|SFTS Southern California community has unique impact in region|
San Francisco Theological Seminary will celebrate 21 years of theological education in Southern California and bid farewell to the Pasadena campus on Saturday, May 14.
The Service of Thanksgiving will honor new graduates, but the event will take on more significant meaning since the campus will close on June 30. The SFTS Board of Trustees voted in February to shut down the campus as part of a larger plan to achieve financial equilibrium.
“I am proud of many aspects of the Southern California program and campus, but it is the strong sense of community we have here that stands out among all the rest,” said Rev. Dr. Judy Yates Siker, vice president for the Southern California campus. “People who have not been here do not realize, and often cannot imagine, that a commuter campus could generate such a sense of community. Perhaps it is because we have to be more deliberate about creating that sense of community since our classes are at night and because most of our students come to school after work. Whatever the reason, the ties are strong and last well beyond the classroom and graduation.”
The Service of Thanksgiving begins at 9:30 a.m. at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 East Colorado Blvd. A reception will follow at the Westin Pasadena, 191 North Los Robles Avenue, which is within walking distance from the church. The reception is being catered, so please RSVP by Monday, May 9, to Sue-Ann Wichman via e-mail at email@example.com call 626-397-9004, ext. 703.
The SFTS Southern California campus was established in 1990 and has enjoyed outstanding leadership from three vice presidents: Rev. Dr. Jack Rogers, a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Rev. Dr. David Tomlinson, former executive presbyter of Los Ranchos Presbytery, and Siker, professor of New Testament and Christian origins, and former dean of the American Baptist Seminary of the West.
The campus, currently headquartered at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, has been responsible for graduating an estimated 300 Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theological Studies students. These graduates serve throughout the world, but have had a noticeable impact in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
“The Southern California campus has had a major impact in this region in many respects,” Siker said. “I can't tell you how many of our students have expressed their gratitude for our non-traditional campus. Without this campus most of them would not have been able to answer their call to ministry. They do not have the option of packing up families and moving. This campus has also provided students seeking a seminary education a strong and clear choice as they considered seminaries in Southern California. The long-lasting impact of the campus can be seen and felt in the wide variety of places -- churches, nonprofit organizations, healthcare facilities, chaplaincies among others -- where our graduates serve.”
To gain insight into the ministries these graduates have been called to serve, check out the list of SFTS/SC graduates who have been ordained or received new calls during the past six months:
· Thomas Yu (M.Div. ’06) is a spiritual counselor at The Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
· Suzanne Malloy (M.Div. ’08) is chaplain for the Department of Spiritual Care for Cottage Health Systems in Santa Barbara, Calif.
· Sean Chow (M.Div. ’09) is associate pastor for Family Life at St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Laurel Spring, N.J.
· Lee Ireland (M.Div. ’09) is pastor for Community Presbyterian Church of Cathedral City, Calif.
· Dan Justin (M.Div. ’09) is assistant rector at Saint Mary's Episcopal Church in Park Ridge, Ill.
· Leslie Burke (M.Div. ’09) is assistant pastor at Unity Fellowship of Christ Church in Los Angeles.
“This will be a celebration of thanksgiving for the 21 years of theological education that have taken place here,” Siker said. “There is a long line of very dedicated people who have worked and studied here, who have offered the best of who they are and what they do to furthering the work of the church. I believe that this is a place that will be truly missed.”