Posts Tagged ‘Church Divinity School of the Pacific’

When Scientists Reflect on their Walk with Jesus

Posted on: February 14th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews


Society of Ordained Scientists

When members of the Society of Ordained Scientists gathered at CDSP earlier this month, it was to share how they traverse the worlds of faith and science, how those journeys shape their ministries, and how their ministries can influence their communities.

“Everyone in the Society, in some way, has had two careers, has held authority in science and the church,” said the Rev. Lucas Mix, PhD, who is warden for the Society’s North American Province. Mix, an adjunct faculty member at CDSP, received his MDiv from the seminary in 2007 and his PhD in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard in 2004. This year he is a research fellow at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, where he is investigating astrobiology and society.

“All of us have this language that we have learned from being church geeks and science geeks,” Mix said, “and there is something wonderful about being with people who speak your language. Being able to talk to each other allows us to put things in new ways.”

In addition to Mix, attendees included CDSP President and Dean Mark Richardson and the Rev. Dr. Marilyn M. Cornwell (MDiv ‘06), rector of Church of the Ascension, Seattle. Both were presenters (download Dean Richardson’s presentation), as was the Rev. Dr. Ted Peters, research professor emeritus in systematic theology and ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at Graduate Theological Union. Both Cornwell and Peters (from whom Mix took a seminary course in religion and science) were accepted as new members during the retreat.

Also attending was the Rev. Deacon Josephine “Phina” Borgeson (MDiv ‘74), the Rev. Robyn Arnold (MDiv ‘08), the Rev. Barbara Smith-Moran (DMin ‘09), and the Rev. Dr. Robert Russell, director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences and professor of theology and Science at Graduate Theological Union.

Founded in 1987, the Society of Ordained Scientists has more than 100 members and holds a yearly retreat in the United Kingdom, where it was founded. Additionally, it meets every two years in the United States. This year’s meeting was the first to be held at CDSP.

Most Society members serve in parishes, and according to its website, “[i]ntegrating science and theology, reason and faith is not just a work for scholars; it is something all of us have to do every day, as God calls us each in our own time and place.”

Mix understands that call. “My work is largely labeled science and religion,” he says. “There’s also this question of synthesis; how do I bring my faith and my knowledge together? It’s all about faith and understanding. I think it’s a question of speaking about Jesus and speaking about science in the vernacular.”

Presenter Marilyn Cornwell, a lifelong Episcopalian, said “The deep lessons of my scientific training prepared me well for the pilgrimage of faith as an ordained scientist.”

Cornwell was a scientist with a PhD in biochemistry when she joined the faculty of a cancer research center and conducted research on how tumor cells become resistant to chemotherapy. She also had been asked by her church to be a link between spiritual care and health care for cancer patients she met through the church.

“I began to be a resource for Episcopalian and Anglican patients from all over the place coming to Seattle for bone marrow transplants,” Cornwell said. “At the beginning I found it quite odd—I mean, although a person of faith, I was just a simple lab geek, a true science nerd; but I just kept getting these invitations to be a bridge for patients and families as they left their everyday lives and entered the bewildering world of high-tech health care.”

Through those accumulating experiences, she felt her call. Cornwell went to seminary, completed her MDiv at CDSP in 2006 and was ordained in 2007. Now, as rector of Church of the Ascension in Seattle, she witnesses first-hand the value of the Society of Ordained Scientists.SOSc-8467

“It provides support for its members who are in the forefront of providing resources and connections, and unfolding the link to science for people in the pews in the church, and people outside the church,” Cornwell said. “At least the people in my parish, who are highly conversant and educated in the sciences, want to know how do we make sense of the stories of our faith, with galaxies being burst out like milkweed seeds (as seen on Hubble Space Telescope images)? How do we make sense of God and the fact that there is other life on other planets? How do we make sense of the Holy Spirit and a techno-cultural milieu dominated by data-driven science?

“People from the outside looking in need to know that the church isn’t stuck in the 1400s in its ideas about the world. And people on the inside need to know how to live in relationship with what we call God in the context of their lives.”

Deacon Phina Borgeson, who holds both an MDiv and a DD from CDSP, has attended all kinds of forums and conferences on science and faith. But the Society of Ordained Scientists offers something she hasn’t found elsewhere.

