Tokyo's Rikkyo University Opens Its Doors to Ukrainian Students
A Report from Jerusalem
Voorhees College Becomes A University
New College Heads Across the Globe
Concluding Word Cloud results for: What is needed at your college to rebuild a flourishing community?
The ‘New Normal’In an Unsettled World
Love, empathy, trust – those were key terms in the Word Cloud that helped open CUAC’s sixth global seminar on April 27 as 53 participants tackled the theme of “Building Flourishing Communities” in a time of COVID, inflation, climate crisis, and widespread violence.
A Word Cloud is a way of visualizing the frequency of words that appear online when a group of people are given a particular text or asked a question. Repeated key words appear in larger and larger type as the responses flow in. So how do CUAC institutions flourish amid so many difficulties?
Confidence, focus, faith, prayer, openness, risk, presence, the Holy Spirit, vision, flexibility, healthy interactions, support systems -- those were some of the concepts that emerged to set the tone for a discussion that stretched across 17 time zones.
CUAC is “a unique community,” said the seminar’s organizer, the Revd Dr Jeremy Law, Dean of Chapel at Canterbury Christ Church University (UK), “and this strangeness is to our advantage.” We form “a kind of therapeutic community” ever stretching towards new understandings and practices. This is ultimately a theological task, suggesting “a shared DNA” between universities and religious communities – “an open relationship with what is real, rather than with an imagined reality.”
Some sites for this flourishing, he said, would include physical environment, spontaneous social interaction, a sense of belonging, paying attention to the present moment, creativity, sport and physical activity, and generosity to others. “We need to be ready when things go wrong.”
Four speakers filled in the details.
Dr Gisela Luna, an expert on nursing education who is in her first year as President of Trinity University of Asia in Manila, outlined the steps taken when a sudden surge of the virus struck the Philippines in January just as a new term was beginning. Suspended classes, a lockdown, rampant household infections, financial difficulties for health services students – all these were met with a “TUA Cares” program drawing together colleges, chaplaincies, guidance and student affairs personnel, and community outreach centers.
The obligation of “caring” meant meeting students’ spiritual needs, for example with memorial services for the departed as part of the healing process. The obligation of “empowering” meant a drug-free campus, emphasis on the importance of respiratory care, and teaching the science of climate change. Of prime importance was “addressing the learning gaps” for students who had limited access to classrooms and colleagues – “the new normal,” given a pandemic as devastating as COVID. “What kind of students will we encounter,” she asked, when they return to campus?
Joshua 1:9, she said, would offer them comfort: “Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The Revd Gill Reeve, Chaplain at the University of Chester (UK), spoke of “re-charging chaplaincy” in a time of COVID – an effort that involves engaging students, creating “community hubs,” collaborative projects, and shared resources within the university. She has been working with four interfaith student advocates, for example, to develop these “hubs,” which include, for example, creating new “zones” in a building – spaces for art therapy, mindfulness, games, study, a drop-in café, and community activities centered on a kitchen and a garden. She cited the power of “the outside coming in to cheer us up.”
Of great importance, she said, is simply listening to students.
Collaborative programs in the visual arts, dance, music, miniature book-making, and the like bring such students together and are helping her learn how to reshape her work as their chaplain. Work in progress includes developing a concept of the eco-church and of compline-type services on campus.
The Revd Dr Eric Chong, who is Master of St John’s College, University of Hong Kong, and a medical anthropologist, told of how over the past 15 years he had transformed an institution known largely for sports into one modeled on an Oxbridge system of personal tutorials and an emphasis on character-formation. Teaching Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, and Cicero’s essays on wisdom and virtue had been an integral part of this, as was the mentoring of younger students by older ones. New students go through a rigorous orientation week that includes one-to-one meeting with all current students and learning their names.
The Omicron variant hit the College very hard in January but seems to have peaked by March. Meanwhile, students are tested daily, he said, with those testing positive put into quarantine or self-isolation, with food and other help supplied by fellow students.
“The College was able to survive,” he said. “It is a place very divided in its views, with rich political discussions, but it never gets out of hand.”
The Revd Nita Byrd, a musicologist and liturgist who is a Dean at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in upstate New York (USA), spoke of helping students “lead lives of consequence” with a view toward “the world as it could be.”
What students are grappling with just now, she said, were “existential questions of identity, of finding one’s place of belonging in a college community” into which they were having to re-integrate themselves after a long lockdown. She said paying attention to physical and social aspects of college space was essential to helping them through this.
“Keep It Simple” is her motto. “Seek the Spirit in everyday simplicity – eating, drinking, mobility, walking together, laughing.” Gathering around food is of special importance after so much isolation. Getting students to cook together is even better.
