These are challenging days. From across the country, hard questions are being asked about values, priorities and plans for the future. In his first news conference, the President referred to this time as “the winter of our hardship.” Leadership from the churches and the non-profit community are proving to be of crucial importance in local communities. It is a moment of great opportunity as people everywhere embrace the need for change and express the desire to contribute to the common good. As an alumna of YDS, I am encouraged and proud to hear stories of the many invaluable contributions being made by YDS alumni.
As the recently elected president of the YDS Alumni Board, I am writing to share encouraging news of the work of the Board and to invite your involvement as an alum of YDS. As you know, under the leadership of Dean Harry Attridge, YDS has been thriving. All of us who visit the Quad are invigorated by the vibrant worship and community life as well as the energy and engagement of the students in a wide variety of issues and activities.
Beyond life on the Quad, YDS continues to give leadership to church and world by providing resources on critical issues. In 2008, YDS hosted major initiatives engaging issues of faith and globalization; religion and environment; Black religion in the African Diaspora; immigration; Christian-Muslim relations; and security and non-proliferation. As alums we can feel proud that YDS is providing such leadership and thankful that, even from a distance, we can participate. All of the major conferences and external lectures at YDS are webcast and archived on the YDS website and can be viewed anytime. In addition to the webcasts, YDS is expanding resources available to alums and congregations. A new “Yale Bible Study Series” for use in congregations is now on the YDS website, and each issue of Reflections has supplemental resources for adult study on the website. There is a virtual educational smorgasbord of resources available!
For those of you who are able to travel to New Haven, Summer Term offers an excellent array of continuing education courses on a wide range of topics—the 2009 course listings are no exception! One more wonderful opportunity to visit the Quad occurs each October during Convocation & Reunions. I find the Beecher lectures to be another great source of continuing education and spiritual nourishment, but the best part of Convocation is always fellowship with YDS friends, new and old (or perhaps “seasoned” is a better word!). You may want to go ahead and mark your calendar for October 12-15, 2009.
Over the last several years the Alumni Board has been rethinking how we might better serve YDS alumni. At this fall’s annual meeting of alumni a new mission statement was adopted and the Board was reorganized. We started with the question “What does it mean for an alum to have a meaningful lifelong relationship with YDS?” We hope you will help answer that question. As alumni, we represent a diversity of vocations, talents and interest, and I hope that in the years to come we can all work with YDS to develop programs of outreach and engagement that will offer great encouragement and support to those newly entering ministry as well as creating community among generations of alumni.
We are seeking nominations of people to serve on the alumni board, and volunteers to serve as class agents, secretaries, and in other volunteer capacities. We hope that you will help us identify persons with time and talent who can provide leadership as we build a community of alumni for the years ahead. Board nomination materials are on the YDS website. We are also interested in receiving nominations for distinguished alumni awards. Each year we are honored to recognize four alums for their faithful leadership in the church and in the world, and perhaps there are alumni friends you think should be recognized. Please let us know about them using the online form.
The Divinity School has many wonderful resources that we hope you will find serve you well in your own life and ministry. To ensure that you hear about these opportunities, be sure we have your e-mail address so that you receive the monthly e-mail alumni magazine: NOTES FROM THE QUAD. If you are not receiving it and would like to, please forward your e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to your participation and continued connection to YDS. We welcome your stories, suggestions and input. Please feel free to call on any of the board members.
May God continue to bless you in your work and ministry.
Mary Ellen O’Driscoll ’02 M.Div.
Yale Divinity School Alumni Board