“I really joined simply because I had been timed out of the (Episcopal) Church’s Committee on Science, Technology and Faith,” she said. “One of the things I really like about it is, it is not task-oriented like the committee was. I like that you see people that you might be going to a conference with, and you pray for one another daily. It’s a different way of dealing with people.”

She appreciates the camaraderie.

“There is a kind of loneliness, when you think about the number of people in science who are people of faith,” she said. “This is a place where you can be out about your faith.”

Borgeson, a Radcliffe graduate with a major in biology, teaches at the School for Deacons on the CDSP campus. She lives in Santa Rosa and recently retired from paid church work redeveloping small congregations.

She has a long history of ministry development and involvement in food system ethics. She was director of the Faith Network Project for the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, founder and lead organizer of the Sonoma Valley Gleaning Project, and for years served as Episcopal News Service’s correspondent for science and the environment. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative in Sebastopol, California.

Borgeson said she hopes the Society of Ordained Scientists will become more influential in promoting the integration of science and theology.

“I think in seminaries today, there are opportunities,” she said, “but sometimes what happens is the academic work is done by a small cadre of the faculty and it still hasn’t touched the mainstream of the seminary or the church. How does it impact our preaching? How does it impact our hymnology?”

It can be difficult, she said, for scientists who enter seminary to focus on the convergence of science and faith because “if they moved from science to a career in a church, there’s where their energy is going to go, to finding a church, finding a job.”

CDSP makes the convergence much easier.

“With Mark (Richardson) being so squarely in the place of understanding that need and the movement, CDSP is in a better place to give any seminarian, whether they have an interest in science and faith, some exposure in the field.”

During her years as a scientist and as a person of faith, Borgeson has seen a positive shift in the conversation.

“There are some issues today, particularly environmental issues,” she said, “which are a lead-in to look at the dialog of the convergence of science and faith. The early years of church-based environmental activism tended to be romantic and elitist. It was a movement primarily among the privileged with an emphasis on preserving wilderness. Now food security and food sovereignty have made a sound connection between the plight of the world’s poor struggle for survival and the environmental movement.”

Why be concerned by the connection between faith and science? In her recent presentation to the Society, Cornwell summed it up this way.

A recently retired professor of New Testament who is a member of the parish asked me on Sunday, “How much science does the person in the pew need to know to live meaningful life? How much theology?” I don’t have the answer to his questions.

I do believe that the answers to the questions at the intersection of science and faith matter. Why? Because people care.

You and I both know that most of the people in my parish could care less about the fact that the paired spins of electrons in orbit around the nucleus of an atom are energetically entangled, but they do care about how the very energy in and of the space between us connects us to one another and to what we call God.

Some of the people I encounter in parish life do care about the ethics of human cloning and they care more about hope of gene editing to cure diseases like muscular dystrophy and HIV.

Many care deeply about the connection between the science of climate change because they care about deep ecology of humankind and creation with the Divine. The answers to their questions about science and faith do matter to those who seek a deeper relationship with the Holy One.


  Church Divinity School of the Pacific e-newsletter,  January 29, 2016

Societas Liturgica elects Lizette Larson-Miller president

Posted on: August 26th, 2013 by CEP Administrator No Comments


Larson-Miller with Prof. Dr. Martin Stuflesser, Societas Liturgica president-elect (left) and Gordon Lathrop, Societas Liturgica past president (right), in Würzburg

Larson-Miller with Prof. Dr. Martin Stuflesser, Societas Liturgica president-elect (left) and Gordon Lathrop, Societas Liturgica past president (right), in Würzburg


[Church Divinity School of the Pacific] At its 24th Congress held in Würzburg, Germany from August 5-10, the members of Societas Liturgica elected Church Divinity School of the Pacific professor Lizette Larson-Miller as the organization’s president.

Larson-Miller, who is the Nancy and Michael Kaehr Professor of Liturgical Leadership 
and Dean of the Chapel at CDSP, specializes in liturgical and sacramental theology and Eastern Christian liturgy. She has taught at CDSP and the Graduate Theological Union for eleven years and previously taught at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend) and Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles). She holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California
, and M.A. from St. John’s University
 and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union.

Societas Liturgica, an international society for liturgical study and renewal founded in 1967, encourages research in the field of worship and allied subjects, explores the pastoral implications of such research, seeks to deepen the mutual understanding of liturgical traditions and seeks to make clear the relevance of liturgy in the contemporary world. 


