Date: August 21, 2023
“We the community of Virginia Theological Seminary, in response to the love of God in Christ, resolve to embody love, justice, peace, and respect for every child of God on this campus and in the world.” Comprising the opening sentence of VTS’s Seminary Covenant, these words suggest that we should love one another because God first loved us.
But loving others can be hard work! Especially when their behaviors, traditions, and perspectives are very different from our own or, worse, when they seem to be in direct conflict with our own. When we then factor in the realities of power and history (why are people from some demographics typically afforded more social and economic privilege than others?), the difficulties can sometimes appear insurmountable. We see this dynamic playing out every day across the United States of America.
In the Office of Multicultural Ministries, we believe that learning to live well in diverse communities presents crucial opportunities for growth. Growth is what educational institutions should be all about. Through our programming, we support the VTS community in growing to become a place where all people can thrive in the particularity of their own identities and cultures—in other words, where you do not have to “go along to get along” by leaving behind important parts of yourself to fit in.
As we head into the 2023-2024 academic year, we invite every member of the community to take a look at the Seminary Covenant afresh and ask yourself what opportunities for growth it may be placing on your path.
The Rev. Joseph D. Thompson, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Multicultural Ministries