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  • October 17, 2017
  • 11:15 am

2017 IPS Alumni and Friends Dinner

October 17, 2017The Institute of Pastoral Studies community gathered this past weekend for the 2017 Alumni and Friends Dinner, an event dedicated to raising funds for IPS scholarships.The highlight of the evening saw Evelyn and James Whitehead, beloved IPS professors, receive the Aggiornamento Award.  This video tribute to the Whiteheads details the over 40-plus year relationship they’ve had with IPS; one rooted in an “emotional, spiritual, mental, and practical connection”.

IPS Professor Emeritus Peter Gilmour gave the keynote speech titled “Golden Threads in the Fabric and Future of IPS“.  Professor Gilmour began his address, “Time travel with me to the year 2117, a century from now.  One of the longest running shows in the history of TV, The Antiques Roadshow, is still a mainstay of the PBS network.  Tonight the great, great, great granddaughter of IPS graduate, July Logue and her husband, Ed have brought to the Road Show a complete set of 1st editions written in the late 20th and early 21st centuries by authors, James and Evelyn Eaton Whitehead…”  Read on below for the full text of Professor Gilmour’s keynote address.

IPS Dean Brian Schmisek commented on the event: “So many of those present made a point to say how meaningful the event was, how it honored our past and propelled us into the future.”  Dean Brian also added the evening’s fundraising total exceeded expectations!

Click here for photos from the event.

