LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 11, 2012) – Recognized as a trailblazer in modern theological education, Lexington Theological Seminary paid tribute to its traditional roots today in the observance of the school’s 146th graduation service.
A piper, as he has many times before, led the procession across the seminary lawn to the mellow tones of a bagpipe. Hymns were sung, prayers were offered. Words of thanks were given for those who have contributed to the life of the seminary and the well-being of the students over the years. Students received hoods, diplomas, and a red flower. Words of encouragement filled the air as the Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas, senior pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., delivered the keynote address, “Living Inside Out.” Traditions were carried out.
In doing so, LTS laid the foundation for new traditions as well. It was the first graduation ceremony presided over by the Seminary’s first female and African American president, Dr. Charisse L. Gillett. It was also the second graduation ceremony since the school underwent a radical shift to online classrooms and greater involvement of individual congregations in preparing students for ministry.
“It has been our privilege to journey with these students and families, and we believe they will make valuable contributions to the community as pastors, educators, chaplains and leaders,” said Dr. Gillett.
Two new traditions established today include:
• The first Presidential Award, which went to Dr. James M. “Sonny” Wray, Vice President of Advancement. Wray is an LTS graduate who has been a dedicated member of the LTS staff for 35 years and plans to retire in June. He also has served the church as a pastor, educator and lay leader.
• Special recognition of a teaching congregation. This year, President Gillett presented the award to Crestwood Christian Church of Lexington, Ky., in recognition of its role in helping to shape students for ministry and for its partnership with the Seminary to provide annual scholarships.
The 2012 graduating class of Lexington Theological Seminary includes:
• Paul Semisch, Morehead, Ky., Master of Arts
• Antoinette M. Hummeldorf, Lexington, Ky., Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies
• Kristine S. Ehlert, Lexington, Ky., Master of Divinity
• Cynthia Jones, Fort Thomas, Ky., Master of Divinity
• Jonathon Moyers, Pleasant Hill, Ill., Master of Divinity
• Steven Edward Sherman, Brandon, Fla., Master of Divinity
• Mark Benson, Kinston, N.C., Doctor of Ministry
Lexington Theological Seminary is an accredited graduate theological institution of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Consistent with the Disciples’ historic commitment to Christian unity, the Seminary is intentionally ecumenical with students, faculty, staff and trustees of various denominations. The Seminary has been preparing leaders for the church since 1865. For more information, visit www.lextheo.edu.