“I AM EDEN.” Sound familiar? If you have walked the halls of Eden seminary within the last year you will recall posters lining the corridors depicting faces of those engaging the spirit and mission that ignite Eden in transforming the world for the common good, through bold Christian discipleship. Along with the faces of Eden, you’ll encounter a phrase or two describing what makes a person “Eden.” Some imply a characteristic of courage and leadership. Others proclaim their passion for ministry and the church.
One wonders what Dr. Greenhaw’s poster would say: “An insightful strategic entrepreneur,” a “transformative storyteller,” a “dynamic preacher” or a “caring pastor and mentor?” Recent gifts made to Eden in honor of Dr. Greenhaw’s retirement include messages that shed light on this quandary.
Among the many well wishes for David’s retirement, “Nicholas” thanks Dr. Greenhaw not only for his service to Eden but “his generosity as a friend and mentor.” “John” thanks David Greenhaw, “for keeping Eden relevant to the times in which we live, at the forefront of theological education.” “Marylen’s” gift honors David’s “extraordinary leadership and friendship.” “Dr. Oglesby’s” honorary gift accompanies his sentiment of “whenever there was a desire to explore new possibilities in theological education, your actions ignited my ethical imagination!” “Virginia’s” comments, along with her honorary gift to Eden, explain her thanksgiving for David’s “dynamic leadership of Eden Seminary, (your) wisdom and understanding, and (your) endearing and everlasting friendship.”
Other creative gifts to the seminary that demonstrate the community’s love and honor for David include Dr. Olivia Masih White and Dr. Terry White’s gift “for each year of service to the seminary.” Olivia said “I first met David some 30+ years ago when we both served on the UCC Board for Homeland Ministries – Division of Education and Publication. This was many years before I became associated with Eden. Later David invited me to serve on the board of Trustees of Eden Seminary. So to me “Eden is always David Greenhaw” – they can’t be separated. His commitment was not limited to Eden Seminary and theological education but to people, all the people he met, even someone like me. He is an expert in building relationships – you can call him ”Relationship Engineer/expert”. He understood how to make theological education relevant to the changes of the times. His commitment to bringing diversity, inclusion of new ideas, his ability to connect with everyone and maintaining friendships are some of the qualities that I admired in David. On the occasion of his retirement it seems the best way to honor his 23 years of dedicated service to Eden is by making a substantial donation.”
The newly unveiled portrait of Eden’s president from 1997-2020, the Reverend Dr. David Greenhaw, now graces the hall of the Samuel D. Press building. The Eden community will be forever grateful for David’s leadership and as has been said by too many to count, his enduring friendship over the years. Dr. Greenhaw’s presidential portrait will remind us of who and what make Eden, Eden. May we continue as a community, and in Dr. Greenhaw’s honor, transforming the world and defining ourselves as THE seminary for the progressive Christian movement.