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“Golden Threads in the Fabric and Future of IPS”
Keynote Address on the occasion of Evelyn Eaton and James D. Whitehead receiving the Aggiornamento Award from IPS, October 14, 2017
Dr. Peter Gilmour (pgilmou@luc.edu)
I’d like to begin tonight with a brief history of tomorrow.  That’s right, a brief history of tomorrow.  No doubt you are delighted to hear it will be brief.  Perhaps you wonder if the speaker will live up to that promise.  I’ve got it on good authority he will!
But, “a brief history of tomorrow”?  What’s that all about?
Time travel with me to the year 2117, a century from now.  One of the longest running shows in the history of TV, The Antiques Roadshow, is still a mainstay of the PBS network.  Tonight the great, great, great granddaughter of IPS graduate, July Logue and her husband, Ed have brought to the Road Show a complete set of 1st editions written in the late 20th and early 21st centuries by authors, James and Evelyn Eaton Whitehead.  The antiquarian book dealer looks them over, and tells them that he is familiar with these books for several reasons.  He says, “First of all, the Whitehead’s work has been referenced in myriad dissertations and books on church ministry this past century, as perhaps you already know.  But they have been more than footnotes; their work is the stuff of headlines.  Many of these books have also been referenced in some of the Documents of Vatican III, the church council held from 2054 to 2060.  Secondly, since your complete collection of the Whiteheads’ books are all 1st editions signed by both the authors, this is even better since so many of their books went through several printing due to their perennial popularity.”
The Antiquarian book dealer, Mr. Theodore Guzie, continues, “And I have a personal interest in these books.  My great, great, great grandparents, Tad and Noreen Guzie spent many summers teaching at the Institute of Pastoral Studies, and no doubt knew the Whiteheads.”  Lastly, Mr. Guzie refers to the golden threads that run through the entire history of IPS to date, some 153 years now, which can be found and documented in the Whiteheads’ books.  The antiquarian book dealer, Mr. Guzie, concludes, “it’s hard to put an exact dollar figure on this complete collection of autographed first editions by authors Jim and Evelyn Whitehead, but I’d say that you know, like so many others who have been associated with IPS through its more than century and a half tradition, that it is fair to say, these books are priceless.”
Back to tonight, 2017.  IPS has been witness to 10 presidents of the United States, 8 mayors of Chicago, 5 popes, 5 cardinal archbishops of Chicago, 5 university presidents here at Loyola, and 7 directors of IPS.  Who would have guessed 53 years ago that the Internet would develop into a significant conduit for information, misinformation, and education?  Add to the Internet the phenomenon of social media instantaneously connecting the citizens of the world with one another.
Today, many of our students first learn about IPS through the Internet rather than word of mouth.  Stories and information about IPS once shared via religious communities in Ireland, coffee houses in Germany, church halls in Australia, and bars in Bangkok are spread today via Facebook and Google.  Who other than perhaps a Nobel Laurette who sang in 1964, “The Times, They Are A-Changin” would have given much thought to the ever-increasing rapidity of change, the effects of robotics, artificial intelligence, the formation of the multiverse, and within it myriad universes, and the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in creation?   Thank you Bob Dylan!
I have heard it said about the Institute of Pastoral Studies that no explanation is necessary for those who have had the experience; for those who have not, no explanation is sufficient.  So, identifying the golden threads for so many gathered here tonight who have been such a significant part of IPS – students, alums, staff and faculty – you already are well able to recognize and celebrate this continuous living tradition.  For others, it is my hope and prayer that my few words and stories might give you more than a hint about what we have been about these past 53 years, and what we will no doubt be about in the next hundred years.  In the words of the Proverbs: “wisdom has built herself a house.”  Yes, wisdom has built herself a house here in this place!
One of the insightful commentators on the church in America, the late Tim Unsworth, described IPS as “a sturdy, innovative graduate program in pastoral studies at Loyola University of Chicago that draws…students each year from all over the world.” Good description, for sure, but no big clues about the magical, mystical, miraculous golden threads that are the inner dynamism of IPS.
IPS is, first and foremost, about people.  Perhaps not since Chaucer collected characters for The Canterbury Tales have spiritual and spirited personalities rubbed shoulders so closely.  National and international, intricate and intimate, witty and wise, rural and urban, sensual and sacramental, the people who are IPS are on pilgrimages of mind, heart, and spirit.  From places as near as the south side of Chicago, the North Shore, Waukegan, Harvey, Oak Park, Holland, Michigan, and as far away as Sydney, Australia, Patna, India, Beijing, China, San Paulo, Brazil, Quebec, Canada, Bochum, Germany and many other places round the world, our students have come.  This community of students and faculty gathers every semester and summer to examine in-depth various aspects of religious traditions, classical and contemporary cultures, and personal experiences.  IPS draws faithful people from around the world into an epicenter of Transformational Education.
What began with a single degree in Religious Education has evolved into degrees in Pastoral Studies, Pastoral Counseling, Spirituality, Divinity, and Social Justice.  Duel degrees with other schools at Loyola as well as certificates and workshops complete the spectrum of offerings for the diversified students of IPS who now come from many religious traditions and backgrounds, from most all continents of the world (Antarctica aside!), and an ever widening age demographic, from young adults to retirees.
Yes, IPS is essentially about people.
IPS is also about the people to whom our students and graduates minister, whether it be in religious institutions, public and private venues, on the streets, or in our families.  Our graduates, return to their holy places, or go on to new venues to assist faithful people who strive to identify purpose in their lives and pursue action that is oriented toward care and service to others, especially those in most need.   Transformative Education, gestated at IPS, becomes a generative force in our graduates’ ministries that in turn transforms — touches the hearts – of those to whom they minister.
This inner dynamism of lPS, one golden thread that runs through IPS since its inception in 1964, is a call to Transformative Education.  Sometimes this golden thread is a gentle pull towards recovery and growth.  Other times it is a well laid out curricular path.  Sometimes that golden thread shines through the inevitably dark night of the soul many people encounter on that journey towards spiritual adulthood.  Other times that golden thread, carefully woven into the colorful tapestry of life and living unnoticed to the untrained eye, but becomes a lodestar.  Alternatively, it might point the way toward a rock-strewn road that a prophetic voice urges us to follow.
Let us time travel once more, back to the future — a brief history of tomorrow — for another moment.  Again, the year is a century from now, 2117.  A descendent of Heidi Russell has stumbled across information about her great, great, great, great grandmother, a theologian who published groundbreaking work in early part of the 21st century while teaching at Loyola University’s Institute of Pastoral Studies.  Professor Russell’s great, great, great, great granddaughter, recently ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic tradition – one of the developments of the latter 21st century interfaith Council, Vatican III – is herself pursuing a doctorate in theology.  She is searching the archives at Loyola University Chicago, not only for information on her famed ancestor, but also to gather data on her doctoral dissertation subject – Pastoral Theology.
To her amazement, she comes across an original copy of the founding document of IPS, duplicated with the now quite faded purple ink of the mid 20th century known then as hectograph, involving a gelatin stencil and alcohol moistened paper.  She comes across the following statement in this founding document: “The Institute provides an interwoven program of studies.  It is not a catechetical, biblical, or liturgical Institute, but pastoral.  This means that the Institute studies the total action of the Church, which is preaching and teaching, praying and worshiping, guiding and forming.”
Our view of church is not exclusively parochial and our practice of ministry transcends traditional religious structures and institutions.  This of course generates a dynamic, constructive theology that meets people where they are, evolves with the experiences of each individual life and every secular and sacred culture.  Or, as Ignatius succinctly said” “Finding God in all things.”  These are the benchmarks of Pastoral Theology unfolding in the many and varied forms of ministry our graduates pursue: pastoring churches as either ordained or non-ordained leaders of faith communities, teaching religion in school and parish settings, counseling people within the context of faith, providing spiritual direction, providing hospital chaplaincy, working towards social justice for the poor and marginalized, and in so many other settings and situations.
And so we gather here tonight to celebrate not only the internal dynamism of IPS, but also what Karl Rahner, S.J. spoke about in his 1979 talk titled, “Toward a Fundamental Interpretation of Vatican II.”  He heralded the coming of a world church, not Euro-centered, but world-centered.  A church that celebrates other faiths as crucibles of revelation, which reveres the many and varied cultural experiences and expressions of faith, and finds great meaning and strength in diversity.  Alfred Lord Tennyson hinted at this epic change in Idylls of the King: “The old order changeth, yielding place to the new.  And God fulfils himself in many ways.  Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”  IPS is both a sacred crucible of Rahner’s world church and a prophetic glimpse into that future. As the holy Koran says, “We have created you…and appointed you races and tribes, that you may know one another.”
Tonight we gather to take seriously the gospel of Matthew’s words: “You are the light of the world.  No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where in shines for everyone in the house.  In the same way your light must shine in the sight of humanity, so that, seeing your good works, they may give you praise…”
We gather here tonight to give praise to IPS and, particularly, to a partnership of mainstays whose teaching has been a constitutive part of Transformational Education and Pastoral Theology, the golden threads running through the life of IPS, calling people to the coming world church.  They first taught at IPS just two years after the moon landing.  One small step for the Whiteheads; one giant step for Transformational Education and Pastoral Theology at IPS.  In the words of Ecclesiasticus:  “Many will praise their understanding, and it will never be forgotten.  Their memory will not disappear, generation after generation their name will live.”
Tonight we celebrate you, Jim and Evelyn. Your contributions to the ever-ongoing development of Transformational Education and Pastoral Theology are many.  “Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices. Who wondrous things has done in Whom this world rejoices…”  All of us who are IPS thank you for your dedication to its transformational and pastoral vision and mission of IPS.
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