The Gifts of Seminary Life

Date: June 12, 2023


As I watched graduation online last month, I was reminded of my own graduation in 2008. Having been in parish ministry for 15 years I still value the formation I experienced on our beloved holy hill.

The voices of professors still ring in my ears and not just their lectures but also their subtle and direct notes, corrections, interpretations, and coaching.  As mentors their example and lessons still support me in my calling.

The presence of staff members — those who served meals, kept the grounds and buildings functioning, updated routers and bunches of things that I never saw (and still don’t understand) – instilled in me the value of gifted administration and holy servanthood which I strive to bring to the parish I serve.

The questions of classmates helped me to see things that I had overlooked and to rely on the counsel of others.

The challenges of field education (now known as CXM) and colloquy gave me a chance to realize I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) try to do everything.

The community gathered, in all its beauty and brokenness, for worship, meals, and fellowship shaped me as one who is called to gather in others.

As the class of 2023 leaves our holy hill, they are taking more with them than they realize.  I wish them every blessing possible.


The Rev. Sven vanBaars ’08

Rector,  Abingdon Episcopal Church, White Marsh, VA 

Class Steward, Class of 2008 

Co-Chair of the Class Stewards and AAEC Member

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