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Theologian-In-Residence: Velveteen, Real, Loved

The Rev. Canon Broderick Greer spent a week at Episcopal as the 2019 Theologian-in-Residence.
Greer, a 2015 graduate of the Virginia Theological Seminary, is currently Canon Precentor at St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, Colorado. Greer ministers to young adults both within the Cathedral’s congregation and through speaking engagements around the country. Greer’s ministry revolves around topics such as black and queer theology and racial justice. His work has appeared in publications such as Teen Vogue, On Being, and The Washington Post.

Over the course of the week, Greer spent time meeting with student groups, teaching classes, speaking in Chapel, and hosting an informal dinner and discussion with students and faculty. Both students and faculty had opportunities to meet with Greer in one-on-one and group settings to discuss his views on theology, culture, and current events.

When asked what he hoped to accomplish through this residency, Greer said his aim was to learn more about what our students are thinking about and to share his own perspectives on these topics.

“I was interested in hearing what these students have on their minds, what are they thinking about, what are they afraid of, and what are they hopeful about,” Greer said. “I found each student to be insightful, wise, thoughtful, and I am leaving here very impressed. They want to talk about difficult things like what is happening in our government, the Me Too Movement, racism in America, and how Episcopal can be a better and more inclusive institution.”

His energy and interest in making genuine connections with the students was one of the clear highlights of his visit, according to the Rev. Betsy Gonzalez.

“I don't know what he expected when we pitched him the idea of coming and spending a week with 450 high school students, but the energy exchange that kept happening between him and the student body was happening everywhere — in the pulpit, in the classroom, at meals, and in downtimes,” she said. “His example of how he lives his faith offered powerful witness for our students to imagine a God who loves them totally and who challenges them to reach out to others.”

Greer addressed the community in an evening vespers service on Thursday, saying:

“If theology and The Bible and religion can be used to exclude or minimize or oppress women, LGBTQ people, and people of color, then can’t it be used as a tool for our liberation? ... Black people and other people of good will during the Civil Rights Movement, LGBTQ people during the Stonewall Uprising, and black people in Ferguson during the Ferguson Uprising, and women during the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and people now during the Me Too Movement, and immigrants during the recent Muslim ban. These heroes of history took foundational documents of human flourishing and took to the margins of those documents and said, ‘We are writing ourselves into this community-shared story. We deserve to be seen, we deserve to be heard, we deserve to be known as we are. If we are excluded from the table, don’t worry; we will bring our own folding chairs’ … When you’ve been excluded from a table, show up with your folding chair… show up and demand to be seen and heard, not as someone else, but as you are.”

The Theologian-in-Residence Program was established in 1993 by Reginald E. Rutledge, Jr. '51 in honor of his wife, the Reverend Fleming Rutledge, and his family members who have attended EHS. The program invites Christian preachers, teachers, and theologians to campus to speak to the School community and to work with students. It is designed to offer EHS students the chance to establish or reinforce a foundation of faith.

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