My C21 Director’s blog entry for today, July 15, 2010. Also found on the Church in the 21st Century Center website currently (bc.edu/church21).
I am writing in the middle of this midsummer afternoon to let you know about some endings approaching here at the Church in the 21st Century Center.
Even as we are working diligently here to frame the upcoming year’s series and prepare for the publication of the fall issue of C21 Resources, we also have books being packed in cartons, farewell celebrations taking place, and interviews for successors underway.
Before summer ends both Alanna Valdez, exemplary administrative assistant at the C21 Center, and myself will be leaving our labors here. As in any transition, though these are self-chosen, there is a bittersweet taste. It has been a pleasure to work here with Alanna and with assistant director Karen Kiefer (who will remain!) and with those who preceded them. I hope, and indeed believe, that we have been able to gather wise voices, gifted minds, and open hearts to address significant matters which the Church takes seriously in order to not only survive in a difficult time, but to grow healthier and stronger.
The work of the C21 Center, thanks to the commitment of Boston College to the good of the Church, will go on. I hope within a short time to be able to introduce you to my successor. As I prepare to empty my desk, I am convinced that the resources the Center is gathering from year to year will not only remain, but grow in value as time passes. We are leaving a trail through the forest of these times in the pages of C21 Resources, in the books we continue to publish, and in the vast array of past lectures, conferences and panel discussions continuously available to anyone anywhere with access to the internet. As I’ve often urged: use these resources in every way you can imagine and share their availability with others. Share them with believers who seek deeper understanding, with those looking for something to believe in, with the discouraged, and with those who seek to find a voice for their hope.
A final word: in Christian terms, both the individual and the community are of great importance. Were it not for the development of the Christian theology of the first centuries after Christ, the world would not have the concept of the person that we value so highly. Were it not for the sense of the assembly that is so fundamental to the experience and definition of Church, modern society would be in danger of losing entirely the certainty that we ultimately belong to one another in the sight of God.
I say this only to note that you as individuals, interested and committed, and the local communities of which you are members, stand as beacons of hope for the Church today, as always. Though the challenges of the third millennium thus far have been heavy, the Church is called as always to share the light of Jesus Christ and still possesses the Spirit to do so.