“And there’s a need to get outside.” Building a labyrinth on campus for walking meditation, she said, engaged bodies fully as students laid stones and shoveled gravel, using fieldstone “as a memorial to some transitional moment in their lives or some loss experienced in COVID.”
She spoke of the challenge posed by “students who are on campus but don’t want to come out of their room.” How do you get them out? Food trucks, fire pits in cold weather, laser shows, “something that will invoke their senses.”
Summing up these reports from around the CUAC world, Dr Law said he was struck by the degree that “for students, college is becoming transactional – getting what you need, then moving on – a service they can opt in or out of.” The “soft learning” opportunities valued in the past have diminished. The split is between a university “as a place of genuine belonging versus ‘here is where I go to get my degree’.”
The Revd Dr Peter Neil, chair of the CUAC board and Vice-Chancellor of Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln (UK), came to another conclusion. Listening to the seminar’s international perspectives, he said, had “whetted my appetite for the 2023 Triennial in Melbourne.”
The Rt Revd Dr Renta Nishihara, President of Rikkyo University in Tokyo, writes: Rikkyo University is committed to receiving Ukrainian university students who are fleeing the Russian invasion and wish to continue their studies in Japan. We will explore ways to identify interested students and the concrete support we may provide with our partners in both the public and private sectors.
One of the picture books that I cherish is entitled The Mitten (Tebukuro). It was published in Japan in 1965 and is based on a Ukrainian folktale. It has been loved and read in Japan for more than half a century, and you may have memories of having read or listened to it as a child. Evgenii Mikhailovich Rachev, the author of this picture book, studied at the Design Department of the Kiev Art University. The story goes like this. An old man and a puppy were walking in the forest. The old man drops one of his mittens. A mouse gets into the mitten and decides to live in it. Then a frog comes and asks to be included. After that, a rabbit, a fox, a boar, a wolf, and finally a bear enter the mitten, and even though the little mitten is about to burst, everyone gradually makes room for each other, sharing the warmth of the mitten.
Historically, Ukraine has been tossed about between various ethnic groups and nations. I believe that the picture book Tebukuro depicts the ideal society of the Ukrainian people, where everyone is not excluded but given a place to belong and live together.
Today, the situation in Ukraine is the exact opposite of that ideal. I heard the tears and cries of the children of Ukraine in the midst of their fear. Their precious lives are being taken away. Last spring, we issued the "Rikkyo University Declaration of Human Dignity" and we position real collaborative action by all the students, faculty and staff who make up Rikkyo as this university's most important task. In it, we state as follows: The word 'dignity' is derived from dignitas in Latin, which has the original meaning of 'having a value in its existence'. The existence of all living things created by God has value, and that value must never be diminished. That is the core doctrine of Christianity that has been the principle for Rikkyo since its foundation.
War and the use of force are the most serious forms of violence against the ultimate dignity of the human person. We pray, hope and demand that all fighting cease immediately and that the safety of the people of Ukraine and a peaceful society be restored as soon as possible.
A Report from Jerusalem
The Very Revd Canon Richard Sewell, Dean of St George’s College, writes from Jerusalem: The effects of the pandemic have retreated and life in Jerusalem is beginning to return to something approximating to normality. Two years’ absence of pilgrims has had a devastating effect on the life of St George’s and on many lives in the Holy Land. However, thank God, the College has officially reopened, all staff have returned to full time work and pilgrim groups are starting to arrive once again.
There is a new course director, Rev Dr Rodney Aist, who did a stint in this vital post some six years ago. He begins his new chapter here as the key teacher at a significant moment for the College as we build up our number of pilgrims again on the study pilgrimages we run throughout the year.
Politically the situation remains very delicate, so there are continuing threats to the stability of the College and the flow of pilgrims. However, the deeply rooted injustices affecting the Palestinian Territories continue to drive resentments and do not disappear when the international media looks elsewhere. We benefit from the steadfast ministry of Archbishop Hosam Noaum, who was installed last May. We ask for your prayers for this city and for these lands: for Jews, Christians and Muslims as we all seek a path towards coexistence and ultimately to peace with justice. Pictured: The Revd Richard and his and wife JulieAnn
Dr Gisela Luna was installed as the third president of Trinity University of Asia on April 5th, 2022. Dr Cleofe Kollin, president at Easter College, presented her with a Compass Rose tile on behalf of CUAC.
Voorhees College Becomes a University and Installs a New President
Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina, officially became a university in April, more than a century after it was founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright.
“This undoubtedly is a time of great joy and jubilation,” Tuskegee University President (in photo) Dr Charlotte P. Morris said. Morris spoke during Voorhees University’s Founder’s Day Convocation.
Voorhees was founded in 1897, becoming the first HBCU established by an African-American woman.
