Summer 2016

Dear Friends of The Christian Community Seminary in North America,

After closing our term in Spring Valley, we each made our own circuitous way, toward Dornach to meet our fellow seminarians who study in Stuttgart and Hamburg. This first week was full in every possible way.  Over meals and many breathless walks up the hill, during breaks and in class, in moments of shared joy over a bit of beauty, we slowly began to get to know our comrades. Many of us struggled to bridge the space between one another with broken sentences in German and English. In a certain way, this struggle was a gift because it evoked extra effort and attention in our meeting and made perceptible both the distance and the bridge that lives, often hidden, in every encounter.

We gathered countless experiences in Dornach, each a world of gold unto itself whether it was looking at the original manuscripts of the renewed sacraments written on paper for the first time in the archives, hearing the bells of grazing cows, or conversing with leadership of the Anthroposophical Society. Filled with impressions, we piled into a bus and rode to the seminary in Stuttgart where, we built upon the themes of ‘encounter’ and ‘renewal’ through an incredible course on Social Sculpture with Tom Tritschel.

It was astounding and acutely enlivening to find the same impulses and pressing questions of renewal we carried with us from the seminary in Spring Valley also living in a very real way in the students of Hamburg and Stuttgart, and even among the leadership of the Anthroposophical Society in Dornach. The energy and power of these impulses grew and potentized over the weeks into a nearly palpable substance, like a tone that grows stronger as it finds its echo in so many other instruments.

As we  disperse again, we are left now with an after image: a feeling of joy and gratefulness for having experienced that our little Spring Valley Seminary is a true and worthy part of a bigger seminary, and for having seen the faces of the others. We have celebrated the Act of Consecration of Man, sung and played, and shared our thoughts together. We leave knowing that we are a part of this much bigger movement, the Christian Community, a worldwide movement for religious renewal, which might outwardly look still small but, nevertheless at this growing point of the three-fold seminary if full of strength, potential, and joy.

Thank you all, dear friends, for making this possible!

Students of the Seminary of The Christian Community in North America

Our last day together in Germany!

Photo Jun 09, 8 06 51 PM Photo Jun 06, 6 49 04 PM

A cookout with all three seminaries in Stuttgart.

Spring 2016

Dear Friends of The Christian Community Seminary in North America,

Click the “Donate” button, below, to contribute to The Christian Community in North America Seminarian’s Travel Fund – see the following letter for details!

This Spring, the seminarians have a wonderful possibility to travel to Europe for two weeks; first, to Dornach for a week and then, to Stuttgart, where we will meet all the students from the other two seminaries of The Christian Community: Stuttgart and Hamburg.  Some of the unique opportunities include:

  • The students from all three seminaries will have a week-long course with members of the leadership of the Anthroposophical Society in Dornach, taking place the week of May 30th.
  • In Stuttgart, we will have the opportunity to meet members of the Circle of Seven
    who will give part of a week-long course for all the students, taking place the week of June 6th.
  • Visiting the site of the founding of The Christian Community where the first Act of Consecration of Man was celebrated.
  • Viewing Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Representative of Man’ sculpture, part of the new revelation of Christ’s working in our time.
  • Learning about and getting to know the first seminary which first opened its doors in 1933, in Stuttgart.
  • Understanding more about The Christian Community as a World Wide Movement for religious renewal.

This opportunity to further our development will come with a great expense to the seminary and its nine students. We are hoping to raise ten thousand dollars to help pay for flights, trains, and accommodations.  You may play an important role in the advancement of this education by considering a donation:  Here are a few ways to show your support.

  • On-line: Donations may be made on the Seminary’s website by clicking the “Donate” button on the News page. A tax receipt will be issued, upon request, in accordance with government guidelines, visit:  http://www.christiancommunityseminary.org/news/

Or, visit our go-fund-me page which will help us document the progress towards our goal.  Everyone can check the page to see our success at any time.  Donations through this option are not eligible for a tax receipt, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/cc-seminary-trip

  • By mail: Please make your check payable to The Seminary of The Christian Community and mail this to the seminary at 7 Carmen Court, Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977.
  • By phone: You may contact the Seminary, directly, by calling (845) 356-0972; Janice will be able to help you make your donation, over the phone, with your credit card.
  • Special events: Make a donation to the seminary, in lieu of a gift, to honor a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion.   A seminary director will send greetings with a card and special message to the person you honor.  Send us the name, address, occasion and your special message to be included.
  • If you’re inspired, host a fund raising event! The seminary will host a concert at The Christian Community, 15 Margetts Rd, Chestnut Ridge, NY, April 30th.  All donations welcome!
  • For Donations from Europe: Please forward to Stiftung Die Christengemeinschaft in Deutschland IBAN:  DE 16 8502 0500 0003 6204 00; BIC:   BFSW DE 33 DRE; Kennword (Keyword): Seminartreffen

If there is someone you feel might be interested in helping us, please feel free to pass this information along to them.  Every gift will help us achieve our goal to ensure we all may participate in this wonderful opportunity.

Thank you for your consideration!

Students of the Seminary of The Christian Community in North America

In a Word, Yes.

Reflections on the Ordination of Emma Heirman

“What makes a priest a priest?” asked Rev. Laurens Hornemann at the opening of his talk on Saturday night in Stuttgart. The answer, in a word: the Priest Ordination. Well, in German it’s one word.  But then again, so is Traumneustartversuch – the (usually futile) attempt to resume a dream after having been roused. In many ways I find writing this reflection on the ordination of Emma Heirman to be a similar effort, for there was a certain dream-like quality to the whole affair, which I cannot attribute solely to jetlag.

Before the candidates for ordination enter, the already ordained priests file into the chapel dressed in their vestments. It is unusual in North America to see more than a few priests assembled at one time. To see them en masse is indeed a unique experience, because pictured before your eyes and soul in that moment is the priesthood itself.

I think back to the first ordination I ever attended, that of Rev. Carol Kelly in 2001. In beholding the group of priests seated together, a resounding yes arose in my soul, which was surprising, because I was unaware of any question being asked. That yes, upon further reflection, was a yes that the priesthood exists; a yes that it is a true picture of a spiritual reality; a yes to those souls who offer themselves in order to make that picture manifest for the rest of us.

Yes is a powerful word. Add so be it, and it turns magical, bringing a new reality into existence. The candidate for ordination speaks these words in relation to her own feeling of the seriousness of the future part of her becoming. The celebrant and assembled priest circle speak these words in an act of consecrating that candidate. As one in attendance, it is not uncommon to feel shut out in a certain way as the celebrant later processes with the chalice around the priest circle. A clear line of demarcation is drawn; the new ones are encircled into the fold; there is an inside and an outside.

And yet this inside would be meaningless without the outside, without the communities into which the priests are sent. Towards the end of the ordination, it is made clear to those in attendance that we have a yes to speak also, albeit inwardly. This yes is the recognition of those who have just been ordained. Without this recognition, their work as priests would be in vain.

At the close of the service, after the newly ordained have left the chapel, the priests all file out just as they had filed in. I recognized so many faces in that group this time around, other priests whose ordinations I have attended, souls I have come to know and am thankful for. And now I could count Emma as one of them. I could not wipe the smile off my face. Nor could I wait until the first time that I am able to attend a service that Rev. Heirman is celebrating, to add my yes to the chorus.

Contributed by Kate Kennedy

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