Monday, October 5, 2020

Date: October 5, 2020

Yesterday, I did my first adult education teaching at Grace Episcopal Church. The pandemic has led to numerous cancelled events, which, in a weird way (at least in this respect) has made things easier for me. However, I am very conscious that this is not true for all my colleagues. The Rev. James Farwell, Ph.D., has had a massive increase in events in service to the Church. Recently he contributed to the “Hope Incarnate” seminar, the third of these Lifelong Learning webinars that needed his expertise. Participants have been in the hundreds; two of the webinars reached nearly a thousand. In addition, I have seen his name on numerous consultations, panels, webinars, and teaching — consultations for the dioceses of Denver, New Hampshire, Western Mass, the brothers of SSJE; a video for ChurchNext on the importance of ritual in the home during this time; education events with parishes from Minnesota to Ohio, Washington DC to Florida, Illinois, Indianapolis, and others. In addition, Dr. Farwell makes highly imaginative use of Facebook. He uses his posts as a teaching tool – some of which are now going viral and being included in a collection of essays. Naturally, numerous alums and bishops are sending emails and making phone calls. In the end, my academic and theological interests are less important while we strive to do church in the midst of a pandemic. Dr. Farwell has led the way as he seeks to teach the church how best to think through sacramental theology in light of the pandemic. It is a service for James – the rector inside him is coming out; he wants share the best digital worship practices for the sake of those doing the hard work of leading congregations week in and week out in difficult circumstances. So on behalf of VTS and for the countless alums and friends you are serving – thank you. The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D. Dean and President

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