The Very Revd Titus Presler was recently installed as the sixth dean and president of the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, USA, in an internationally flavoured service noted by commitment to World Mission.
Reflecting Dean Presler's advocacy of world mission and his experience as a missionary in Africa, the installation service - a Festival Eucharist for the Mission of the Church - featured five languages: Spanish, Dakota (Native American), Shona (Zimbabwe), Bengali (India) and English.
The Rt Revd Mano Rumalshah, general secretary of the London-based United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) and former bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Peshawar in Pakistan, preached during the service. The Rt Revd Claude Payne, chair of the seminary board of trustees and bishop of the Diocese of Texas, presided at the installation.
Reflecting on the United States' current role in Afghanistan and now Iraq, Bishop Rumalshah said during his sermon, "This country seems to have lost a sense of its common humanity living under a common God with others It is your role both to be a light to this nation, and to require in turn that this nation should light the way for other nations."
(The seminary's news page (www.etss.edu/news.shtml) has links to Bishop Mano's sermon, a PDF file of the service's eclectic program, and photos of the service.)
Prior to the service and continuing the world view theme, the seminary hosted an on-campus discussion of "Religion and Mission After 9/11." Panel participants were: Bishop Rumalshah and his spouse, Benita; the Rt Revd Leo Frade, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida and former bishop of Honduras, and his spouse, Diana Dillenburger-Frade, director of the Little Roses Ministries in Honduras; and the Revd Jane Butterfield Crosby, mission personnel director of the Episcopal Church and spouse of Dean Presler, who moderated the panel.
Beginning his fourth year as head of the USPG, Bishop Rumalshah is a deeply committed ecumenist who has encouraged a multi-faith dialogue throughout the world. His interests include world religions, especially Islam, missiology, and community and cross-cultural relations.
Dean Presler has stressed spirituality, leadership and mission as major themes for the seminary community since arriving in Austin in June from St Peter's Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Scholar, author, former parish priest and long-time advocate for world mission, Dean Presler is chair of the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on World Mission. He and his wife, Jane, served with their four children - all under 11 years of age at the time - in Zimbabwe in the mid-1980s with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. Born in India to missionary parents, Dean Presler spent his first 18 years there before coming to this country for college.
Specialising in the interaction of gospel and culture, Dean Presler is the author of two books, Transfigured Night: Mission and Culture in Zimbabwe's Vigil Movement and Horizons of Mission.
Further information about Dean Presler may be found at: