Bloy House News         View as Webpage
 January 2019
January Ordinations
On January 12 the Diocese of Los Angeles welcomed seven new priests into the sacred order of the priesthood following six months of ordained life as a transitional deacon. Bloy House was overjoyed to celebrate with all these new ordinands with deepest heartfelt joy for the four who are upcoming or recent graduates of Bloy House.
Congratulations and Blessings to

Laurel Coote Class of 2018 currently serving at St. Francis, Rancho Palos Verdes

Antonio Gallardo Class of 2019 who will be leaving All Saints, Pasadena to begin serving St. Luke's in the Mountains, LaCrescenta in two weeks

Carole Horton-Howe Class of 2018 who is serving at St. Matthias, Whittier

Jennifer Pavia class of 2018 who is serving at Holy Faith, Inglewood
Meet Carlos Ruvalcaba,SIM Scholar
The Society for the Increase of the Ministry is a 150+ year old institution of the Episcopal Church that has helped thousands of seminarians from across the Episcopal Church find the financial resources needed to pursue their Master of Divinity degrees and prepare for ordination. Carlos Ruvalcaba is the 2018-19 recipient of the prestigious Building the Beloved Community Scholarship given to a seminarian with a history of community engagement and/or strong call to the ministries of justice and reconciliation. This person is also ideally a contributor to the cultural diversification of the church’s leadership. Carlos hopes over the next months to produce a video about the history of immigration as it impacted the community of St. Mary's, Mariposa and the ways in which the Japanese American community and the current Oaxacan American community of the neighborhood have experienced similar challenges. Carlos knows these two communities have a great deal to offer one another in the way of help, support, and experience..Together they have built a multicultural faith parish that cherishes diversity and celebrates many cultures. When finished, he hopes his project can be an inspiration to many across the church seeking to build a multi-cultural Episcopal Church.

Carlos is in his final year of seminary studies and will be part of the class of 2019. Congratulations to Carlos! and Thank you to SIM for their important ministry in the church! In addition to Carlos and many of the parish priests of this diocese, SIM also provided scholarships to at least five of the current Bloy House professors while they were completing their MDivs: Something for which we all continue to be deeply grateful. To learn more about SIM Ministry go to
Can any lay person who want to learn more about their faith really attend seminary classes?
Irene Cowley (l), Donna Washington (c), and Larry Sprague(r) attended Fresh Start together several years ago when their congregations needed strong lay leaders to get them through a transition point. This January Donna and Irene are back together at Bloy House taking "Episcopal History and Polity" so they can learn more about how their Episcopal Church works.
Have you ever wanted to really delve deeply into the Bible? How you ever wanted to know what kind of skills you might develop to be a more effective warden or vestry member? Have you ever wanted to learn more about how to be an outstanding Sunday School teacher or youth minister? Have you finished EfM and just keep wondering what's next for you?

Consider taking a class at Bloy House! One of the hallmarks and greatest strengths of our curriculum is that it is intentionally designed to offer lay persons, those preparing for the priesthood, and those preparing for the diaconate an opportunity to learn together from one another. The curriculum offers all students a basic knowledge that can help prepare them for whatever ministry God might be inviting them into. It is in the mix and mingle of course work done across the orders of ministry that individuals gain clarity about their own gifts, their own spiritual and intellectual passions, their own callings.

When classes begin again this fall consider taking one of these introductory classes.
Old Testament I
New Testament I
Introduction to Episcopal Worship
Global Anglicanism
Church Leadership

If you don't see exactly what you're looking for, talk to the dean about the possibility of adding a class to the schedule. In the past we have on more than one occasion been able to add a new course to the schedule if enough people were requesting it.

Or stay tuned for future information about upcoming workshops and retreats. To learn more about these classes and other Bloy House classes go to our website and browse the catalog.

