June Rector’s Study

Beloved,  

In March 1952, Albert Einstein said, “The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.” His poignant remark timelessly describes my past five years at Kent School. Training the mind to think of the future—an extension of today, which is the result of yesterday—was both exciting and overwhelming. As a hopeless daydreamer, I often allowed myself to get lost in imagining different ways to bring my study and ministry together to carry forth God’s mission with you creatively. Meanwhile, I had to train myself to get out of that La-la land to deal with the present. Of course, dealing with current affairs requires an understanding of the past. 

Juggling my mind on the future, the present, and the past, I used to think things would have been so much more manageable had I been able to pick one spot in time and make myself a sommelier of the chosen period. However, I quickly realized that the future, the present, and the past were inseparable; they are all a continuum of our evolving lives with intertwined chain reactions. Hence, I must consider all three before thinking “outside” the box, whether I like it or not. Also, thinking outside the box is not necessarily the same as having radical ideas. As radical as my quick thoughts might be, they might very well be mere stuck-in-the-maddness resulting from focusing only on what I want to see, hear, or do and ignoring the rest. Training the mind to think means forcibly dragging me out of my comfortable assurance acquired from the past, being willing to stand corrected in the present, and living fearlessly into the future filled with hope, with God being my helper. It means making room for new possibilities not for my sake but for others.

In John 14:2-6, Jesus told the disciples, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” I doubt that Jesus meant for us to be a bunch of squatters in God’s mansions, claiming our niches defensively with the baggage full of unchallenged intellect. Instead, we are meant to gather as God’s stewards and prepare more rooms, like Jesus, for anybody who needs a place to belong. Believe me, as the country rapidly ages and the cost of living continues to rise, there will be, if not already, a greater purpose for us to serve the needs of the community by offering a spiritual place of belonging where people can freely ask, think, and explore big questions together rather than feeling shut down or isolated. My ministry and the past five years of graduate study have trained me constantly to stop being an intellectual squatter and start being God’s housekeeper to prepare rooms for new possibilities. It has taught my mind to think outside the box. 

Archbishop William Temple famously said, “The Church is the only institution that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members.” Now that I have graduated, I aim to work closely with you to continue expanding the sanctuary, not the physical building but our hearts. Let us make room, like Jesus did, for new days and new possibilities. It all starts with training our minds through prayers, learning, services, and rejoicing. 

Love in Christ, 

Fr. Andrew