I send warm New Year’s greetings to all our friends in the wider community of Virginia Theological Seminary with hopes that you have had a joyful Christmas season.
I am so thankful for the College’s partnership with VTS and its Center for Anglican Communion Studies which I believe has been mutually fruitful for a good number of years.
There are many, many disappointments caused by this dreaded pandemic and certainly, one of those is that our usual group from VTS will not be able to come to the annual study pilgrimage this January. However, through the wonders of technology, we will be making a real connection.
This month we are delighted to share three new videos with the VTS community. Please look for them on January 11 on the Center for Anglican Communion Studies Facebook page and on the VTS YouTube channel. First, I will share with you a short introduction to the work that we do at St. George’s College; then our Course Director, Mary June Nestler and I will give you a flavour of our study pilgrimages. In our third video, we will look forward to Lent (it will be upon us surprisingly quickly), and I will share with you what you can expect from the Lent Study Course we are producing called ‘A River Through The Desert’. This is a six-week course for individual or group study looking at the geography of the Holy Land, how it shaped Jesus’s ministry and how it can deepen our faith.
One of the most special things about coming to St. George’s is simply our context. Firstly, the Cathedral Close where we are situated gives a beautiful place for our students and pilgrims to be based for most of their time in the Holy Land. There is the Cathedral itself, the Guest House with its beautiful courtyard and then the College’s own very pleasant environment of the grounds and rooms. All around us are the lovely gardens which are stunning and peaceful all year round.
Perhaps the most significant thing about our situation here is that we are only ten minutes’ walk from the Damascus Gate, which is our nearest entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. There we can easily explore the intriguing narrow streets of the Holy City and we can soon find our way to the sites of very special significance to Christians, Muslims, and Jews. At the end of every visit, our students are delighted to return to the College’s grounds which people so often describe as their ‘home away from home’.
I look forward to seeing many of you this month for this alternative experience of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. I hope this will start your new year with an engaging and inspiring experience and that you will remain healthy and safe.
The Very Rev. Canon Richard Sewell
Dean of St. George’s College