Report — Bishop Kemper School for Ministry

The Very Rev. Dr. Don H. Compier, Dean

Highlights of the Previous Year

  • BKSM is in its tenth year of operation. As we look back on the previous decade, we have much to celebrate. We now have five partnering dioceses (Missouri joined West Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Western Kansas) and students from a sixth diocese (Iowa), as well as some students from other denominations.
  • BKSM’s enrollment remains strong. 37 students are now pursuing a certificate of study in seven areas. 8 are from the Diocese of West Missouri: 3 pursuing presbyteral studies, 3 in diaconal studies, and 2 in lay curricula.
  • We have returned to face-to-face instruction in Topeka, but our state-of-the-art technology permits students from anywhere to join via Zoom. We are ready to serve any distance cohorts.
  • In spite of the recent disappointing performance of the stock market, BKSM’s investments continue to provide a solid financial base. We are deeply grateful for the constant annual support of our partnering dioceses and generous gifts from our alumni/ae and other friends. No student with financial need is turned away. BKSM truly is affordable for all.
  • As an official sponsor of the Anti-Racism Covenant and an institution striving to be as green as possible, BKSM has modified its curriculum to put greater emphasis on the mission of the Episcopal Church: evangelism, racial justice and reconciliation, and care for the earth.  
  • In the summer of 2022 BKSM offered two spiritual retreats led by Brother James Dowd of the Benedictine Way, one for new and one for returning students. Monthly group formation and invited speakers further promote the importance of disciplined prayer life.
  • Thanks to many donations, and with the professional assistance of volunteer librarian LeRoy Dagg, we have a fine lending collection of books in Topeka, catalogued and available for online searches.
  • Eight faculty members from West Missouri provide outstanding instruction at BKSM.
  • We take delight in the collegial spirit that has characterized BKSM from the beginning. Our students form lasting friendships across diocesan lines and orders. Together we have developed a culture that cherishes all relationships and welcomes the gifts of each and every one. This ethos of partnership extends to other institutions similar to us across the Episcopal Church.

Plans for the Coming Year

  • BKSM is developing field education that works for bi-vocational students.
  • We continue to have discussions that could lead to other dioceses becoming part of our partnership.
  • A task force is taking a fresh look at continuing education for clergy and lay leaders. A survey distributed this fall will give us a better sense of needs and interests.
  • We are developing an additional lay track in lay chaplaincy.
  • We invite everyone to our 10th commencement and anniversary celebration at Grace Cathedral in Topeka on Saturday, May 20, 2023 (details will be widely shared later). Our celebrant and speaker will be the Right Reverend Scott Barker of Nebraska.

Assessment and Evaluation

  • Monitoring of results of ordination examinations.
  • Regular feedback from dioceses, parishes, alumni/ae to determine success of our graduates in promoting the mission of the church.
  • Ongoing analysis by the Board as strategic planning continues.

As we approach our tenth anniversary, we are so grateful to God. And to the people of the diocese of West Missouri, who constantly support us so generously in multiple ways. Continuing in the pioneering spirit of Bishop Jackson Kemper, we greatly look forward to the surprising blessings of partnership in the next decade.

The highlight of the year for every deanery was the picnics with Bishop Bruce. Not only did a wider swath of the diocese get to spend quality time getting to know our Bishop Provisional, but these events allowed for great fellowship between members of the various congregations who rarely have the opportunity to meet. Even high temperatures did not thwart the fun, thanks to giant waterslides, shelter from the sun, and wonderful food. Special thanks are extended to our diocesan events coordinator, Rachael Orth, for her great planning and execution of these events.

Deanery clericuses and councils met to carry on the business of the deaneries and enhance fellowship and comradery among the clergy. The opportunity to break bread with fellow ministers of the Gospel and share advice and encouragement are important aspects of these gatherings.

We look forward to more exciting activities in the new year – more picnics, celebrations, and gatherings with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

For more information: www.bishopkemperschool.org

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