The definite highlight of our work at the Center for Anglican Communion Studies this summer has been a virtual study leave we hosted for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Archbishop Welby had planned to take his leave here on campus, but travel restrictions made that impossible — so like most every other event this year, we put it on Zoom.
Archbishop Welby requested a focus on the theme of reconciliation, which has been a hallmark of his time as Archbishop. Out of many options we presented to him, he chose a focus on leading thinkers and case studies in three areas: racial justice, ecological reconciliation, and ecclesiological reconciliation.
Working closely with Dean Markham, we secured presentations over three mornings from Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D. and the Most Rev. Michael Curry on antiracism, Kris Norris, Ph.D. on the intersection of racial and environmental justice, Nalini Nadkarni, Ph.D. on forging relationships between scientific and faith communities for ecosystem protection, and Dr. Robert Jones on the mainline churches, overcoming past racism and possibilities for the future.
Case studies were included each morning to allow a focus on particular contexts. Archbishop Welby heard from VTS’ Ebonee Davis on the Seminary’s reparations project, the Rev. Canon Peter Kreitler ‘69 on preserving land from development through ecumenical channels, Martha Franks ‘97 on indigenous water rights in New Mexico, and the Rev. Molly James, Ph.D. on the Episcopal Church in statistics.
Archbishop Welby also had the benefit of a small group of stellar conversation partners each day. We were honored to have the Rev. Canon Cornelia Eaton, ’18, Catherine Meeks, Ph.D., the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, the Rev. Gwynn Chrichton, ’20, the Rev. Melanie Mullen, ’12, the Rt. Rev. Gregory Brewer, ’76, the Rev. Valerie Mayo, ’19, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, ’78, Amber Noel, Ph.D, the Rev. Canon Chuck Robertson, Ph.D., ’93, and the Rt. Rev. George Sumner.
We hope to be able to share short clips of some of the most helpful parts of the conversation soon. Stay tuned!