Notes from a Roving Professor: Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgy Ruth Meyers on the Road to CDSP

Prof. Meyers enjoy a few moments of casual collegial bonding with Sue Singer, Asst. Prof. of Ministry Development, during the annual faculty retreat.

Prof. Meyers enjoy a few moments of casual collegial bonding with Sue Singer, Asst. Prof. of Ministry Development, during the annual faculty retreat.

What a joy to be at CDSP! It’s been about as smooth a transition as I could have imagined. The timing of my move was dictated by two major summer commitments: teaching my last course at Seabury – a weeklong intensive in the joint Doctor of Ministry program with CDSP in congregational development – and General Convention. The D.Min. course, “Missional Liturgy,” is one I taught regularly in the Seabury program. Since I spent my 2008-2009 sabbatical working on a book about liturgy and mission, the course was a good opportunity to develop my thinking in conversation with students who are church leaders from around the U.S. and Canada.

In a nutshell, “missional liturgy” means understanding worship as an essential aspect of the church’s participation in the mission of God. By the end of my sabbatical, I had completed an article entitled “Missional Church, Missional Liturgy,” to be published in Theology Today next spring, and an article for Anglican Theological Review on leadership for missional liturgy. Eventually, that book will be complete! Soon after the course concluded, I travelled to Anaheim as a Deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Chicago. As secretary to the Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music Committee, I spent many hours in committee meetings, typing furiously to keep up with debate on the 63 resolutions assigned to our committee.

Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music Committee leadership: me; Sam Candler, Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, and chair of the deputy committee; Wayne Smith, Bishop of Missouri, and chair of the bishop committee. Episcopal Life General Convention Daily, July 14, 2009

Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music Committee leadership: me; Sam Candler, Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, and chair of the deputy committee; Wayne Smith, Bishop of Missouri, and chair of the bishop committee. Episcopal Life General Convention Daily, July 14, 2009

The Convention approved some very interesting new liturgical materials – Holy Women, Holy Men (a much expanded calendar of saints, to replace Lesser Feasts and Fasts, at least on a trial basis), and Rachel’s Tears, Hannah’s Hopes (prayers and liturgies for healing from loss related to childbearing and childbirth). Since I served on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music last year, it was good to see this work to its completion. Most gratifying for me at Convention, though, were the steps we took toward more fully including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the life and ministry of the church, while also reaffirming our commitment to full participation in the Anglican Communion. Over the past triennium, I have worked on these issues with a network of theologians, bishops, and other church leaders called the Chicago Consultation. I was particularly impressed with the generous and respectful conversations over the course of the convention. And it was a special joy to host events with guests from overseas.

After the excitement – and grueling pace – of General Convention, I had about 2 weeks with my husband Dan Prechtel to finish packing our home in Evanston, Illinois, and prepare for the move west. Somehow, it all got done – sorting, organizing, multiple trips to various recyclers, and countless trips to the dumpsters.

Dan Prectel checks out petroglyphs on the way to CDSP

Dan Prectel checks out petroglyphs on the way to CDSP

Our drive west was a good opportunity to recover. Though I’ve spent a little time in the mountain West, I saw parts of the country I’ve only flown over. The desert landscapes were amazing, and the petroglyphs at Grimes Point in Nevada were awesome.

And then, we arrived! I have been warmly welcomed by faculty, staff, and students, and we are learning our way around the East Bay, and around CDSP.

Editor’s Note: Professor Meyers hardly took a breather once she got to Berkeley. You can see her in action in the MDiv classroom in two short video clips on the origins of confirmation below or by clicking here to visit CDSP’s new YouTube channel.

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