Convocation and Reunions 2011: Coming home to what is in your heart

By Jerry Henry ’80 M.Div.
Chair, Yale Divinity School Alumni Board

“Homecoming is coming home to what is in your heart,” or so said that famous person we know as Anonymous.  That exact sentiment could be invoked in the case of Convocation & Reunion 2011, which was indeed a homecoming for those who were able to attend!

HenryReunion classes gathered to share stories of what has occurred personally and professionally since student days. Many other alumni and friends came to hear the challenging and inspiring lectures and other timely presentations. Others came back just to revel in the excitement of being at YDS in the fall.  The Alumni Board honored the achievements of four alumni representing diverse forms of ministry at the Annual Alumni Dinner and, during the Annual Alumni Meeting, attendees heard interesting YDS student and admission statistics from the Dean’s yearly presentation of his “Book of Numbers.” A performance by the Sacramental Winers showcased the creativity and talent (and fun!) that emerges from theological students studying together in community.  We all enjoyed celebrating “coming home” to what was in our hearts.

So, in many ways, this year was no different from past Convocations and Reunions. Yet, Convocation and Reunion Week is not just about remembering the past—it is also about looking toward the future.

As we look toward the future, for some, there is the recognition that we are all getting a little older and perhaps may not get back to Marquand Chapel as often as in the past. Next fall, a new dean will be leading YDS after Dean Attridge concludes his second five-year term in office.  Another group of students will have graduated and transitioned into various forms of ministry during a very complex and complicated time for the church and the world. And a new group of wide-eyed, inquisitive, eager-to-learn students will take their place in the classrooms, the Common Room and hallways. As much as we would like things to remain as we remember them, things will have changed.

No, we don’t know what the future holds, but we do know what is in our hearts about this special place.  If you couldn’t make it to Convocation and Reunions week this year, I hope you’ll be able to come back home to YDS one day soon.

I promise: it will do your heart some good.

Posted: 11/06/2011