Date: January 14, 2021
Discernment takes many forms. Sometimes the discernment takes place prior to the journey. Shall I book a summer vacation and if so, where? Shall I join this church or apply for this position? This discernment determines a trajectory – a direction. Then, at other times, the bulk of the discernment takes place on the journey. Yes, you need to decide whether you are going to get a puppy, but the precise impact on the household of the care for the puppy happens after the decision. (Plenty of teenagers promise to be  central in the processes of care, but often the parents do the bulk of the work.) Yes, you need to decide whether to buy this house, but the experience of the house and the management of the house happens after that decision. (Plenty of homeowners only discover how important it is to refit the bathrooms once they are in the house.)
The Board of Virginia Theological Seminary had been thinking about relationships with sister seminaries for over a decade – not just in the United States but around the Communion. In the November 2010 Strategic Plan, there is an explicit commitment to “developing partners to support theological education” (Outcome 3.1.3). And with our proximity to General Theological Seminary, there was always the possibility of some type of shared venture with our historic neighbor.
Now the second type of discernment starts. There are many ways this relationship could be shaped. We are inviting everyone interested in this opportunity to participate. What program opportunities will open up? How could our work on this campus change as we draw on the resources of two institutions? Just drop me an email with your ideas and your suggestions.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President