Seminary celebrates six decades
Editor's note: This article first appeared in the March 2012 issue of Diolog: The Texas Episcopalian
Sixty years ago the diocese of Texas formally established Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. Southwest primarily has prepared men and women for parish and diocesan ministry; however, laity have found degrees and programs at Southwest to further their calls to minister in the world.
Three are highlighted here as examples of the breadth and reach of those ministries.
Lucy Collins Nazro, 32 year head of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Austin, is one of the seminary’s earliest alumnae who sought a formal education at Southwest in 1963. She planned to return to Japan and the girls’ school where she had been teaching English, bible study, and chapel talks.
Although her classmates at the seminary were on the ordination track, the faculty were supportive and she learned that “there are many ways one may serve God in his Church other than through the parish ministry.”
As she approaches retirement, Lucy reflects that “I have certainly always looked on my job as head of school as a ministry, just as I had so regarded my years in the classroom. At St. Andrew’s I have led chapel at least once a week for every grade. Over the years I have seen growth in my role as a pastor, visiting the sick, and taking part in weddings and funerals. For many of our families, St. Andrew’s School is their only connection to the Church.”
Business development manager turned corporate chaplain, John Hornsby heads the Employee Engagement office at Zachry Industrial, Inc. a company with over 15,000 employees nationwide. Hornsby had worked at Zachry for twelve years when he realized that the personal well-being of his co-workers and customers had become more important to him than the business projects he was pursuing. When he discerned more clearly his calling and Zachry’s CEO approved his proposal for an in-house program of corporate chaplaincy, Hornsby’s ministry took shape.
Several years later, he decided to complete his theological studies. He visited the seminary campus, and noticed the cross in the garden outside the chapel. His campus guide explained the placement was meant to remind students that ministry takes place in the world. John says that the seminary’s mission fit his calling.
“God is in all of us, but there’s a thick layer of life’s experience covering it up,” he says. “If we can be of assistance in peeling those layers back, allowing that which is Christ-like to be revealed and experienced by the individual then we feel like we’ve done our job.”
Brian Sayers, MD is an internist who has practiced in Austin for 25 years. “I love my work and my patients but a few years ago I was going through a period when I felt stuck in my daily routine, my faith and my relationships . . . one day when I was driving by the seminary I pulled in on an impulse and wandered into the admissions office. I still look back on that day as a gift, if not a miracle that came into my life.”
“People who hear about my degree or patients who see the diploma from the seminary that I proudly display in one of my exam rooms ask me, ‘What are you going to do with it?’ Usually I just smile and tell them I did it as a gift for myself and leave it at that.”
Dr. Sayers served as president of the Travis County Medical Society following his commencement and spent most of his efforts during that year working on issues related to indigent care and physician distress and burnout. He has written articles on spirituality and medicine that have been published in the local medical society journal. Brian remains active in his church and continues to practice medicine full time.
Links for further details on graduates’ profiles:
Link to Seminary videos
“Everyone has a call” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVjAbglGEMs&feature=related
Six videos from Seminary of the Southwest: http://www.ssw.edu/videos
Further links of interest
Patricia Blaze Clark: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=196068476188
John Harry Gunkel: http://www.ssw.edu/john-harry-gunkel
Corinne Ware: http://www.ssw.edu/corinne-ware
Link for full schedule of 60th Anniversary events