends toward justice, bending it even more until the very justice of God is made real.

Earlier in the month of January, I engaged in an Instagram Live conversation with Brittany Packnett Cunningham, a prominent activist, educator, and writer in the Black Lives Matter movement, renowned for her dedication to policy reform and equity. Our discussion centered around the concerning trends that diminish Black women's leadership and have eroded societal commitments to racial justice. This conversation reinforced my belief in the necessity of strengthening the Church’s resolve to building a more inclusive and beloved community. Later this month, I am looking forward to delivering the inaugural James H. Cone and Emilie M. Townes Lectureship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where I will focus on the meaning of divine justice in times like these.

This month's newsletter offers an array of valuable information, including updates on upcoming events, the latest developments in EDS' strategic plan, and a spotlight on EDS alum the Rev. Charles (Chuck Wynder) ’12 and newlywed alums the Rev. Noël Robinson ’86 and the Rev. David Robinson ’84. We are excited to share with you all that we have been working on and all that is to come.

As we progress through Black History Month, let us dedicate ourselves to exploring and appreciating the rich, diverse histories of Black communities. We invite you to actively join our events, partake in meaningful conversations, and seek resources that expand your understanding. Let this month be a springboard for sustained commitment and action in our collective journey towards racial justice and deeper understanding.

Transition News

Strategic Planning Update

As our consultant Katie Glover continues to engage leaders across the Episcopal Church and within theological education, two groups of board members are reflecting on EDS' missional focus and core values. The two groups will come together at the end of January to finalize their work and will share the results with the full board at their meeting on February 21.

EDS January 2024 Updates

  • New Website: EDS’ new website is live! Visit for transition news, upcoming events, and more.
  • Alum Resources: Resources for EDS alums, including transcripts, can be found here.
  • Alum Facebook Page: EDS has launched a new alum Facebook page! Click here to join.
  • New Address: EDS has relocated its office to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Our new address is Episcopal Divinity School, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025. Click here to read the press release.
  • New Phone: EDS’ new general phone number is (646) 713-0845. This line will direct you to extension numbers for staff.
  • Social media: EDS can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn. Be sure to follow if you aren’t already!
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Click here to read answers to frequently asked questions regarding Episcopal Divinity School's transition from Union Theological Seminary.

Transition News

Spirituality for Social Justice

How do we stay in the fight for a more just future when the arc that bends toward justice is long? How do we maintain hope? What practices, wisdom, sounds, and movements sustain us as we engage the work of social justice?

Join Dr. Kwok Pui Lan, Dean's Professor of Systematic Theology at Emory’s Candler School of Theology, and the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Interim President of Episcopal Divinity School, for a day-long exploration of spirituality for social justice. The two theologians will reflect on the practices, texts, and wisdom that sustain and inspire them. The online seminar will feature reflections, conversations, discussion groups, music, and liturgy. Special guests include the Rev. Dr. Alan Boesak, the Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, the Rev. Dr. Claudio Carvalhaes, Archdeacon Rosalyn Kantlaht’ant Elm, and the Rev. Jim Merritt.

Learn more and sign up here

Philadelphia Eleven Screening at St. Mary's

EDS is proud to co-sponsor a film screening of The Philadelphia Eleven at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, taking place on March 2, 2024. We encourage you to join St. Mary’s for this special Women’s History Month film screening of The Philadelphia Eleven: a story of the act of ecclesial disobedience that forever changed the face of the Episcopal Church.

Learn more and sign up here

Watch: EDS/EDNY Community Read with Jonathan Eig

On January 31st, EDS Interim President the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas and the Rt. Rev. Matthew Heyd, Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of New York joined Jonathan Eig, author of King: A Life to discuss the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Thanks to all who joined us for this engaging and important live online conversation.

Missed the event? Click here to re-watch

EDS/EDNY Civil Rights Pilgrimage

This January, EDS and the Episcopal Diocese of New York led a group of about twenty participants on a Civil Rights pilgrimage to Atlanta, Montgomery, and Selma. The group visited the Equal Justice Initiative Legacy Museum and National Memorial, the Edmund Pettus bridge, and other sacred sites of the Civil Rights Movement.

It was an honor to journey through Alabama with friends from the Diocese of New York and Emmanuel Theological College. Together, we bore witness to the manifold legacies of white supremacy and prayed for courage to lead the church into God's more just future.

EDS News

This past fall, EDS Interim President the Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Ph.D. spent the semester in Liverpool, UK, serving as the Honorary Professor of Global Theology at Emmanuel Theological College. Throughout her time there, President Douglas had the opportunity to nurture relationships with Emmanuel students, faculty, and staff, as well the broader Anglican communion in England. As we enter the new year, President Douglas took some time to reflect on her time in the UK and its impact on the future of EDS.

Click here to read the full story

Alum Corner

The Reverend Charles “Chuck” Wynder, Jr .’12 serves as the Dean of Chapel and Spiritual Life at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire.

“Episcopal Divinity School shaped and informs all that I do in ministry,” he shared. "The faculty animated my imagination, analysis, and embodied ministry at the intersection of theology, spirituality, justice and organizational life.”

Read Rev. Wynder's full alum spotlight here

In honor of Valentine’s day, this month we are spotlighting alums Noël Robinson ’86 and David Robinson ’84, who reconnected and married this past December after David lost his late wife Connie to Alzhimer’s.

“Words can’t describe the emotional rollercoaster these two years have been for us. It may sound corny, but we believe that the strong theological foundation we got at EDS helped us weather the stormy times.”

Read the Robinson's full alum spotlight here

We offer great thanks for your participation in EDS' listening process these past months. The honesty, wisdom, and feedback that has been gathered will inform the future of EDS and strengthen our legacy and impact as a theological institution.

Moving forward, we are excited to offer new ways of coming together. Join us on Zoom every third Thursday at 1pm ET for Connect: Monthly Gathering of EDS Alums, where we will connect with one another, hear about the diverse contexts EDS alums are serving in their work and ministry, and stay up to date on all things EDS!

The next Connect session will take place on February 15, 2024 at 1pm ET featuring Katie Holicky.

Registration is required—click here to sign up!

Alum Retreat—The Pause: Social Justice for the Long Haul

The work of social justice is not incidental work. It is not easy. To continue to be part of changing the world we must take pauses. It is in the pause that we find God, find hope, and find sustenance for the work. On May 11, join EDS Alum for a one day pause, as we reflect together through scripture, poetry, and prayer in the beautiful setting of Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center. Led by EDS Alums Dr. Elizabeth Magill and The Rev. Canon Lydia Kelsey Bucklin.

Learn more and register here

As EDS enters this transformative strategic planning process, we are confident that together we will shape a future that honors our rich heritage while embracing the ever-evolving needs of theological education. Stay tuned for more updates and exciting developments ahead!

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