Date: March 4, 2021
This week close to 1200 church leaders are gathering online for the annual conference of the CEEP Network, a broadly-based membership organization that includes a wide range of congregations supported by various resources, such as land, buildings, active congregants, and endowments. This year’s conference is taking place virtually “in” Dallas and the hosting parishes are both VTS alumni-led parishes: Church of the Transfiguration, the Rev. Casey Shobe ‘06, rector; and St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, the Rev. Dr. Chris Girata ’08, rector.
Shelagh Casey Brown and Jeffri Harre have organized our participation and arranged for a wide variety of sessions from our staff and faculty. Curtis Prather prepared a special video for the conference that showcases our Seminary life in “COVID” time, and Elizabeth Panox-Leach’s expertise and skill ensured we had full participation in this new digital format.
Numerous VTS alumni are presenters on the program including Sarah Bentley Allred ‘19, Rev. Jimmy Bartz ‘99, the Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde ’88, ’08, the Rev. Bob Dannals ‘81, the Rev. Lisa Fischbeck ‘92, the Rev. Gayle Fisher-Stewart ‘15, the Very Rev. Gray Lesesne ’01, ‘13, the Rev. Grey Maggiano ’13, the Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers ‘11, the Rev. Canon Chuck Robertson ‘93, the Rev. Kathy Walker ’18, and the Rt. Rev. Rob Wright ’98.
VTS also has scheduled several topical sessions led by faculty and staff members, including the Rev. James Farwell, Ph.D.; the Rev. Ross Kane, Ph.D.; Lisa Kimball, Ph.D.; the Rev. Lorenzo Lebrijia; the Rev. Tricia Lyons, D.Min.; the Rev. Katherine Malloy; and the Rev. Carol Pinkham Oak, D.Min. In addition, there are two scheduled opportunities for alumni and friends of VTS to attend a Zoom conversation with me.
Our major gathering for alumni and friends will take place today from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The Rev. Judy Fentress-Williams, Ph.D. and Linda L. Dienno will host the gathering and were joined by Student Body President Donna Arrandell ’22 and Alumni and Church Relations Director Shelagh Casey Brown.
The Seminary is a member of the CEEP Network and as such, every member of the VTS community is a member of CEEP! A number of students have taken advantage of the flexibility of the online conference format this year and are participating. Visit the CEEP Network website to learn more about the additional resources offered throughout the year and how you can become better connected.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President