From The Rev. Melford (Bud) Holland

There is a wonderful chapel in the United Nations that is close to a magnificent Chagall window. I was initially drawn to that window and then decided to go into the chapel. The chapel itself is very stark. There are a few small footstool chairs, a large rock in the middle, and muted light at one end. The longer I stayed in the chapel the more at peace I felt. I then read how the chapel was designed. It was designed by Dag Hammarskjold to be stark so that it might be filled with the creative stillness of the centers of people who entered it. That is the feeling that I have about this photograph.

It invites me and my imagination into wondering what yearnings, tears, hopes, aspirations, mission, connections, confessions, love, forgiveness, healing,... have occupied this seat and this offering plate and what might yet to come. Like the chapel at the UN it is our lives in all their complexities, hopes, and promises that adorn this space. The picture invites me and hopefully others into considering and living Ubuntu. The empty bench connects us to the past and to the future and beckons us to ask again: Will we genuinely welcome the wonderful diversity of humanity to sit, sing, and pray there and help change the fabric, mission, and ministries of the community already assembled? So this photograph leads us to other questions, explorations, challenges, and opportunities.

About The Rev. Dr. Melford E. "Bud" Holland

The Rev. Dr. Melford E. (Bud) Holland, Jr. is  a Senior Consultant, Trainer and Executive Coach for The Dialogue Center for Counseling and Consulting

For ten years, Dr. Holland led the Office for Ministry Development (1998-2008) at The Episcopal Church Center in New York. Prior to that, he served first as rector of a vibrant suburban congregation (1982-1993) and later as Deployment Officer and Bishop’s Assistant for Ministry in the Diocese of Pennsylvania (1994-1998).

His experience as a visionary leader, creative program developer, consultant and skilled convener/host/facilitator of mission-driven work groups runs wide and deep. Dr. Holland is a graduate of Wake Forest University (BA), General Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.M., D.Min.). He describes his special interests this way:

I enjoy working with others in discovering new creative ground for conversation and work, engaging in strategic planning, and utilizing resources to maximize the possibilities of mission and ministry.  I believe that we all have gifts and wisdom to bring to the table. Valuing the ministries of others I seek to affirm and deepen the capacity of the church to articulate a vision of reconciliation and respond to that vision with creativity, energy, and commitment.  Knowing the importance of leadership I have been involved in many leadership development initiatives as well as discovering ways to keep my own leadership skills fresh and current.