Preachers for Convocation and Reunions 2012 are John Chane ‘72 M.Div., retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, well-known for his work in interfaith relations and human rights, and Vernice (Hopie) Randall ’11 M.Div., recipient of the 2011 Henry Hallam Tweedy Prize for exceptional promise for pastoral leadership, considered YDS’s highest honor to a graduating student.
In 2002 John Chane was consecrated the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, a diverse diocese of 91 congregations, 21 church related schools, and 45,000 members. He retired as bishop in 2011. He is the co-founder of the Episcopal Church’s “Bishops Working for a Just World” that seeks solutions to domestic and global poverty, universal health care and the environmental crisis.
As a respected speaker and preacher, he has been invited on several occasions by the Chautauqua Institution of New York to serve as preacher-in- residence.
Chane’s interfaith work has taken him all over the Middle East and to Iran five times in the last seven years. He is one of the very few from the West to have ever spent significant time with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Sayed Ali Hosseini Khameni.
Currently Chane serves the Washington National Cathedral as senior advisor on interfaith relations and assists the Brookings Institution of Washington in format development for the annual U.S. Islamic World Forum held in Doha, Qatar.
After graduating with an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School in 2011 as the Henry Hallam Tweedy Prize winner, Randall earned an M.Th. from Princeton Theological Seminary. She returns to YDS in 2012-13 as a lecturer in homiletics.
Randall already had a lucrative career at a prestigious Manhattan law firm when she decided to enter YDS in 2008. In a brief biographical sketch, she described her call to ministry as “not dramatic at all like the calls of Paul or Samuel; rather, it started as ordinarily as finding enjoyment and fulfillment in my work in my home church as the youth director and Sunday School educator.”
Looking back at her time at YDS, Randall called it, “challenging” and “one of the most liberating experiences of my life.”
She said, “I am grateful to have spent this time at YDS—this phenomenal, academically rigorous institution with a ‘heartbeat.’ For me, this stopover at YDS is a story of God’s providence leading me to places familiar and unfamiliar and calling me to the work of the Kingdom even before I can grasp the larger picture…It is here that I developed a passion for preaching and pastoral care as I learned to interweave homiletics as theological reflection and spiritual practice.”