Alumni and Friends of BDS,
As you undoubtedly know, Joe Britton has begun the final year of his service to BDS. I did not want to allow the occasion of his letter announcing his departure to pass without expressing my personal appreciation, the appreciation of Yale Divinity School, and the appreciation of Yale University to Joe for his eleven years of service at the helm of BDS.
Joe has accomplished a great deal. During his tenure as Dean he has helped to launch a number of new programs: the Wesley-Royce Leadership Colloquium in 2005, the ELM program in 2008, the adoption of the Rule of Life in 2009, new urban ministry internships, and a significant number of other initiatives. Joe has, however, done more than to help introduce new programs, he has been a priest to many students: he has been a spiritual director for those who lived in the Berkeley Center, an advisor for many weighing their futures, a leader of liturgies, a guide on pilgrimages, and one of the three major instructors for the now regularized set of core courses in Anglican Studies. He has been a scholar who recently completed a monograph on Abraham Heschel. He has also made a real contribution to the relationship between BDS and YDS. I consider Joe both a colleague and a friend and think that he thinks of me in similar terms. We are all in his debt.
Anyone who has been in a leadership position knows how demanding it can be. Anyone who has been in the same position for more than a decade understands the special composition a person needs to remain in one position and to be vibrant in it. Anyone who has led a unit at Yale, knows how challenging the place can be when forces often push against you in different and competing directions. Joe has served and served well in a challenging position. On behalf of YDS and Yale University, I salute Joe. I am not saying goodbye, but thank you.
Gregory E. Sterling
The Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean
The Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament
Yale Divinity School