Yale Exchange – A Reflection

Each Michaelmas term Westcott welcomes students from Yale, Sewanee and other seminaries across the globe. Below Sam reflects on his term spent at Westcott.

The Yalies on one of our last days in the House

It’s been a busy five weeks since I left Westcott House with my American compatriots, and yet many mornings I find it hard to believe that I’m waking up 3,500 miles from a place that felt like home from the first time I stepped off the noisy Jesus Lane into the cool hush of Old Court. The things I miss about the House are many: the steady and contemplative chapel worship, singing in the choir, tea in the common room, supervisions with Paul, walks to Grantchester on sunny Saturday mornings, beer and hymns, trivia, tutor group in the parlour, Thursday evening announcements, breakfasts in silence on Fridays, and so much more. The things I don’t miss about the House are very few, and mainly relate to potatoes. Most of all, I miss the beautiful, passionate, and inspiring people who share life together at Westcott House: the brilliant ordinands and their families, the incredibly hard working and dedicated staff, the wise and patient tutors—all together, a people of humor and grace, warmth and energy, and so much kindness. Many times throughout the term, my fellow exchange students and I remarked how welcomed and accepted we felt from the very beginning. The way you took us in and treated us as full members of your community will not be forgotten. The love of God is visible and tangible within those walls, and as guests we were so fortunate to be on the receiving end of your generous hospitality.

With Jennifer, my Bishop, at my ordination in December

Personally, my time at Westcott has set me up to finish my last semester at Berkeley/Yale and look towards a curacy back home in Indiana in June. In Cambridge, I was reminded again that we have many homes—some we live in for years, and others we inhabit for just a season. These places are sanctuaries, way-stations on the pilgrim’s path that provide warmth and fellowship and good cheer as we make our way home to God. In my journey, they have gone by many names: Crawfordsville, Wabash, Harlaxton, Iona, Saint Hilda’s House, New Haven. Westcott House will forever be a part of this list, another name in a litany of thanksgiving for the communities through which I have felt the love and grace of God and known myself to be forgiven and cherished. My prayer for everyone who remains on Jesus Lane is that they, too, might feel the riches of that grace, and be reminded of the responsibility that we all have to reflect God’s beauty and goodness to one another, especially the stranger.

With all my love,

The Rev’d Samuel T. Vaught

MDiv Candidate, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale

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