Episcopal News Service,  August 26, 2013

Malcolm Boyd at 90: Still writing, still ‘running,’ still inspiring

Posted on: June 7th, 2013 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Pat McCaughan



[The Episcopal News, Diocese of Los Angeles] These days, the Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd prefers quiet revolutions to the public upheavals that have distinguished his life and times for decades.


The Hollywood executive turned Episcopal priest, Freedom Rider, anti-war and gay rights activist, author, playwright, social critic and church revivalist will be 90 on June 8 and has been busy being filmed for a documentary about his life.

“This is the first time anyone has made a film of my life,” he chuckled during a recent telephone interview from his Los Angeles-area home, adding: “I just show up and I’m filmed.”

On April 27, Los Angeles filmmaker Andrew Thomas was on hand to document the Lambda Literary Foundation’s 25th annual benefit event OUTWRITE! honoring Boyd and other celebrated West Hollywood LGBT literary pioneers.



Malcolm Boyd, photographed for an interview after the 1965 publication of Are You Running With Me, Jesus? a book of unconventional but deeply devout prayers that made Boyd an international celebrity.


Perhaps best known for Are You Running with Me, Jesus? “a little book of prayers” he wrote in 1965, Boyd still is working, both as writer-in-residence of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and as a regular columnist for the Huffington Post, exploring issues of life, death and aging gracefully, with his characteristic sense of humor.

Like a recent column about attempts to renew his driver’s license that ultimately yielded the desired result.

“Let’s just say I’m legal now,” he laughed.

Despite his advanced age, “Retirement wasn’t a reality, obviously. It’s kind of a process,” Boyd said. So is reflection, and the documentary undertaking by the award-winning Thomas has offered ample opportunity for that.

“Malcolm and Mark (Thompson, an author and Boyd’s partner of 30 years) and I went to Grace Cathedral and walked the labyrinth. He spoke at some events,” Thomas said during a recent telephone interview. “We’ve done four interviews with Malcolm so far; we just sit in a room quietly and we don’t deal with questions; we deal with themes and see where it takes us.

“Malcolm has forgotten more than I’ll ever learn,” added Thomas, who hopes to complete the film in time for a fall release. Thomas has written, produced and/or directed highly acclaimed episodes of such TV series as “COPS” and “Modern Marvels.” He has received several Emmy award nominations for work on the History Channel, A&E, Discovery and the Sci-Fi Channel. His 2009 film “The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi” about the jazz great has accumulated five film festival Best Documentary awards.

Ironically, it was that film which led him to Boyd, he said.

“Guaraldi composed ‘Cast Your Fate to the Wind’ and the music for ‘Peanuts’ and I realized that Malcolm worked with Vince twice in his life,” Thomas recalled. “[Vince] composed all the music for the very first jazz mass at Grace Cathedral and Malcolm did the sermon and then a month later, Malcolm did a series of performances at the hungry i [a café in San Francisco],” he recalled.

After some initial checking, Thomas discovered Boyd was alive and well and “living about two miles from me,” the filmmaker recalled. “It was a wonderful, serendipitous moment to know that one of your heroes is still alive.”

Even more serendipitous has been his discovery of historical “reel to reel” film footage of Boyd and other unpublished materials, along with interviews of people from seminal moments in Boyd’s life.

Like a conversation with Penny Liuzzo, daughter of Detroit homemaker Viola Liuzzo, who was part of a group that met weekly at Boyd’s apartment during his Wayne State University chaplaincy days. Viola Liuzzo was so inspired by Boyd’s civil rights activism she left home and family to work for voter rights. She was murdered on March 25, 1965, the last night of the Selma, Alabama, voting rights march.

And like Woody King Jr., “the great actor who worked with Malcolm on ‘A Study in Color’ and ‘Boy’ and a lot of those somewhat subversive plays Malcolm did about racism back in the early 1960s,” Thomas said.

“[King] said Malcolm would never bring up religion or Christianity … but after working with him for a few weeks, they all realized they were inspired to go back to the word.

“[Malcolm] inspires people to go on their own journey,” Thomas said. “It reminded me of the time we were taking a walk and Malcolm said, ‘the point here is not to spend your life looking for God but to allow God to find you.’ It’s typical of his way of twisting the traditional mundane approach to life and trying on a different hat and looking at it from a new perspective.

“It’s part of his incredible deep well of empathy. That’s just who Malcolm is.”


