Shared on March 5th at 10:55am
Dear Columbia Theological Seminary Students, Staff, and Faculty:
It is with a heavy heart and after careful discernment that I announce my resignation from the EDI Council.
When I arrived at CTS, all seminarians were asked to take on the following vow:
“Relying upon God’s grace, I, so long as I am a student of Columbia Theological Seminary, promise and covenant to:
be diligent in my studies,
seek academic excellence,
pursue such learning as joins mind and heart, and
strive to live my life consistent with my calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I promise and covenant to make the worship of God a central feature of my life and seek to grow in spiritual maturity and Christian discipleship.”
In my time at CTS I have striven to live by these words and find myself now in a time and place where I am solely operating on grace. I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. I have already announced my resignation to the EDI Council and trust that they will decide what are the best next steps for the community.
Being a seminarian at CTS has been challenging since I first arrived. I have worked hard to do my work, live into this community, and seek the wellbeing of myself and those around me. I have had several negative EDI experiences on this campus. Situations where I have had to be the “bigger person” in educating and entering in dialogue with the other person(s) involved.
When I was elected into the EDI council last year, I was reluctant at first but was inspired to help bring change to this campus which I love. My motivation in all that I do here is based on love for God and neighbor, and I currently find myself in a situation where I am not loving this place as deeply as I once did. However, I am committed to completing my studies here, living into community with you all, and seeking the skills and knowledge necessary that will propel the ministry here and outside these grounds.
The work of the EDI Council has been fruitful. I stand by the policy that we worked so hard to create and implement. I stand by all the members of the council, and trust that they will continue the work of building not just a better CTS but a place that better prepares people for the Kingdom of God.
However, it strikes me as ironic, that the situation with international students is clearly an EDI issue and yet it only came across the EDI Council after there was an uproar. I have shared my concerns with the Council and trust that they will be heard.
I will follow my own advice to many of you, I will seek rest and restoration but I will not give up on justice. I will follow up with the EDI council in reporting the instances where I have faced discrimination and I ask you, the community, to do the same. Trust that the Council is here to serve you, and that requires that you participate in the conversation.
You may always find out more information on who is available to speak with you and may report instances by visiting: https://www.ctsnet.edu/…/equal-%20opportunity-harassment-n…/
I also wish to inspire you all to “raise hell” in speaking your truth, in seeking justice, and walking alongside your neighbor. When Jesus died, he descended into hell for three days and then rose again. His presence there made it Holy and so there is no place that is without God. Allow your speech and actions to disrupt the status quo while making way for Jesus to intervene and build something new.
Thank you for hearing my words. I ask that I be given space on this specific matter but know that any of you may call on me anytime for fellowship and doing good works.
Christópher (Ófe) Abreu Rosario
2nd year MDiv student