Virginia Theological Seminary awards 3 honorary degrees

May 21, 2010

Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria celebrated its 187th commencement on May 20, awarding degrees to 54 students, representing more than 24 dioceses and four countries, and honorary degrees to the Rev. Jerome W. Berryman, the Rev. Brian D. McLaren and the Rev. Canon Nelson W. Pinder.

The commencement address was given by McLaren, an author, speaker, pastor, and networker among innovative Christian leaders, thinkers, and activists. McLaren is the founder of the Cedar Ridge Community Church in Maryland and one of the founders of the Emerging Church movement.

Berryman is an Episcopal priest, theologian, and developer of Godly Play, a religious education initiative.

Pinder is the 15th president of the Union of Black Episcopalians (2004-2007) and a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida.

For the third year in a row, the commencement ceremony was streamed live through the VTS website, attracting viewers from 27 states and from several countries including England, South Africa, Mexico, France, Saudi Arabia, and Jamaica. The ceremony is archived on the VTS website here.

For their class gift, the graduating students of 2010 have given seed money for a book project that will celebrate the history of women being trained for ordained ministry at Virginia Theological Seminary.

"Our hope is that this work will be published in 2011, the 35th anniversary of the canonical ordination of women in the Episcopal Church," said the Rev. Alexander Webb, president of the senior class.

A full press release from VTS is available here.