‘Trailblazer, truth-teller, courageous witness,’ reluctant hero

Boyd was born in Buffalo, New York on June 8, 1923 to fashion model Beatrice Lowrie and financier Melville Boyd, “an alcoholic and womanizer. I later understood him and conducted his burial service. His father was an Episcopal priest, but he died so young,” Boyd said.

After his parents divorced in the 1930s, Boyd and his mother moved to Colorado. He survived bouts of atheism during his undergraduate college years, and made his way to Hollywood where he worked as a junior producer before entering seminary in 1951.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1955 and after extended studies, became Colorado State University chaplain four years later. There he was dubbed the “espresso priest” for his talks given in coffee houses and bars.

He has written more than 30 books and is considered an icon for righteous social struggle and a hero to many, including author Nora Gallagher and gay rights activist the Rev. Susan Russell.

“There are so many things I could say about Malcolm Boyd as a trailblazer, truth-teller, and courageous witness to the power of God’s inclusive love,” said Russell, a blogger, Huffington Post contributor and senior associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena.

“It is no exaggeration to say that his Are You Running With Me, Jesus? fed the hunger of a generation of people who had given up on the church or anyone connected with it having anything relevant to say. His willingness to put his faith into action by marching in Selma to end segregation was a powerful witness to what former Presiding Bishop John Hines called ‘justice as the corporate face of God’s love,’” Russell said via e-mail.

“And his example as an out-gay priest in a time when such a thing was practically unimaginable was – and continues to be – an inspiration to all who work for the full inclusion of LGBT people in this church and in this country,” added Russell, a gay rights activist.

Gallagher, a parishioner at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara and author of “Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic” (Alfred P. Knopf, 2013) said in the foreword of a reprinted version of Running that Boyd’s famous book of prayers “made it possible for me to imagine a church that had something to do with what was happening in the world, to see that the work of the faithful is to expose injustice.”

Yet, Boyd is reluctant to take credit for being an icon for social justice for many, or even a hero to some.

He does acknowledge sacrificing personal privacy for public persona, for “belonging to the church” even as early on as 1951, when he dissolved his partnership with Hollywood stars Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers to enter the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.


In the 1940s, Malcolm Boyd was a business partner of film star Mary Pickford before he departed the Hollywood scene in 1951 to attend Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

In the 1940s, Malcolm Boyd was a business partner of film star Mary Pickford before he departed the Hollywood scene in 1951 to attend Church Divinity School of the Pacific.


Again, with characteristic humor, he quipped that at his going-away party “with a lot of celebrities, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper said that everyone, including the bartender, bowed their heads for the Lord’s Prayer.”

But “it was all new ground,” he said recalling tumultuous decades of his life. “I had no textbook. What happened came out of a very strong sense of responsibility because I realized that I was speaking for a number of other people who did not have a voice.”

It meant frequently running afoul of authorities, both church and civic. While Boyd was serving as Colorado State University chaplain, students flocked to his coffeehouse campus ministry but “the bishop, without coming to look at the work, characterized it as “beatnik” and said, “you can’t call yourself a beloved child of God if you have matted hair, smell badly or wear black underwear.”

“To me, this was blasphemy,” Boyd recalled.

“I thought, if this was the church, then to hell with the church because it wasn’t the church of Jesus Christ. And if it wasn’t the church of Jesus Christ, then let me get out where I could breathe fresh air. Then, I answered him, that yes, you can call yourself a beloved child of God if you have matted hair, smell badly or wear black underwear.”

He moved on, invited by then-bishop of Michigan Richard Emrich to serve as Wayne State University chaplain in Detroit. His activism in full swing, he demonstrated with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as well as Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal seminarian who was murdered in Selma, Alabama in August 1965 by white supremacists.

“I was involved in an enveloping process,” Boyd said.

“The summer of ’65 was the hardest,” he said, recalling his own harrowing close calls with white supremacists and feelings of alienation and fear.

In 1977, he came out as gay. “At this point, you could throw your hands up and scream, because what do you do with a story like this?” he said, laughing. “Here’s Malcolm Boyd, with all of this — terribly controversial — and now on top of everything, he’s a queer?”


Malcolm Boyd and author Mark Thompson have been a couple for 30 years. Photo/Mary Glasspool

Malcolm Boyd and author Mark Thompson have been a couple for 30 years. Photo/Mary Glasspool


Back in Los Angeles, he served local parishes, continued writing and public speaking engagements and met author and photographer Mark Thompson, his life partner of 30 years.

