Date: April 28, 2022
It is not every day that we have the Archbishop of Canterbury and two of his senior staff on campus! The gift of his time honors Virginia Theological Seminary and we are grateful, so let’s begin the day with thanks to God, first, for the safe travels and the pandemic era science that have brought us to this place. Let’s also thank Dean Markham for extending the invitation to Archbishop Welby and for his modeling of leadership this week, in knowing when to step back, to assure his health and the safety of others.
The Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS) has been preparing for this day for over a year. Hospitality is the cornerstone of our Center and it is a privilege to extend it today to such a group, just as it is to extend it at other times of the year to those from across our family of churches, the Anglican Communion.
Visits like these are complex, with many moving parts. We have been helped by all parts of the institution. Dr. Robert Heaney first extended the Dean’s invitation back in 2019! Drs. Strout and Burnett have crafted two beautiful worship services for this visit. Vice President Melody Knowles will convene the Mollegen Forum. Not to miss is the special exhibit the Library team has put together on the Archbishops of Canterbury. (Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will also be coming in May.) Curtis Prather, Elizabeth Panox-Leach, Christin Lazo and Shelagh Casey-Brown have been publicizing the visit and the CACS Companions group since February and we are thrilled to welcome close to 150 Companions to dinner with Archbishop Welby and his team tonight. Reggie Gravina will be livestreaming the after-dinner discussion and Eric Nichols is streaming both the morning and evening services as well as the Mollegen Forum. Taryn Habberley, Vannessa McCormick and Tamika Martin in the Dean’s office have kept up with hundreds of emails and event and lodging requests. Roberto Johnson and Santino Dut are setting up the spaces to be efficient and welcoming. Vice President Jacqui Ballou and her team are overseeing the finances. Faculty members, students and staff are all contributing their support for this event.
Warm thanks to all of these individuals and teams and to others I may have missed for their excellent work and collegiality with CACS in making this all happen.
Now let’s enjoy the day!
The Rev. Katherine Grieb, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Anglican Communion Studies