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Dean Townes Category

2022 Charge to the Graduates: Imagine Again

May. 20, 2022—well, for those of you who began your time here in the fall of 2019, you have been through it—not just in the classroom—but in the events that surrounded our lives that academic year began with a dispute between the subcontractors that built the new wing of our building all that light and air and...

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The nature and necessity of bone-deep love

May. 3, 2022—Bone-deep love calls us to live our lives out of the possibilities found in wholeness, self-reflection, justice, peace, a new heaven and a new earth, hope and not our shortcomings—that rest on greed, self-centeredness, avarice, coveting, despair. Amazing love moves us to grow in compassion, understanding, and acceptance of each other. A far better place to be morning by morning and day by day.

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No matter what the world hands us we give back love

Apr. 4, 2022—Somehow, no matter what the world hands us we give back love, we stand for goodness, we live our faith, we live with integrity. we live God’s grace large, we stand with the least of these, we build bridges of salvation, liberation, justice, joy, and deep spirit that can carry the depth and breadth of humanity over them.

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Lament is not about helplessness or hopelessness

Mar. 11, 2022—Lament is not about helplessness or hopelessness. When done in community, we name that which is causing us to be tempted by despair with as much precision as possible and then begin to take steps to address—if not eradicate—that which keeps us from a more just world.

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Public theology fellow leaves legacy of community building and support

Dec. 20, 2021—The Rev. Teresa L. Smallwood, who helped launch Vanderbilt’s Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative as associate director in 2017, is moving to Pennsylvania’s United Lutheran Seminary in January. Over Smallwood’s four years at Vanderbilt Divinity School, the Collaborative has hosted nearly 30 workshops and more than 20 fellows and scholars to advance racial justice...

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Charge to the Class of 2021

May. 17, 2021—Delivered by Vanderbilt Divinity School dean, emilie m. townes on May 16, 2021 whether we are talking calendar year or academic year, this has been some year we have lived and it’s good to see so many of you in the flesh rather than in zoom boxes those boxes had their advantages…and disadvantages but i...

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2020 Charge to the Graduates

May. 2, 2021—Delivered by Emilie M. Towes on May 2, 2021 You are the only graduating class to get two charges from the dean. I’m not sure if this will help or hurt but here we are. In this unusual moment, let me begin by reminding you that last year I began by quoting Thomas Paine and...

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This is the first step not the conclusion

Apr. 20, 2021—A reflection from our dean, Emilie M. Townes Guilty on all three counts. These three counts can be—and hopefully will—be positive steps to not only police reform but to our very broken criminal justice system where the scales of justice are not blind but often tilted against the poor, people of color, women, queer, trans,...

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the power of words to harm and heal

Apr. 2, 2021—Emilie M. Townes Spring Faculty Assembly Presentation Delivered 1 April 2021 download a PDF of this presentation with its original formatting.   perhaps you are familiar with this childhood chant: sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me i remember my teachers, grandmother, parents, aunts, and other mothers teaching it...

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Looking for joy

Mar. 4, 2021—  A monthly reflection from Emilie M. Townes, Vanderbilt Divinity School dean. Our family has been dealing with the deaths of three of our elders over a five-month period in the last months of 2020.  Their passing would have been hard without a pandemic raging around us, but the pandemic made it more so because...

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