By Blake Sawicky
A service of Evensong in Marquand Chapel marked the Very Rev. Andrew McGowan’s formal installation October 21 as 14th dean and president of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. A choir of seminarians sang Stanford’s Evening Service in G and David Hurd’s setting of George Herbert’s “Love Bade Me Welcome” as the anthem. Readings were for St. Luke, the patron of the seminary’s chapel, whose feast was transferred from October 18 for the occasion.
The newly installed Dean McGowan preached a sermon reflecting on Berkeley’s motto, In illa quae ultra sunt (“Into the regions beyond”), and on the School’s namesake, George Berkeley, an 18th-century bishop, philosopher, educator, and missionary. Dean McGowan traced points of contact between the life and witness of Bishop Berkeley and Berkeley Divinity School, and highlighted three key areas in which he felt the school was being called to continue moving “into the regions beyond.”
First, he named a call to continue moving from the sectarianism of past centuries toward an expansive local and global vision — especially in Berkeley’s immediate context within the ecumenical Yale Divinity School, and in the wider context of a diverse, vibrant Anglican Communion.
Second, McGowan identified the need to press into an expansive pursuit of knowledge that recognizes the value of past forms of education but is not limited by them.
Finally, McGowan named what he considered the most important “region beyond”: resisting the temptation to reductive pragmatism and recognizing that “we are God’s big idea, not the reverse.” He charged the whole congregation to seek always “the One whose thought we are and whose Love we share.”
The installation took place in the context of Berkeley’s annual Fall Convocation, which includes alumni reunions and guest lectures, as well as the conferral of honorary degrees. This year’s recipients were the Rt. Rev. Victor R. Atta-Bafoe, Bishop of Cape Coast in the Province of Ghana; author and educator Ann R.L. Dewey; and the Rt. Rev. William Franklin, Bishop of Western New York and former dean and president of the seminary.
Dean McGowan is from Australia, and prior to being called to Berkeley was the warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne. His wife, Felicity, is an art historian, and has been appointed to the faculty of Yale Divinity School in partnership with the Institute of Sacred Music.
The Rev. Blake Sawicky is curate at S Stephen’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island.