To the Cohort of 2020, on behalf of the entire Templeton community: welcome! We are beyond joyful that each and every one of you is here, and we share in your excitement and hope for your new chapter.
You have all chosen or have yet to choose diverse and fulfilling fields of study. In doing so, you enter academia. We welcome you! Academia is a wonderful place to be, overflowing with books, libraries, seminars, peers, symposia, journals, and classes; nevertheless, it, like any other place in this world, can lead us to pride, give us unhearing ears, and grow in us hearts of stone. However, this first year at Templeton can, with the guidance of your professors and among your peers and colleagues, shape you into scholars passionate for Christian charity above all else. Charity—in class, in study, in leisure—will be expected of you, and it is my sincere belief that your cohort will grow together in love and charity for each other.
As you grow in charity for each other in class, our hope is that you will also grow in community, with each other and with us. We share with you your same diverse faith backgrounds, your same knowledge of these lauded texts with which you’ll engage, and your same desire to see God in everything we study, say, and do. You’ll lean on each other during difficult times, and we offer our support for you also. We’ve all had our fair share of trials this year; now more than ever, the Templeton community is bonded together, and you with us.
A genuine desire to see how all of these old books and subjects apply to our twenty-first century lives will be one of the most important things you’ll acquire. In academia, it becomes very tempting to isolate ourselves from the world or to assume that we know what is right merely because of our resume or repertoire. As Christians, that cannot be our end; just as Jesus of Nazareth is not only the God of those with good theology or sound doctrine, but also of those who are peacemakers, who offer bread to the hungry, and who liberate the oppressed, so also we ultimately ask ourselves how these things we read can teach us about how we should live.
This year, and all of your time at Templeton, will not only be for learning new things but also for unlearning. One of the most life-giving things you will unlearn is the idea that your worth is based on your academic performance. Indeed, many of us still struggle with this! There will be many other old things you’ll unlearn, and many new things you’ll learn. All of us are on this path together, and all of us will lift each other up, pray for each other, and support each other.
As we all pray for you, I ask that you also pray for us— your peers, your professors, your administration--for we also struggle to adhere to these ideals of Templeton and of our lives in Christ. However, we are blessed enormously to have you join the ranks and strive towards perfection with us. Again, we welcome you from the bottom of our hearts to this college of friends, romantics, scientists, doctors, mathematicians, musicians, actors, poets, writers, teachers, historians, theologians, classicists, philosophers, scholars, contemplators, lovers, and believers.
“Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom: Enlighten by your Holy Spirit those who teach and those who learn, that, rejoicing in the knowledge of your truth, they may worship you and serve you from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Book of Common Prayer; Contemporary Collects.)
Sophia Hunter (‘23) is majoring in history and concentrates her study in Church history. Between classes and her job at the library, she enjoys poetry, engaging in conversation with fellow Christians on Twitter, hammocking, and praying with Eastern University’s chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. She hails from Gilbert, Arizona.