Berkeley at Yale and Seabury-Western seminaries install new deans

November 19, 1998

On October 30, Dr. R. William Franklin was formally installed as the 12th dean and president of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale during service at Marquand Chapel on the campus.

Following a colorful procession of 110 faculty, trustees and church leaders, Bishop Clarence Coleridge of the Diocese of Connecticut presented Franklin to the congregation for affirmation. During presentation of gifts to the new dean, Yale President Richard Levin called Franklin "a distinguished scholar of Christian humanism and the modern ecumenical movement, a leader within the Episcopal Church and an outstanding educator. We are proud to have him at the head of the Episcopal seminary that flourishes within the Yale Divinity School (YDS)."

Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold said in his sermon, "In virtue of our baptism, we are called to be theologians: persons of attention to all the wild and disconcerting ways in which Divine Mystery, whom we name as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, manifests itself, unsettling our plans, toppling our fondly held notions, and stretching our hearts and minds to the breaking point…. One of the tasks of a divinity school id to instill a passion for theological reflection, and to teach the art of making connections between 'continuing in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers" and the force and stress, the demands and urgencies that life in this world and in this season sets before us."

Franklin said that he believes that Berkeley, "because of its affiliation with Yale, provides a unique bridge over which theological excellence and formation for ministry continue to flow into the Episcopal Church. I am proud to be a part of this endeavor."
Berkeley was established in 1854 in Middletown and moved to New Haven in 1928. It has been affiliated with YDS since 1971 but maintains a separate identity and oversight of Episcopal students.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, with a master's and doctor's degrees from Harvard, Franklin was associate dean and a professor of history and modern Anglican studies at the General Theological Seminary in New York. St. John's University in Minnesota, where Franklin taught in the Graduate School of Theology, sent a presidential citation that was read at the installation. "You used your role as an 'intimate outsider' to foster ecumenical understanding at local, national and international levels… Indeed, for many of us Minnesota Benedictines, you, a married Anglican layman, are considered to be far more articulate about who we are than we ourselves." Franklin served as a consultant at last summer's Lambeth Conference of the world's Anglican and Episcopal bishops.

Center at Seabury-Western
The Rev. James Lemler, former rector of Trinity Church in Indianapolis, was installed October 17 as the eight dean of Seabury-Western Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He succeeds Dean Mark Sisk, who was elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of New York.
The installation liturgy was a festive community event with students and trustees serving as lectors, acolytes, ushers and sacristans. Leading the long procession of bishops, deans, trustees and seminary faculty and representatives were jubilation streamer bearers tickling the heads of the congregation with 20-foot mylar streamers. The choir of Lemler's former parish joined the seminary singers in the anthems and hymns.

The role of the seminary should be to train leaders to "serve Jesus in all people and to lead their congregations beyond themselves and their own needs to the communities and people around them," said the Rev. George Brandt, rector of St. Michael's Church in New York, president of the Standing Committee in the Diocese of New York. The calling is not without risk, Brandt said, because serving Jesus can bring hurt and hatred, and for some, even death. "Without those wounds he would not be our savior, and without risking our wounds to ourselves and our institutions we are not following Jesus," he said.

Yet this is a challenge we cannot escape, "no matter how big our endowments are or how pretty our churches are," he added. The task is to bring the Gospel to the world no matter what the cost. We must ask ourselves if we are prepared to be a truly catholic church, or sit in our pews and talk endlessly about doing ministry, he said. "We don't do ministry, we live in Christ." Brandt decried the trend to ignore Jesus in the liturgy. "There is much about God, and some about Christ, but almost nothing about Jesus," he argued. "We as Christians can only know about God and Christ through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth." By down-playing and avoiding the mention of Jesus Christ we risk becoming "deniers of the incarnation," and therefore deniers of hope to the world's oppressed. Society's marginalized find faith and hope in the knowledge that Christ shared their sufferings, he said.

Leadership formation and congregational development have been at the core of Lemler's interest and experience in the church. He has worked with the Trustee Leadership Development program funded by the Lilly Endowment. He currently serves as chair of the church's Standing Commission on Domestic Mission and Evangelism and is an advisor to the Consortium of Endowed Parishes. His focus as dean, he said, will be in shaping leaders, both lay and ordained, for what he called "new, creative, and unique ways for ministry in the 21st century."