SIM News

SIM Board Chair Hilary Greer

SIM Board Chair Hilary Greer


My six-year-old niece hates losing.

She is adept at orchestrating the rules of any game to result in her winning. This is known in certain circles as “cheating,” although she assures us this is just how the game is played. And if she is caught in a lie, her policy is to deny, deny, deny.

Turning on the television or reading a newspaper today makes it clear that my niece is not alone in these tendencies. It is perhaps the hallmark of our current age that both sides of the political divide are convinced that the other side is the one lying and cheating. What is true and what is “fake”? Where do we put our trust? Our public debate today centers on fundamental questions of truth and meaning. Questions that, at their heart, are spiritual, moral, and theological.

Theological education is intimately bound with how we live. By asking who God is, theology asks who we are, what our relationship is with others, and how we are intimately connected with the world around us. Who are we as a people? How do we treat the poor, the outcast, and the stranger? What are the rules of our collective game? Such questions are not theoretical. They lie at the heart of debates about Confederate monuments, immigration policy, healthcare, and education, to name a few. They lie at the heart of our national life. They give shape to not only who we are, but who we will become.

Seminaries are institutions where leaders are trained to ask such questions – to encounter the world – on a moral, spiritual, and theological basis. Because changing the world for the better is not simply a matter of policy, or PR, or money; it requires the transformation of hearts, minds and souls. It requires all of who we are and who we were created to be.

My education at the Episcopal Divinity School was designed for such transformation. I was formed by faculty who modelled for us the journey of living what they taught, calling us to deeper levels of wisdom and truth, and the hard work of changing ourselves that is the basis of our capacity to change the world. Thanks to the unique curriculum structure of EDS and the mentorship of its faculty, I was able to study reconciliation in Rwanda and theologies of diversity in India. Rather than offering easy answers, the EDS faculty opened a world of voices, stories, peoples, and truths to us while teaching us how to live into (and preach!) the hard questions and challenges that faith raises. As someone who has worked in higher education for 20 years, I have never seen a better pedagogy or a more dedicated faculty.

I chair the board of SIM because I know the transformative power of theological education, and how deeply God’s world needs it. May we all be blessed with such teachers. May we all be blessed to live in a world of leaders they have formed.