Invitation to a Celebration of the NEW Theological Education

October 1, 1999

Dear Friends in Christ,

When did you last learn or teach something new about God? At home in Bethany, Mary sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching, while Martha was distracted with many things. Jesus commended Mary's choice, saying that she had chosen the better part. Even in Jesus' day the busy-ness of daily routines left little time for quiet reflection. Yet what is more essential to being Christian than listening for the voice of God in our lives? This is a vocation for every person of faith, lay and ordained.

In keeping with the resolution of the 1997 General Convention, I invite you to celebrate the new Theological Education Sunday (TES). Yearly, the first Sunday in February will be an occasion for the Church to encourage all members to participate in the search for knowledge of God. Theological Education Sunday will be a time to focus on a key aspect of mission -- to make readily available meaningful opportunities for growth in Godly knowledge, understanding and wisdom to people of all ages.

Theological education occurs in congregations, diocesan schools, and special programs. Corporate board rooms, hospital bedsides, prison cells and picket lines all can be places of revelation. We gain insight about our relationship to God when we reflect prayerfully on life's experiences in light of the Gospel.

In the past, TES was an occasion for the eleven Episcopal seminaries to appeal for support. The seminaries still need your active support, now more than ever. In 1982, the General Convention called for parishes and dioceses to provide regular financial support through the vehicle "1% giving".*

With the broad flourishing of lay ministries in the Church and in the world, our seminaries recognize that their mission is changing. They are striving to be leaders in theological education, not limited to the preparation of persons for ordination, in partnership with diverse local endeavors.

TES is an opportunity for your parish and diocese to highlight and celebrate the people and programs you offer for theological education. It can be a time to discuss how you might embrace this aspect of mission in new and more meaningful ways. The seminaries are ready to assist you in this mission. Choose the better part…

Sincerely yours,

The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold
XXV Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA

* Resolution A125 - calling upon congregations to contribute 1% of their Net Disposable Budget Income (NDBI) to one or more of the eleven accredited seminaries in a direct and regular manner