He now considers himself an elder and his life “an odd story, to put it mildly. It was quite a lot to live through, so I’m grateful to anybody who helped — and a number of people did.”

Aging and the prospect of turning 90 brings yet new “surprises. It’s like being on the Titanic. You’re out there on the ocean and somebody spots an iceberg. It ain’t going away.”

He added that: “Wouldn’t it be great if all of us — you and I, for instance — might take ourselves a wee bit less seriously?

All kidding aside, he still accepts occasional preaching and speaking engagements and is spiritual director to about a dozen people. Always the activist, he adds: “I accept myself as an elder. I think elders need to analyze their own position in society and in some cases argue with society about what their position is because I think there’s all sorts of stereotypes about elderly people right now.”

Perhaps his own experiences could still serve as a primer for the church: “There’s too much talk about the future of the church and meetings and discussions,” he said. “If you have faith, the main thing now is to move, one foot ahead of another, and to trust in God.”

As always, Boyd looks to the future with hope, adding: “Let’s do this again in 10 years.”


Episcopal News Service,  June 7, 2013

Reading Camp takes literacy to the world

Posted on: August 25th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Matthew Davies


Cameroonian teacher Evelyn Andom volunteers this summer at Reading Camp’s pilot program in Tiko. Photo/Carolyn Hockey

[Episcopal News Service] About one billion people read the world in a different way. According to United Nations statistics, they are 17 percent of the global population aged 15 years and above who are saddled with illiteracy, unable to read this article.

For the leaders and volunteers of Reading Camp, an Episcopal Diocese of Lexington ministry that’s gone global, illiteracy – defined by the U.N. as the inability to read and write a simple message in any language – is not an option. Educating and empowering the next generation, instilling self-confidence and creating new opportunities are among the program’s main objectives.

The Rev. Joseph Ngijoe and his wife Clemence from the Anglican Church in Cameroon had dreamed of building an international partnership to help children who are struggling to read and write in the West African country, where 1 in 4 people, out of a population of 20 million, are illiterate.

Friendships forged in 2009 – while studying at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California – paved the way for the Ngijoes’ dream to become reality. Reading Camp Cameroon was born in mid-June this year with a week-long pilot program held in Tiko, bringing together Episcopal Church ambassadors from the United States and a team of Cameroonian teachers, all volunteers.

Clemence Ngijoe described the program as a creative and vital tool to breaking the cycle of poverty and ignorance.

“We know that ignorance is a blockade to social development and that reading is a foundation for knowledge. A person who does not read is like a blind person and is limited in all aspects of life,” she told ENS. “Reading shares love, care and blessings in the family, at school, in the community and in the world. It is a ministry of God’s love, compassion and self-discovery.”

Reading Camp, Ngijoe noted, also is integral to fulfilling the second Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education.

“A well-educated child will contribute immensely to society,” she said. “Reading Camp assists children not only to learn but also to develop self-confidence.”

About 45 children, aged 8-11, arrive for another day at Reading Camp Cameroon. Photo/Petero Sabune

The three lay ambassadors, from the dioceses of Atlanta, Lexington and Ohio, joined the Ngijoes and more than 20 local teachers in delivering the program to about 45 campers, mostly aged 8-11, in Cameroon.

Joanne Ratliff, a senior lecturer in language and literacy at the University of Georgia, described it as one of the most spiritual experiences of her life.

She said that the teachers and children who participated in the camp “were a blessing to me on a professional and personal level … The children brought joy to my soul showing their love of learning. All came with an open heart and an open mind.”

In contrast to the United States, many Cameroonian schools have “up to four times as many students in classrooms with wooden benches, a chalkboard and chalk, and little else,” Ratliff explained. “The school building we worked in was described as a good school, but probably would have been condemned in the U.S.”

Twenty-one teachers showed up every day for no pay during their school holiday, Ratliff said. “They worked with children all morning and then came and worked with me for another hour. I never heard a single complaint. In fact, their gratitude was overwhelming.”

Beauty showed up every day with her book tucked under her arm. She wanted to read, but she was too young to join this year’s program. Maybe next year. Photo/Petero Sabune

Carolyn Hockey, 19, from Cleveland, in the Diocese of Ohio, said that Reading Camp Cameroon was so successful that other children in the neighborhood “tried to sneak into camp, seeing how much fun everyone was having, and how much they were learning.”