Bloy House has always been open to and supportive of lay participation in course work. However about eight years ago we realized there was no easy way for lay persons to apply to attend Bloy House if they wanted to take a single class or an occasional class to further their own spiritual development or their ministries. To that end we developed the Education for Episcopal Leadership track at Bloy House. Our EEL students include those participating in the Li Tim-Oi Center classes, Fresh Start for Lay Leaders, the Instituto de Liderazgo, workshops and conferences, and those taking graduate level course work as auditors. By setting up this track we not only affirmed our commitment to lay formation as a critical aspect of our mission, but also created a much simpler process by which lay persons could be accepted to the school and apply to take classes. If you are interested in attending a Bloy House class as an EEL student, visit our website at and go to the prospective student section. In that section you will see a link to materials about applying to the school as an EEL student.
Episcopal Preaching Foundation Coming to Los Angeles
March 20-22
"Preaching Across the Divide"
Dean Sam Candler
Dean Sweeney
Christine Parton-Burkett
The Episcopal Preaching Foundation has long had a strong and active presence across the eastern region of the United States. In recent years their ministry has become more visible and active here in the West. One of their most valued initiatives is the Preaching Excellence Program designed to provide promising seminarian preachers with advanced preaching skills beyond what they are able to receive in an introductory course in their M.Div. program. Dean Sweeney has for some years served on and off as a faculty member of PEP and every year Bloy House is delighted to send students to that event.

The preaching foundation also offers diocesan continuing education for clergy seeking to learn more about preaching after they've begun their ordained ministries. This year as part of that work EPF will be offering a three day preaching conference titled "Preaching Across the Divide: Race, Gender, and Politics." Sam Candler, Dean of St. Philip's Cathedral in Atlanta, Georgia considered one of the most gifted preachers in the Episcopal Church will be keynoting. Dean Sweeney will be leading a presentation and also serving as one of the preaching group facilitators. Christine Parton-Burkett, visiting lecturer at Duke Divinity School who teaches techniques and strategies for effective public speaking will also be giving a presentation and leading a preaching group.

The conference venue will be All Saints, Beverly Hills. Exact time and cost should be announced shortly in Episcopal News.
Welcome Episcopal Relief and Development!
February 21-23
Episcopal Relief and Development is the much loved program of the Episcopal Church that both aids communities in times of crisis (and in the long recovery following natural disasters) while also working across the world to improve the lives of those in countries where economic development is critical to the continuing health and well being of residents.

Every year ERD gathers together representatives from the Episcopal seminaries of the church to train those representatives so that they can be a resource to fellow seminarians, and together they can support the work of ERD during their time at seminary and beyond seminary in ministry across the church. Over the years Bloy House has often made ERD initiatives a part of our Lenten discipline with the money raised from our Lenten chocolate tax going to the fund.

This year Bloy House is delighted to host the ERD seminarians' conference. Cari Anderson of St. Timothy's, Apple Valley and Ollie Lim of St. Paul's, Pomona will be attending the event as our representatives. We will be delighted to welcome all of the conference participants who will tour our campus, have dinner with the Bloy House community on Friday night and take part in Friday night worship.
Cari Anderson-Meadows
Ollie Lim
CST Plans for Their Move to Oregon Move Forward
A recent law suit between Claremont School of Theology and the Claremont Colleges has been decided, and that decision now clears the way for CST to begin negotiating a merger with Williamette University in Salem, Oregon. President Jeffry Kuan reports that now that CST is free to sell its properties to an institution of higher education at its fair market value, the next steps in the merger with Williamette will begin. Classes will continue to be held on the Claremont campus through at least the 2019-20 academic year so that current students are able to complete their programs here in Southern California. The first class of students studying on the Oregon campus will likely begin their studies this fall already.

Many have asked if this move will mean the end of the relationship between Bloy House and CST. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our relationship with this outstanding center of religious thought continues to be strong and mutual. Students attending Bloy House have for some years been a part of the low residency cohort at CST. This means attending online and intensive hybrid classes rather than semester long weekday in person classes. Low residency programs are providing many theological institutions with a new medium for being able to offer higher education. These programs meld well with the Bloy House model of weekend learning. Beginning in Fall of 2020 we anticipate that our MDiv students will be attending several week-long intensives (usually a week in January and a week in the summer) to take their CST courses as a part of their M Div. work. They will continue to do 2/3 of their course work (the full Bloy House curriculum) and their field education here in Southern California on our new campus through our alternating weekend calendar.

