Let me tell you, as someone in my professional field (Construction Management), “I went to seminary” isn’t something I say very often. And I don’t think I’ve ever said: “I make a monthly pledge to my seminary” to anyone! But it is true – I am proud to make a regular contribution to PSR and I invite you to do the same.
A recurring contribution to PSR’s annual fund does a lot to help PSR’s leaders and trustees make the best decisions for current students, faculty, and staff. It is also a way that you can build a strong foundation for our common life together, as faith-practitioners, as justice workers and advocates, as peacebuilders, and as members of our local communities.
I don’t think any other institution as well situated to provide leaders (faith-based or otherwise) for the future into which we are hurtling. I chose to attend PSR in part because of what I heard from then-president Bill McKinney: “PSR is on the edge: on the edge of where Christianity is today, on the edge of the Pacific Rim, on the edge of the US Empire, on the edge of emerging theologies.” PSR is still in the intersection of all of these growing edges, and that fractured and fertile soil is precisely the holy ground in which our own roots need to grow in order to be stewards and servants living into the twenty-first century.
PSR is acutely needed because it equips people to stand confidently in the unknowns, leading by example and leading by humility. PSR is needed because it equips people first to engage themselves, and then to engage others, in the honest work of learning one’s own social location, and how to be accountable for it. PSR is needed because it models for us to be a voice of prophetic hope in the wilderness of systemic privilege, patriarchy and neoliberal capitalism.
On the edge can be a precarious place to call home, and Berkeley has many more fault lines than the Hayward Fault. PSR’s future won’t look the same as it’s storied past or tenacious present, but I think it’s essential that PSR remains in Berkeley as a place to provide the world what we desperately need: regular folks given the tools and skills to change the world, one day at a time: living as justice-makers, peace-builders, path-breakers, radical-love-makers, restorative-relationship-creators, unsung-heroes, faithful-followers.
Alicia Van Riggs ’09
Alicia lives in Oakland, CA with her family. She graduated from PSR with an M.Div. in 2009 and currently is a Member-in-Discernment pursuing ordination in the United Church of Christ (Northern California – Nevada Conference). Alicia has over 15 years of experience in construction management at UC Berkeley, most notably the Hearst Memorial Mining Building Seismic Retrofit and the Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive. She enjoys occasional pulpit-supply Sundays at local Bay Area churches and regularly worships at Plymouth UCC and First Presbyterian Church, both in Oakland.