Morris lauded the tenacity of Wright, who forged her way toward the creation of what was initially called Denmark Industrial School despite meager finances and having already dealt with white arsonists who torched the first school she had established. Quoting the words of Booker T. Washington, Morris said, “Success always leaves footprints. We are here today standing in the footprints of Elizabeth Evelyn Wright.”
Morris said Wright, who studied at Tuskegee and was a protégé of Washington, was an example of how to stay focused on your objectives despite obstacles, as well as how to “let go of pride” in order to obtain better things in life.
Morris said Wright initially didn't want any help when she started fundraising, but soon secured needed seed money from philanthropist Ralph Voorhees, whose great-great niece, Nancy Voorhees, and her son, Kevin, were also in attendance at the ceremony. (He also helped found another Voorhees College in Vellore, India).
Dr Ronnie Hopkins was installed as the tenth president the next day on April 8, 2022.
A Report from D.R. Congo
The Revd Dr Kahwa Njojo, Rector of the Université Anglicane du Congo, writes:
Insecurity continues around the town of Bunia, where our University is located. There are many displaced people who are in Bunia without sufficient assistance. We thank God that the classes are progressing despite the insecurity. Keep praying for us, the displaced, and the orphans who are suffering.
Dr Christine McPhail was installed as the President of St. Augustine's University on April 28th 2022. Pictured from left: the Revd Canon Martini Shaw, Dr McPhail, Chaplain the Revd Hershey Mallette Stephens, Canon Callaway, Assistant Chaplain the Revd Sallie Simpson
Canada’s Renison Seeks Students Eager To Improve Their English
Renison University College, an Anglican affiliate of Waterloo University in Ontario, offers a wide range of intensive English as a Second Language courses, taught within a Canadian residential university setting. Small classes with highly trained instructors are combined with everyday immersion experiences outside the classroom to ensure rapid success.
Renison’s ESL courses include: English for Academic Success, designed to prepare students for study abroad. Essential Soft Skills in English, online classes designed for those in the job market. English for Success, a 4-week immersion program that allows students to explore Canada in the summer. General English at Renison, an interactive 4-week course to develop skills in communicating in many different situations. Renison also offers custom program options for groups, tailored to meet specific needs. For more information click here or contact Grant Leach, Director, Marketing and Recruitment, at email@example.com.
News from Around the CUAC World
Dr Eleanor Spencer-Regan, the Vice Principal and Senior Tutor of St Chad’s College, Durham University, has been appointed Principal of Janet Clarke Hall at the University of Melbourne (Australia). She is a scholar of 20th and 21st-century British and American poetry, with a BA and MA from Durham and a visiting fellowship at Harvard, where she studied with the critic Helen Vendler. Her Durham thesis was on the Anglo-American poet Anne Stevenson.
Janet Clarke Hall pioneered collegiate education for women in Australia. It is the oldest residential college for women in Australia and among the oldest in the world.
She told the press: “I’m sad to be leaving Durham University after more than 17 years, but I know that everything I’ve learnt here, and all the ways in which I’ve been allowed to grow, will stand me in excellent stead for starting my new position and for the rest of my career.”
Margie Welsford has been serving as Interim Principal during the search.
In February, the Revd Dr Luke Hopkins became Chaplain of Trinity College, University of Melbourne (Australia), following the retirement of the Revd Canon Dr Colleen O’Reilly. Dr Hopkins, a native of New South Wales, was previously Chaplain to Manning Valley Anglican College. He did postgraduate studies at Trinity College Theological School and did his doctorate on Anglican ecclesiology and patristics, with a dissertation on Cyprian of Carthage and the Australian Anglican Episcopate. He has also studied at Ripon College Cuddesdon and Merton College, Oxford.
The Revd Gill Reeve is the new Senior Chaplain to the Warrington Campus, University of Chester (UK) and Chester Medical School and to the Faculty of Health and Social Care. Prior to being ordained, she worked regionally in faith-based community engagement projects and for the NHS as a speech and language therapist. She is currently a William Temple Scholar, studying for a PhD in religious studies, and was a panelist in our recent online seminar Building Flourishing Communities.
From the General Secretary’s Desk
In April, with the inauguration of two new presidents, our two HBCUs came into conjunction. As Dr Christine McPhail noted in her address at St Augustine’s, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are “made in the USA,” coming after the Civil War, formed to remediate the lack of education among African Americans. With slavery overthrown, the former slaves’ sons and daughters had been left illiterate.
Jumping into this educational breach were the pioneers of normal schools that became Episcopal colleges. In Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1867, twelve priests of the Freedman’s Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church incorporated the St. Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute. Then in 1897, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, who had studied at Tuskegee Institute with Booker T. Washington, opened an Industrial School for African American men that became today’s Voorhees University, the first HBCU founded by an African American woman.