Hockey spent five years volunteering and counseling at camps in Lexington and helped to launch the first Reading Camp in the Diocese of Ohio, at her home parish of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. She said she feels “most connected with God” when she’s at Reading Camp.

“It’s not just a literacy program. It’s about building the self-confidence that young people need, particularly those who are struggling with reading. Gaining the confidence to try is half the struggle of reading for a lot of children,” said Hockey, who is spending the summer in Cameroon before beginning to study political science and religious studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

“Another beautiful thing about Reading Camp is that it enriches the lives of everyone involved,” she added.

Allissa Ferguson, 25, agreed. “Doing Reading Camp gives me hope,” she said. “I have seen the transformation that happens in the children and it reminds me that God does move in the world. I have also felt that transformation in my own life. At first I didn’t realize how special it was, but now after several years I see that Reading Camp is like a ‘mountain top experience’ like those mentioned in the Bible.”

Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Ferguson began volunteering for Reading Camp while studying at the University of Kentucky in the Diocese of Lexington. She got involved in the university’s campus ministry, and joined the Episcopal Church in her freshman year.

Ferguson said the experience “creates space for the Holy Spirit and empowers me to stay positive even when I am frustrated. The kids themselves are a huge inspiration for me. Their hard work shows me that what we do really works and that anything is possible.”

One of the 45 children, aged 8-11, who attended Reading Camp Cameroon. Photo/Carolyn Hockey

Reading Camp, Ferguson said, also represents a new beginning. “We don’t just teach reading skills; we create a safe, loving space for [the children] to grow and then give them the tools to do it. It is about a transformation that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

Hockey described the Cameroonian teachers and camp volunteers as dreamers, noting that they are already talking about expanding the camp to include five different weeks next year.

“If anyone can do it, it’s them. They are so driven,” Hockey said.

The Rev. Petero Sabune, Africa partnerships officer for the Episcopal Church, visited Cameroon to see the Reading Camp program in action.

“To see, hear and experience the joy of the team in Cameroon was amazing. It was nothing short of a miracle,” he said. “Watching children come and adults welcome them to read was what we all waited for each and every day. To read and be read to is heavenly. I imagine heaven is where you have all the books and all the time.”

The journey that led to Reading Camp Cameroon began in 2002 when former Bishop of Lexington Stacy Sauls, now the Episcopal Church’s chief operating officer, “dreamed of a program that would bring together the resources of the diocese … to address some of the region’s most pressing problems: illiteracy, poverty, and the general malaise and hopelessness that accompany them,” Allison Duvall, executive director of Reading Camp, told ENS.

According to a federal study published in 2009, an estimated 32 million adults — about one in seven — in the United States have such low literacy skills that they would be unable to understand the instructions on a pill bottle.

Identifying a “below basic” level of literacy in third and fourth graders can help to halt or reverse those numbers.

Reading Camp volunteers communicate with school systems, asking teachers to nominate struggling students who are at least one grade level behind in reading to attend the program, Duvall said.

During camp, she said that each child receives more than 15 hours of personalized remedial literacy instruction in small groups or one-on-one with trained teachers and volunteers.

In addition to bolstering their reading skills, the children “enjoy afternoon activities that are structured to build confidence, self-awareness, and develop strong characters, all the while incorporating life skills and interdisciplinary learning,” said Duvall. “Campers learn to swim, ride a horse, or rappel down a cliff face – and these successes transform their approach to learning to read.”

By 2008, Reading Camps had been held at eight different sites in the Diocese of Lexington, as well as in Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, and South Africa.

The South Africa program, launched in Grahamstown in 2007, is still going strong five years later and local leaders are talking about spreading Reading Camp to the other dioceses in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

One of the most pressing problems, Duvall said, has been in creating a sustainable growth model, “which would assist others in starting their own Reading Camps without detracting from the funding or quality of programs in the Diocese of Lexington.”

In response, the Reading Camp Network was established to support the expansion and growth of the ministry throughout the United States and the rest of the world, said Duvall.

Churches and organizations that wish to start a literacy program based on the Reading Camp model can now join the network and access the training resources.

Whether held in Lexington, Cleveland, South Africa or Cameroon, the Reading Camp volunteers describe the experience as being transformational for all participants, children and volunteers alike.

Abbey Clough, a young adult volunteer at the Pine Mountain Reading Camp that was held in late July in Kentucky, said that it has been a vehicle for her own “vocational discernment … [It] sheds away some emotional brick walls that I put up.”