Bloy House students have been participating in low residency learning for some years already. Prior to EDS' move to Union Theological School many Bloy House students attended the low residency program at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge as a part of their Bloy House studies. We know this is a very workable model that has enriched our students' learning experiences for numerous years. To learn more about the Bloy House/CST M. Div. program visit our website or call the Bloy House office at 909 621-2419.
Williamette University, Salem, Oregon
It is a reality of all higher education that tuition alone cannot cover the costs of an education. We, like like almost all seminaries across the church, are dependent upon gifts from people like you in order to keep our doors open and provide our seminarians with an education that is both affordable and of the highest caliber. If you have a seminarian in your church, please work with your vestry to establish and support a seminarian fund that can help pay tuition, fees, and books for your seminarian.

The other way you can support seminarians is by giving directly to Bloy House. Bloy House works diligently to keep its tuition costs as affordable as possible, far below the costs of almost all other seminaries in the country. Your gifts to the school help to ensure that we can continue to do this. If you are especially interested in giving a gift to a financially needy student, you can specifically designate your gift for the in-house scholarship fund of Bloy House. Whatever you prefer, we hope that you will consider keeping our ministry strong and healthy with your gift.

The best way to give is still by check. When you do so 100 percent of your gift goes directly to the school. We also have a donate button on our website that will allow us to accept credit card gifts at a reasonable cost to us and as responsible stewards of your gifts. To donate in this way go to

If you care about ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles and believe in the work Bloy House is already doing to support people in their ministries, and you want to see theological education continue here within the diocese, please give.

Checks can be sent to
Bloy House, ETSC
1325 N. College Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711

Plan a Visit to Learn More

If you are contemplating beginning a degree or certificate program or taking a class at Bloy House this fall, we'd love for you to come visit and learn more about our seminary. Below are the dates of our teaching weekends. If you're interested in finding out what a teaching weekend is like, taking part in a seminary worship service, visiting a class, and/or meeting with the dean, we'd welcome your inquiries. To contact the dean to arrange a visit write to
Spring Semester
January 18-19
January 25-26
February 8-9
February 22-23
March 1-2
March 15-16
March 29-30
April 12-13
April 26-27
May 10-11 Graduation Weekend and Trustees Meeting

News From the Faculty

Have you ever wondered what our faculty members do when they are not teaching Bloy House classes on the weekends? All of them are engaged in active ministries in either full time work or in ministries within their faith communities. Like seminary faculty everywhere, they also are committed to continued learning in their field and to active scholarship. Currently several faculty members are preparing books for near future publication.

Dr. Michael McGrath , Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics is working with Wipf and Stock Publishers on a book titled Acting for the Common Good: Social Justice in the Light of Catholic Social Teaching . This book is designed to help 21st century Christians rethink the importance of the common good in light of our increasingly individualized American society. Dr. McGrath challenges Christians to renew their own commitment to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, working from theologically sound Christian principles to support the work of social justice in our society. Acting for the Common Good helps readers examine important real life situations of the last ten years in light of society's need for shared ethical decision making that supports the needs of the greater good and expects society's institutions to be agents of justice rather than self-aggrandizement.

Dr. Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook , Professor of Anglican Studies and Religious Education received a 2018 Conant Grant from the Episcopal Church to engage in important research in support of her upcoming book tentatively titled Love and Power: Racial Justice in Congregations. The book will explore stories of congregations in the Episcopal Church that have made conscious efforts to fight racial oppression and promote racial justice. Dr. Kujawa-Holbrook will frame these efforts within the theological boundaries of Anglican-Episcopal pastoral theology and invite other faith communities to use these models to encourage racial justice in their own communities.

Dean Sylvia Sweeney 's next book is scheduled for release in November of 2019 by Church Publishing. Winged with Longing for Better Things is a Lenten devotional that explores the intersection of current environmental and justice crises in our world through the lens of eco-feminist thought. Designed specifically as a resource for those seeking a contemporary Lenten experience that relates to the issues we are currently facing in our world, this book of scripture readings, meditations, poetry, photographs, and prayers will take its readers through the Lenten season while readers also hear stories of injustice and environmental degradation that have harmed the lives of people across the Inter-mountain West of the United States. The call of the book is for Christians to engage Lent as not just a season for personal, individual piety but also for conscious advocacy on behalf of the planet and those who suffer most from its exploitation.

