On Tuesday of this week, I had the privilege of being the guest preacher at the Baptist service in the chapel at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. With great thanks to Jen Lessard, an American Baptist student and worship co-coordinator at the seminary, we had a wonderful time of worship together. It's been a long time since I preached in that chapel but, as tends to be the case, it still smells exactly the same. Ever noticed how a smell can bring back more and stronger memories than a sight can? I took one step over the threshold and was right back to the days of stumbling into chapel services, exhausted from papers and classes and meetings, looking for a little peace and the presence of God.
And yes, I saw that same facial expression on the students who joined us for worship on Tuesday. Strung out but hopeful at the same time.
I was thrilled to see so many area clergy accept the invitation to join the students, faculty, and staff at the seminary for worship and then a reception afterwards. Nothing like the promise of cookies to get people to come together! We had a great time meeting folks we hadn't met before, reconnecting with folks we hadn't seen in awhile, and rubbing shoulders with the ones we run into on a regular basis.
There has always been a connection between the school and the region, and it's one I hope to continue to see strengthened and deepened in years to come. Perhaps its because I'm an alumnae and remember so well my days as a student there, trying to fill my head with knowledge while at the same time trying to discern what God was actually calling me to do. I was fortunate in having three older sisters who had attended seminary before me, two of whom then became ordained clergy--I had a built-in support network. But still, I relied on my friends, my field ed supervisors, and others who had gone before to help me navigate all there is to navigate in that experience.
I pray that the clergy in our region will continue to reach out and support our students because they are, indeed, "our" students, even those who aren't American Baptist! We have the privilege of being able to walk alongside others who are starting out on the journey we've been on. We have the joy of having our own calling renewed and revitalized by being in the presence of those who are just discovering their call. We have the responsibility of supporting and encouraging the emergent leadership that is a greatly-needed part of today's faith community.
I have a personal commitment, as executive minister, to continue to host regular events with or at the seminary to provide the opportunity for some relaxed conversation and networking among students, faculty, staff, and area clergy. I hope you'll be able to come along next time.
After all, there will be cookies.
Rev. Dr. Sandra Hasenauer
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