She said that the children have opened up her heart and the volunteers have become like brothers and sisters.

Clough, 19, a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, spoke about two former campers who now volunteer at Reading Camp as junior counselors. “They showed up not able to say the alphabet or write their own names four years ago,” she said. “Now they’re junior counselors who are no longer living with emotional brick walls. They were so closed off when they first came here. Now, they watch out for the other kids. [It’s] a concrete example of … the effect that Reading Camp has on people … Those two have melted the hearts of the people who have been on this staff for the last four years.  We are so invested in them.”

Clough is one of the many young adult counselors who volunteer their time to Reading Camp every year, often paying their own way to join one of the programs.

The Rev. Chris Arnold, rector of St. Mary’s Church in Middlesboro, Diocese of Lexington, and a first year volunteer at Pine Mountain Reading Camp, said that time and again, “Scripture shows God opening the eyes of people to better possibilities, brighter futures, the promised land and the Kingdom. Reading Camp reveals God’s method of helping people to discover new potentials and fresh delights.”

Meanwhile, Cameroon’s Clemence Ngijoe is just grateful that the camp has built on its successes in the United States to broaden the program globally. She said she values deeply the friendships that have been built “within our communities and far away” through the program.

“We now form a very large international family,” she said. “This has once more taught us about the notion of Ubuntu (an African concept meaning ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’) and oneness despite our cultural or geographical differences.”


– Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter of the Episcopal News Service.


Episcopal News Service, August 23, 2012

CDSP announces new full-tuition scholarships for ‘Bishops’ Scholars’

Posted on: July 13th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments


Partnerships with Episcopal bishops combine tuition for laity and postulants with post-graduation jobs

[Church Divinity School of the Pacific] Church Divinity School of the Pacific today announced a new Bishops’ Scholars program that will provide full-tuition scholarships at the seminary for students identified as leaders by local Episcopal bishops.

The new scholarships for students in either lay or clergy career paths also feature a promise by participating bishops of at least two years of employment for each Bishop’s Scholar following graduation from CDSP.

The Bishops’ Scholars program, approved by the CDSP Board of Trustees in May, offers a response to two critical needs of the Church – the ability to attract strong leaders and to provide them with employment opportunities – said CDSP President and Dean W. Mark Richardson.

The first Bishops’ Scholars are expected to arrive in the Fall of 2013 and will pursue one-, two- or three-year programs of residential study, depending on their course of study. The new scholarship program was announced in Indianapolis, Ind., at a meeting of Province VIII deputies to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, which opens July 5.

The Bishops’ Scholars may pursue graduate degrees or academic graduate certificates offered by CDSP, as postulants or laity.

Richardson said that the Bishops’ Scholars program is “more than another new scholarship” because it creates covenants between CDSP and diocesan bishops in support of the Church and community: CDSP commits to provide tuition-free scholarships; diocesan bishops commit to employing graduates in appropriate clerical or lay positions for at least two years, with compensation appropriate for the position in accordance with normal diocesan pay standards.

CDSP Bishops’ Scholars will be nominated by diocesan bishops based on demonstrated leadership as servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for their desire to learn. CDSP envisions that approximately 10 scholarship recipients each year will pursue residential Master of Divinity, Master of Arts or graduate Certificate programs and that students will come from the US and abroad. It is expected that Bishops’ Scholars will meet or exceed normal CDSP academic admissions requirements; CDSP will work closely with diocesan bishops to support their selected candidates in making successful admissions applications.

“The Bishops’ Scholars initiative represents a creative and timely collaboration between CDSP and dioceses seeking to help worthy candidates for lay and ordained leadership in the church obtain an excellent theological educations,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., Bishop of Ohio.

Hollingsworth, who was a member of the CDSP Board of Trustees that created the Bishops’ Scholars program, said the fact that the program “challenges and motivates dioceses and their bishops to provide post-seminary positions that will continue the formation of those graduates will do much to attract exceptional leaders for the future.”

“I look forward to the Diocese of Ohio taking advantage of this great opportunity.”

The new scholarship program complements other available CDSP scholarships for the wide variety of residential and low-residential degree and certificate programs that CDSP offers for both clergy and laity. For more information about the Bishops’ Scholars programs, e-mail For information about the range of CDSP options for theological education, go to, or e-mail


Episcopal News Service,  July 12, 2012