Since arriving in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon, the weekend and following week have been a bit of a blur. I was told to call one of the Prefects for Parsons Hall upon arriving. How very "Harry Potter". Both Irene and Kay have been a huge help to me and all the incoming students. I'm sure they have a billion things to do but they have answered questions, made mass runs to CVS, Target, and helped locate odds and ends of left over bookcases and chairs to help transform the dorm rooms into our new homes.
After getting settled I made plans to visit Church of the Advent of Christ the King on Sunday with my new friend Irene. Founded in 1858, Church of the Advent of Christ the King is one of the oldest churches in the Diocese of California. Here the beautiful Anglo-Catholic service is both ancient and modern in the context of this lively South of Market (SOM) neighborhood. We arrived early so Irene could share with me this amazing breakfast place called La Boulange. That morning it seemed everyone was out with their dogs to enjoy the perfect weather.
The service at Church of the Advent, though different from my beloved St. Thomas the Apostle - Hollywood, was familiar and made me feel a little less homesick. Though the service is "high" in most respects, it is inclusive in language and very welcoming to the local community. Homeless and "high church" folks together pray and worship the God who loves and welcomes everyone.
The first year it is expected that I'll visit and experience a wide variety of worshipping communities. Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay area have something for everyone (literally) and I can't wait to experience as many as possible. One of the benefits of attending Church Divinity School of the Pacific is experiencing the wider religious offerings of the Graduate Theological Union. We all share meals in a common dining room and can take some courses outside our own seminary setting. This rich eccumenical tradition is the strength and one of the main attractions for many on "holy hill". CDSP is located between Le Conte and Ridge on a slight hill on the edge of Cal Berkeley and its location along with many of the other seminaries surrounding it gives rise to the nickname of being the "holy hill".
Orientation Week has been packed with important information, academic and community tips, a few boring administrative details that are made more palatable by the helpful support staff and faculty, signing up for classes and ordering all books on-line. Thank God Amazon has many of the titles available new and used. After doing a little research checking for the best prices I was able to save over one hundred dollars. Now that I'm on a seminarian's budget every penny counts and I feel a great obligation to be a better steward of the bounty with which God has blessed me.
If you would like to help defray the cost of books or help in any way it would be appreciated. Checks can be made out to Church Divinity School of the Pacific with the memo portion stating that you are making a donation "For Steve De Muth". The Church Divinity School of the Pacific's address is 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley, California 94709-1217.
Tonight there was the Graduate Theological Union BBQ. It was great to get to know the CDSP family better and make a few friends from the other seminaries. Somehow a bunch of us ended up on the porch of the Dominican student's house for spirited conversations and beverages. We may not have solved all the problems of the world but we have made some new friends.