Nanjing Seminary Celebrates 60th Anniversary - Prof. Glen Taylor
Thursday December 6th, 2012
The seminary held its 60th anniversary celebration over a two-day period this past week. This was the culmination of many weeks of intense preparation by faculty, staff and many students. (The absentee rate in classes became increasingly high as the day approached: "please excuse person x who is helping with anniversary preparations.") Classes were cancelled for the whole week while the student body turned into an army of window washers, leaf rakers and floor moppers. At least in this part of the country, the host of a visit or event goes all out. For, example, the outside walls of most of the seminary campus were freshly painted white (by men hanging by single ropes, each with a precariously dangling swing seat at the bottom!).* Hundreds of flowers decked the campus, giant welcome banners spanned open spaces and new red carpet was installed in the chapel. Guests the first night were treated to a lovely dinner at a hotel banquet hall after being given a warm welcome that included a lavish loot bag complete with a leather bound Bible and a small tea set, both produced and specially marked in commemoration of the occasion. The next night students put on an impressive production; dramas retold the history of the seminary, choirs sang beautiful hymns, and regional ethnic groups performed costume dances. Seminary heads and other dignitaries came or sent their best wishes. Among the well wishers was a certain George Sumner who sent greetings, and a gift (several new books for the library) from Wycliffe College! Classes having been cancelled in preparation for the event immediately prior to the anniversary, and before, students were also given the day off after the celebration. I half expected to see students putting a few leaves back on the lawn, a few finger prints on the windows, and spreading a bit of dust around to mark the return to normal.
I am down to my last week here. It will be hard to say goodbye to a host of very endearing Christian brothers and sisters. I look forward to visiting Hong Kong later this week before I return home. I am scheduled to have lunch with Matthias Der, a Wycliffe grad newly appointed as Dean of the Cathedral, and to preach there on Sunday.
*Each man would dip his roller into a giant paint bucket hanging from the seat and then scoot his feet along the wall to create a swing that aided application by a very drippy roller. (No helmets, no safety harnesses, etc. What I have seen of the culture indicates far less concern with safety; to take one example, I regularly see parents holding a small baby under an arm as they ride motorcycles, weaving in and out of traffic, and even down a two-foot wide shoulder on the road––facing oncoming fast traffic! Few people wear seat-belts in cars. We seem overly obsessed with safety by comparison.)