To officially open the exhibit, a blessing and celebration of the library’s collection took place on Monday, October 8 from noon to 1:30 pm. Participants included representatives from the member schools, centers, and affiliates.
GTU President Jim Donahue welcomed the participants and audience. "This library represents what individual schools, individual people, scholars, students, faculty, a very talented library staff, can do when we are committed to doing something together."
GTU Dean Arthur Holder introduced the speakers: "We have a very simple but elegant program, which is that several people one by one will come speak briefly about offering reflections, blessings, obersations, hopes, from the perspective of their particular positions."
Here are some of the remarks offered. Unfortunately, the recorder stopped working midway through the program so not all participants are represented:
"We gather in the spirit of unity this day to celebrate the diversity of faith and the expressions of life which are shared and understood through our fellowship of cooperation. We come here to join in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Graduate Theological Union and its magnificent library, which stands as a repository of truth, wisdom, and inspiration. Bless this house of knowledge and bring people to drink from its refreshing waters so that they may learn to walk on the path of righteousness and truth. Give wisdom, patience, and understanding to those who work in the GTU library so that they may protect, guard,and expand the collections, books and other resources housed within these sacred walls. Send your grace and your blessings upon this structure so that through its treasures the minds and the hearts of the people will be transfigured. This we your united community ask in humility and gratitude. Amen"
His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas (Lulias), Director, Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute
"This is a wonderful collection of great works, but it is not just an old fashioned collection of books. As you know there is a technological, electronic, information sytem in this library that are very much in the tradition of I think all of our religious traditions and our denominations, staying up, being current, meeting the needs of a world desparate for the right kinds of information. So on behalf of the Jesuit School of Theology and the Society of Jesus, which sponsors it, I also would like to add my words of blessing to this collection. May this collection of books, electronic resources, artistic depictions, maps, books of arts and prints, be a constant inspiration for people in search of truth."
Thomas J. Massaro, S.J., Dean, Jesuit School of Theology
"In our tradition it is just transparently clear that libraries and books are agents of blessing not objects of blessing. But I also recalled something that one of our founding saints, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said about libraries. He said that libraries are actually places where we find only friends. Friends who have been enchanted into leathern and paper boxes. So in that spirit, and in the spirit of the relationships that have allowed this library to thrive, I wanted to offer a Transylvanian Unitarian blessing on friendship: "Where there are friends, may there be love. Where there is love, may there be peace. Where there is peace, may there be faith and room for faith. Where there is faith, may there be God. And where there is God, there is all we need."
Susan Ritchie, Associate Professor of Unitarian Universalist History and Ministry, Starr King School of Ministry
"Blessed are you, sovereign of the universe, who has bestowed your wisdom on flesh and blood."
"Barukh ata adonay, elohenu melekh haolam, shenatan et hakhmoto lebasar vedam."
Naomi Seidman, Director, Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies
Also, eloquently speaking were the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, President and Dean of Church Divinity School of the Pacific; Riess Potterveld, President of Pacific School of Religion; Munir Jiwa, Director, Center for Islamic Studies; and Ron Nakasone, Professor of Buddhist Art and Culture, GTU.