VTS celebrates first commencement ceremony in Immanuel Chapel

May 20, 2015

VTS2015[Virginia Theological Seminary press release] Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) celebrated its 192nd Commencement May 21, awarding 57 students with degrees of Master in Divinity, Master of Arts, Doctor of Ministry, the Licentiate in Theology, Diploma in Theology, and Diploma in Anglican Studies. This was the first Commencement from Immanuel Chapel.

The commencement address was given by the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, the 12th bishop of Chicago and author of Opening the Prayer Book in the New Church’s Teaching Series.

“As you go (into the world), I ask you to join me in listening to the needs and hopes and the heartaches and longings of the world we live in,” said Lee. “Listen to those who suspect that God has left the church behind. Listen. Listen and lead.”

The recipient of the 2015 Virginia Seminary Ford Chair, a gift of Susan Ford to a member of the graduating class who has exhibited a strong commitment to the community life and mission of the seminary, was the Rev. Jose Reyes from the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

The recipients of the Harris Award, given each year to candidate for Holy Orders who has demonstrated academic excellence and leadership ability, was Zac Harmon, from the Diocese of Oregon.

The St. George’s College Prize awarded to a student who has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to the larger Church and the global Anglican Communion was given to Sarah Taylor from the Diocese of Texas, and the Dudley Speech Prize, awarded to a graduating student who, in the opinion of the faculty, has demonstrated excellence in the public reading and interpretation of the Scriptures and the Liturgy, was given to the Rev. Maxine Barnett from the Diocese of Long Island.

This year, the seminary conferred Doctors of Humane Letters, honoris causa, on Auguste Johns Bannard, head of St. Catherine’s School (1989-2007) and former member of the VTS Board of Trustees; Professor Herman Franklin Bostick, a graduate of the Virginia Theological Seminary’s Lay School of Theology who also served on the board of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys; and Linda Armstrong Chisholm, founder and first general secretary of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion and the founder and president of the International Partnership for Service-Learning.
The seminary also conferred Doctor in Divinity, honoris causa, on the Rt. Rev. James Barnabas Almasi, the 9th bishop of the Diocese of Masas; the Very Rev. Canon Patrick Pervez, commissary to the archbishop of Sudan; and the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, the 12th bishop of Chicago.
“This really is an extraordinary, joyous occasion,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of VTS. “My faculty colleagues and I have had the privilege of serving God as God does the hard and holy work of formation in the lives of those graduating today. Congratulations to the Class of 2015.  Special congratulations to the parents, friends, spouses, and children who are here today. You know that you played your part.”
For the 8th year in a row, the service was streamed live over the Internet through the VTS website. Click here to watch now.