Dear Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno,
I write to you on the feast day of the Venerable Bede, which is appropriate for several reasons. First, I will be guest preaching on Bede and the Trinity this Sunday at an Episcopal church in the little town of Crockett CA.
Second, just a couple days ago, I passed the oral defense of my Special Comprehensive exams, which included a 40-page paper on Bede’s account of St. Alban’s passion. I will be presenting a shorter version of this paper at a conference on violence and religion in Iowa this summer. While I am in the Midwest, I will visit St. Gregory’s Abbey in Michigan, spend some time with close friends in Chicago and then present another paper at a Christian Spirituality conference in Notre Dame.
I am especially excited about passing my Special Comprehensive exams because now I can receive the Bogard Teaching Fellowship at CDSP. This teaching fellowship involves serving as a Teaching Assistant in the fall and then designing and teaching my own course in the spring. In the fall, I will serve as Teaching Assistant to Rev. Dr. John Kater for the course “Anglican Tradition and Life,” an introductory course for incoming MDiv students. I served as his TA last year and gave a one-hour lecture on pre-Reformation English Spirituality. As I was preparing the lecture, I realized that there was more than enough material for an entire course and how great would that course be! So now I will be teaching an entire course next spring on pre-Reformation English Spirituality, covering everything from Celtic spirituality to Romano-British Christianity to Anglo-Saxon spirituality to the flowering of English mysticism in the 14th century with mystics like Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, the author of The Cloud of the Unknowing, Margery Kempe and, my personal favorite, Julian of Norwich. Of course, I will also spend a lot of time, in the class, with the Venerable Bede.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Bede was ordained at the canonical age of thirty, which is my current age. After ten years of discernment (six years of informal discernment and four years of formal discernment), I am looking forward to being ordained by you in no more than fifteen days from today. I feel so blessed to be supported by Rev. Gary Bradley, Greg Richardson (known as “the strategic monk”), Yuhadhi Sundaramoorthy and the whole Church of Our Saviour parish. After ordination, I plan to spend some time with the Camaldolese monks at Big Sur, reflecting on my journey thus far, anticipating the many adventures still to come, and basking in the effulgent love of our Triune God, to whom the Venerable Bede addressed his final words: “Glory be to Thee, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
Daniel DeForest London