Friday, February 4, 2011

Sacred Spaces II: My Wandering Seminary

     It took me a long time to graduate from Meadville/Lombard.  Or, at least, it felt long.  I entered in 1994 and graduated in 2000.  Many of my courses were taken at Bangor Theological Seminary and I interned in Grosse Pointe Michigan.  Both Bangor and Grosse Pointe were too far to be part of the M/L community during those years.  However, I really and truly was a residential student. 
     We (my wife and I) lived in Hyde Park for two years while I was in seminary and loved it.  Among the things we loved were the old buildings that housed the seminary.  I have thought about these buildings often over the past decade.  Good times, mostly.  When I  attended Chicago Theological Seminary on the way to my DMin, I would occasionally drop by M/L just to be in the same old space.  I will miss being able to do that.  The faculty had changed from my time, with the exception of my M.Div. Advisor Neil Gerdes.  I didn't have to go to M/L to see Neil, though, as he has the same job at CTS.  It really was the buildings that drew me back.  They were (and are) a tangible connection to my time there.

     Of course needs change and spaces change.  The seminary is at a new point in its evolution and now it must move on.   As I have said before, I do believe that M/L will be fine in its new form.  It won't really be the seminary I went to, but that is OK.   I am just worried about the name.  I'm not sure it is the sort of thing to be left up to a "branding agency."

     All of this is just so I can post a link to the blog some M/L folks have set up for people to share their memories.  It is a nice idea. I, for one, remember how hot it was during the famous heat wave.  I remember hiding in the lowest part of the library stacks because it felt cool...even though the stacks were over ninety degrees.  It is an oddly nice memory in the midst of all this snow.
      Here also is my previous rant about the name thing.  Before we choose something like "PassageWays" or  "SunRise" or whatever branding people do, could I put in a vote for its current name?  I like the sound of "New Theological University".  It tells a story and, no, it doesn't need to be changed later on.  After all New College Oxford has done OK.


  1. I vote for "New Theological University"!

  2. Me too! Now we need T-Shirts...

  3. That would work for me--though I have a wry appreciation of the possibilities of "Nameless Theological University."

    For one thing, I'll bet that very few would ever forget the name.

    But the U's schools will retain their own names. MLTS will retain its identity, as will ANTS (and any other parties to the university).

  4. Yeah, I know they will keep their old names, which is nice. However, with the university bringin them together they will be different (Meadville/Lombard in particular) and it would be nice if they didn't have a silly name chosen by a focus group.

    If they do, thought, I am sure it will bring me some joy in a comedic sense...