Meanwhile Dr. Jennifer Hughes who developed and sometimes teaches our Latino Spiritualities class is among a group of California scholars who have recently been awarded a $1,000,000 grant to together explore the history of the California missions and describe that history from a post-colonial narrative. Dr. Hughes will do this work as a part of her research as Professor of History at UC Riverside. She is also currently working on a book titled Contagion and the Sacred in Mexico: Cataclysm and the Origins of New World Christianity.
From the Dean

There is a line in Joni Mitchell's classic folk song "Big Yellow Taxi" that says "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone." I couldn't help but remember this song yet again when we heard the Nehemiah reading as last Sunday's Old Testament lesson.
Nehemiah 8 is the powerful story of the restoration of Israel. Do you know this heart wrenching story? After Judah was conquered by the Babylonian Empire, the children of Israel lived through their own forced march. The elite of the kingdom were placed in captivity. Military leaders, religious leaders, poets and artisans, noble families, priests, scribes, elders, and anyone with the potential to stir up the people and lead them in rebellion against the Babylonians was exiled. These leaders were forced to walk across the deserts of Mesopotamia to Babylon. On the way many died, so many that Ezekiel would name one stretch of the area the valley of dry bones, the valley that held the remains of parents and grandparents who had died on that forced march some sixty years before the events in this Nehemiah reading take place.

Meanwhile back in Judah, the temple was destroyed and a ravaged subjugated leaderless remnant was left in Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside, left to carry on as slaves to this foreign empire. Under this oppressive regime people lost the capacity to know and to exercise their religion. It was forbidden them to practice Judaism and over time they nearly forgot how to be Jews.
Today’s story picks up on the other side of that ordeal after the Babylonians have been defeated by the Persians and the exiled have been released and returned home. The kingdom was reestablished and for the first time in generations the scriptures were rescued from their hiding places and unrolled and publicly read to the people. And all they can do is weep. Weep with joy. Weep with shame as they realize how far from their own religious law their lives have strayed. Weep with gut wrenching sorrow over what had been done to them, the losses and suffering and humiliation that as a people they had lived through. They had become a people who did not know their own story, their own truths, their own faith.
I want to remind you of something you may have forgotten. Jesus was a lay person.  If he had lived in the era of the captivity, he would not have been recognized automatically as a potential leader to be exiled. He held no religious title. He did not receive his authority from any place besides his own standing as a Jewish man who held his faith sacred and had learned the traditions of the faith so that he could live his life as a devout member of a faith filled community. But he, a nobody in the eyes of the privileged,  knew the story of the exile and the restoration and he knew scripture.

He was able to unroll the scroll of Isaiah because it belonged to him in his heart of hearts. It did not belong to him because he was a rabbi. That’s an honorific his own disciples offered him. Isaiah which was written just prior to and during the exile, belongs to Jesus because he is a Jew, a person of faith who knows himself, his name and his identity through his people’s preserved and protected faith story.

So that brings us to today. To this place, this people who seek to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, to be disciples of this common man. We are as Christians in many ways at a perilous turning point. Our faith tradition is no longer something we will learn from our culture or our society. Bible reading has become the purview of the few rather than an assumed part of the life of faith. Fewer and fewer Christians know the stories of scripture, the central tenets of our faith and creeds, or the key ethical principles that Christians use to govern their actions.

At a time when our society needs leaders committed to pursuing peace, working for justice, and with the courage and the clarity of heart to speak for truth, Christian communities can help show the way. Not by pursuing others' carefully crafted economic and political agenda, but by calling all to lives of faithfulness, truthfulness, compassion, and justice. But it is difficult to do this work without a fundamental grounding in the knowledge and wisdom that is our inheritance. Just as it was possible for the people of Israel to come near losing their tradition through apathy and later their lack of access to education. In the same way we place ourselves in peril if we allow our lives to be so overrun with busyness that there is no time left for prayer, for study, and for teaching younger generations the way of Jesus.

As we begin this new year may we all look for opportunities to learn and grow and stretch our own capacities for bearing and sharing the faith. May we commit to whatever disciplines of prayer and study (and it does take both) will allow us to carry our tradition in our heads and our hearts so that we may do what God requires of us: to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. Let it not be said of us that we don't know what we've got till it's gone. Let us not find ourselves weeping for all that has been lost when right now so great a treasure still lies within our reach!

Bloy House | 1325 N. College Ave. | Claremont | California | 91711 |
Place article copy here. Be sure to make the articles short and concise as people tend not to read much more than a couple of paragraphs. Place article copy here.