In the days of Jim Crow segregation, HBCUs were the primary means for black students to receive higher education. While the civil rights movement overcame that exclusion, inadequate public education continues to leave a large cohort of students of color underprepared to prosper in mainstream higher education -- a vulnerable niche which HBCUs are serving admirably. These two universities, however, are demonstrating the ceilings of their earlier callings as the floor of unfolding new vocations.
On April 8 in Denmark, South Carolina, Dr Ronnie Hopkins was inaugurated as its tenth president, as Voorhees celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding and its recent transition to becoming a university. As Dr Hopkins said, “Our current trajectory for Voorhees University is captured through the mantra The Next Level of Excellence and will be realized in the full development of the Becoming Beloved Community Initiative.” He quoted Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, “who admonishes us that, when love is the way poverty becomes history; when love is the way…. there is plenty of room.”
Hopkins added, “There is plenty of room at Voorhees….through Becoming a Beloved Community, we are proud to establish the Rural Development Community Center, the Social Justice Institute for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Environmental Justice Institute, and the Center for Women’s Empowerment and Advancement.” Through the Centers, Voorhees’ development of graduate courses will be accompanied by offering support to their rural Bemberg County neighbors.
On April 28 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dr McPhail, declaring “we’re in a legacy building era,” became the 13th president of St. Augustine’s University. Noting that segregated higher education had created HBCUs, she declared, “We’ve flipped it: because you wouldn’t let our students go there, we decided to go out on our own, and now it’s our time.” She told her colleagues, “This HBCU is the democracy of higher education, don’t forget it. The doors are open for everybody. While I believe it is important to look at history, we can’t stop there: we have to live in the present to define the future.”
On the theme of “Reimagining,” she laid out an innovative agenda of building new programs and buildings. She concluded with a call that describes the goals of both St. Augustine’s and Voorhees: “HBCUs are a political statement, and we are carrying it out in being more aggressive with our conversations about social justice, and we see ourselves as social justice institutions.” My take away from participating in these two inaugurations is that our Episcopal HBCUs are spreading their wings.
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
Bees in My Bonnet
One of the most indelible images to remain with me from my long-ago Sunday School classes is the story of Samson and the bees. As we learn in Judges 14:5-18, the super-hero Samson – the Jewish Hercules – is attacked by a lion one day. He tears the beast apart and goes on his merry way, only to return after an unspecified time to find that a swarm of honey-bees has made its home in the carcass. He snatches some honey and rushes off to share it with his parents.
Now this must be one of the most enigmatic stories in the Hebrew Bible (no small achievement, that), and I cannot begin to summarize for you the generations of rabbinic commentary (e.g., how can honey from a dead animal be kosher?) or Christian exegesis (none of it very persuasive) or other learned debate (here’s a new word for us all: bugonia, the pre-scientific belief in the spontaneous generation of insects).
Or maybe it’s just a story…or an etiological miracle designed to explain the obscure riddle that Samson soon poses to his rivals knowing they can’t answer it. In any case, what intrigues me is the appearance of bees in the Bible. Which is a very circuitous way of saying bees seem to obsess me just now.
The small New England church of which I’m a member is about to dig up a long, thin strip of neglected land along one side of our sanctuary…to turn it into a pollinator pathway. We’ll replace the rubbly old soil with new loam and replant it in a way that will assure nectar- and pollen-rich flowers, April through November, of some two dozen native perennials and grasses known to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. QR coded signs will convey some basic information, and we’ll not clean up in autumn in order to provide over- wintering cover for various insect eggs and hibernators. The not so subtle message will be: do something like this at home because the bees and the crops they ensure are in great danger.
Pollution, pesticides, loss of habitat… you know the story.
To which I would add human obliviousness. In the local paper, I just saw an ad for “traps to catch carpenter bees.” These are the ones that drill holes in trees and unpainted wood. Very small holes, and I’ve yet to hear of anyone’s house falling down because of them. They are one of the vast host of solitary bees – in other words, the non-honey producing loners that are one of nature’s most effective pollinators. Honey-bees sip nectar, rather daintily. Solitary bees roll around in the pollen, lasciviously…then fly off to spread the wealth in another blossom.
What a strange species we are, so sure of ourselves, so ignorant of what is about to befall us, so ungracious as to be unwilling to share our planet with so innocent a creature as a busy little carpenter bee. Well, we know who else made his living as a carpenter.
Compass Points is published by GENERAL SECRETARY: The Revd Canon James G. Callaway, D.D. PUBLISHER: Julia DeLashmutt EDITOR: Charles C. Calhoun PRODUCER: Francis Rivera
May 2022 Compass Points
Inside this Issue:
Tokyo's Rikkyo University Opens Its Doors to Ukrainian Students