chimes.sum2013.web0729 - page 39

SFTS, I am able to approach Scripture
using different biblical languages, and
through my coursework in preach-
ing, spirituality, and theology, I can
be open to the Holy Spirit leading me
when I preach my sermons.”
At the community lunch, Wei was
also recognized for his creation of a
33-foot ceramic mural that displays
biblical scenes using colorful broken
pottery. The mural, which took three
years to design and create, is now on
permanent display in Holy Grounds,
the SFTS student common area next
to Alexander Hall.
The SFTS baccalaureate service
took place in Stewart Chapel the day
before commencement. Designed by
the class of 2013, the service included
Scripture read in various languages in-
cluding Korean, Greek, Hebrew, and
SFTS enrollment director Eliza-
beth McCord directed her sermon to
the class of 2013: “You who are gradu-
ating have demonstrated mutual care,
respect, and devotion to one another
through your years at San Francisco
Theological Seminary. You have be-
come one another’s kin, one another’s
people; you share and serve the same
“Like Ruth and Naomi,” McCord
continued, “something fundamental
about who you are as people and as
faith leaders is now intertwined. And
while you may not physically go where
another goes or lodge where another
lodges, you can remain together in
prayer and in friendship.”
The Rev. Eugene Eung-Chun
Park, professor of New Testament at
SFTS, gave a charge to the graduat-
ing students as they prepared to go out
into the world. The Rev. James Moiso,
interim pastor-in-residence for the
2010–2011 academic year, offered the
closing benediction.
The following day’s commence-
ment program, at Bouick Field on the
SFTS campus, opened with the sounds
of bagpipes and an official procession
of the graduating class, faculty, ad-
ministrators, and guest speakers. SFTS
graduated 16 students in the Master
of Divinity program, 8 students in the
Master of Arts in Theological Studies
program, 19 students in the Doctor
of Ministry program, 12 students in
the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual
Direction program, 5 students in the
Graduate Theological Union (GTU)
Master of Arts program, 3 students in
the Diploma in Spiritual Formation
Studies program, and 1 student in the
GTU Ph.D. program.
SFTS also recognized the Rev. By-
ron L. Bland as recipient of the 2013
Distinguished Alumni Award. Bland,
who received an MA in social ethics
from SFTS in 1973 and an M.Div.
from the seminary in 1974, works as
an international conflict resolution
expert through the Stanford Center
on International Conflict and Ne-
gotiation (SCICN). He is currently
involved in peacemaking efforts in
Northern Ireland and Israel-Palestine.
Bland co-founded the Ecumenical
Hunger Program of Palo Alto, Califor-
nia, one of the oldest and largest faith
and community-based anti-hunger
organizations in the country. He also
helped establish the first peace stud-
ies program at Stanford University in
Since Bland was working in Ire-
land at the time of commencement, he
enlisted the Rev. Jack Hodges (M.Div.
1965), president of the SFTS Alumni
Council, to read his acceptance speech.
While they are sad to be leaving
the seminary community they have
called home, graduates of SFTS say
they are excited to use what they have
learned to become spiritual leaders in
the nation and the world.
“I am heartbroken to be leaving
SFTS, which has been my commu-
nity and my home for the past four
years,” said Charles Wei, who earned
an M.Div. degree. “But I’m excited to
take all that I have learned to engage
in ministry through nontraditional
“Commencement is not just about
celebrating the end of our story as
classmates at SFTS,” said M.Div.
graduate Terra Pennington. “It’s about
rejoicing with one another on new be-
ginnings, knowing that we leave the
seminary as friends who will radically
change the future of the church and
the world together.”
Christopher Schilling is a 2013 M.Div. graduate.
From page 18
Laying on of hands at the baccalaureate service.
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