Date: May 31, 2022
This week members of the Alumni Association Executive Committee (AAEC) are our Commentary contributors. AAEC President Billy Alford ’92 begins the week with a message to the Class of 2022.
Dear VTS Graduates of the Class of 2022,
It has been my deepest honor to represent the VTS Alumni Association by serving as President of the Alumni Association Executive Committee (AAEC) for the past two years. I want to congratulate you on becoming the Seminary’s newest alumni and members of our Alumni Association. It’s a large and unique community of close to 3,300 ordained and lay leaders serving in over 50 countries worldwide.
You have lived through a historically strange three years that included COVID-19, and you have emerged with your values and adaptability to your credit. Now you join a group that recognizes your hard work and holds you responsible for acting in ways your fellow alums, the Church, and society at large expect of you. And your fellow alums stand ready to assist you in all your endeavors.
VTS builds leaders for the Church. All the communities you will become part of will expect you to bring the skills and standards you’ve acquired during your time at Virginia Seminary. You have already mastered the rhythm of prayer, study, and community. So, let it guide your vocation going forward. You will make mistakes and face bewildering challenges, but your support has just grown much larger, if you make use of the experience of other alumni. The Alumni Relations office offers opportunities for virtual and personal connections with your classmates and other alumni, as well as alumni program opportunities. The Seminary has a wealth of resources available to you. The world is yours to enter and the Alumni Association is here to help.
Remember also, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. All we ask of you is that you remember VTS, so that it will be around to help your successors benefit from your experiences as you have benefitted from those who preceded you. VTS alumni respect the common threads that all of us have and realize that our paths are more similar than we might have thought. Those common experiences, acquired at VTS, will hold us together and model a spirit of generosity and unity for the Church.
Next year the Seminary marks two hundred years of educating men and women for ministry. We have a proud heritage to cherish and a great legacy to pass to the next generation and the Church in the third millennium of Virginia Theological Seminary.
In closing, let me again congratulate you again and welcome you to the Alumni Association. Please believe that the theological education and training you have received at VTS will be your key to a successful ministry. You’ve been prepared to meet new challenges with flexibility and confidence; and some assistance from those who went before will undoubtedly smooth the path for your particular journey and ministry. Please keep in touch. Others will benefit from your leadership in the future.
In your service,
The Very Rev. Billy J. Alford ‘92