Editor’s note: The comments below were originally posted on September 16, 2010 as “The Dean’s Commentary,” a daily reflection by the Very Reverend Ian Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary Seminary. Here Dean Markham reflects on the ways that Episcopal schools stand as a powerful ministry of the Episcopal Church.
One major strength of the Episcopal Church is the Episcopal schools. When we think about all those entering into an Episcopal form of worship during a typical week, a significant percentage is not found in a Sunday congregation. When we think about the average age of those at an Episcopal form of worship in a typical week, it falls dramatically when we move away from our preoccupation with the Sunday morning. The truth is that we have literally thousands of students entering into a form of Episcopal worship around the United States; the truth is that the average age of Episcopal worshippers (including both the schools and congregations) is probably nearer thirty rather than fifty. The picture of the Episcopal Church changes dramatically when we include the Episcopal schools.
We are delighted that the board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools is with us on the campus. The president of the Association is our own the Rev. Roger Ferlo, Ph.D. (who has worked tirelessly in his advocacy for the importance of this sector of ministry). We are delighted to have the executive director the Reverend Daniel R. Heischman, D.Min.,who also serves as a professor for us on the D.Min. track dedicated to leadership development, on the campus.
As students consider ministry vocations, Episcopal schools are to be taken seriously. We are delighted that our guests are on the campus. And I invite all students to take the opportunity to learn about this important aspect of our Church and allow the Spirit of God to perhaps invite us all to see ministry possibilities in a whole range of different places.