The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South

Give to The School of Theology

Theological Education Sunday

Theological Education Sunday (TES) is officially recognized on the first Sunday in February. Click here to read more.

Letter from a Class Steward

One of the “perks” of serving on the Alumni Council for The School of Theology is that it gives me an excuse and an opportunity to revisit the campus twice a year. It’s been 50 years since I first found my way to Sewanee, following an AAA Trip Tick along twisting mountain roads that barely had route numbers and through towns that were known only in Country/Western songs.  Why in the world would my bishop want me to come to a place like this, when I would be so happy in the D.C. area or New York City?

Today I slip up the mountain on a remarkable section of Interstate engineering. Much of what I find is very different. The pack of free-range dogs is gone. Some of the old buildings have been reconfigured and new ones built. The dreaded Gailor Dining Hall has been replaced by a world class eating facility. A new Sewanee Inn is under construction right now, and it will be stunning. Very few of my old friends are still on the mountain.

But much remains the same at Sewanee. Hospitality reigns supreme. Worship is inspiring and stimulating. A sense of culture and gentility endures. And as I talk to students, faculty, and staff, I recognize the excitement of a very special learning community committed to preparing the best possible priests to go down from that mountain and carry the Gospel of Christ into cultures and venues all over the world. The enthusiasm, joy, anxiety, and creativity exceed even that of my own memories.

As I talk with alumni in the “classes of old” for which I serve as steward, the two comments that I hear over and over are: “Sewanee really gave me what I needed to be a priest” and “I don’t know where the dean found the money to help me make it, but I arrived with nothing, and they made it happen.” I imagine it happened because some caring alumni made it happen. And now, it’s our turn.

This year’s incoming class is a young class. Their resources are limited, but their energy, enthusiasm, joy, and commitment are abundant. We need that energy and enthusiasm in our church just as fast as we can get it. We have to make it happen, you and I. We have to do for them, what someone once did for us.

The Rev. Richard Oliver Bridgford, Class of 1968.