Dear Friends of the Seminary,
Each fall members of our incoming class pack up their worldly possessions and move onto campus. Some bring vans, others large trucks, and a few just need the back seat of their car. New residents often bring family and friends to help carry the boxes; others are assisted by current students.
Some PTS employees have likewise been packing and moving these last few weeks. Members of the Continuing Education department, Metro-Urban Institute, and World Mission Initiative will now be more centralized on campus with their offices located in McNaugher Hall, second floor.
Why the move? Right now these three departments are in three different buildings! Bringing them physically closer will enhance the work that can be done together. This increased synergy will provide current students with additional opportunities for mission outreach, both here and around the world. Research done by one department can more easily be integrated by another. New ideas and initiatives can share resources.
These relocations come at a strategic time as the Seminary welcomes new members in the areas of CE, MUI, and WMI. As you’ve read in previous communiqués, we are delighted to have Dr. Helen Blier as our new director of continuing education; the Rev Dr. Jannie Swart as associate professor of world mission and evangelism, serving as a faculty resource for the World Mission Initiative; and the Rev. Dr. Drew Smith as professor of urban ministry serving as a faculty resource for the Metro-Urban Institute.
Additionally, by placing these offices together, we can improve the quality of our theological programs, increase student success, and enrich Continuing Education, all key goals of our strategic plan. As always, we encourage your prayers for the Seminary as we go about doing God’s work of preparing pastor-theologians for Christ’s church.
William J. Carl III
President and Professor of Homiletics
Fifty years after the historic March on Washington, the Rev. Dr. R. Drew Smith, professor of urban ministry, joined thousands of others to reflect on the 1963 civil rights event. “There was a spirit of reflection remembering the march 50 years before and also a determined spirit as people assessed the current contexts as it relates to civil rights in the country,” said Professor Smith. Read the full article detailing the private reception with President Obama and the First Lady at the White House, the inter-faith worship service, and the march. Also of interest is Dr. Smith’s family connection as servants to former presidents.
The Seminary expects 55 students to matriculate during the annual Convocation service. Incoming students will pursue the master of divinity (including joint programs), master of arts, and master of sacred theology degrees. The breakdown of male and female students is 44 and 56 percent respectively. As has been the case in recent years, more students are Presbyterian than any other denomination, with United Methodist following as the second most common denomination. Collectively, 17 denominations are represented in this incoming class. This year’s international student is from Malaysia. Among the 14 home states represented this year, 17 students are from states beyond Pennsylvania. The majority of students have received degrees from out of state colleges and universities. One earned a bachelor’s degree in the country of Bolivia. We encourage you to join us for Convocation Mon., Sept. 9 at 11:30 in the Hicks Chapel.
Dr. Gabriel Barkay, from Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University, will present “Who’s Buried in Absalom’s Tomb?” Tues., Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. For centuries, pilgrims have associated an impressive burial monument in the Kidron Valley with the burial place of David’s rebellious son Absalom. But the tomb’s design, featuring Ionic columns, a Doric frieze, and a conical pyramid, suggests a construction date much later than David and Absalom’s time. Some have connected it with Alexander Jannaeus, king of Judea from 103–76 BCE. A recently deciphered inscription on one of the tomb’s walls relates the monument to Zechariah—“martyr, priest, and father of John the Baptist”—even though another, nearby tomb carries the name “Tomb of Zechariah.” Muslim tradition calls the edifice “Pharaoh’s Hat.” Come hear this renowned archaeologist discuss the latest information relating to the most famous concentration of rock-hewn tombs from Second Temple period Jerusalem. Additionally, the Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology will be open from 6:30-7:15 p.m. and after the lecture. The lecture and reception to follow are free and open to the public.
Join us for the annual W. Don McClure Lectures Sept. 23-24, 2013. Vinoth Ramachandra, secretary for dialogue and social engagement with International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, will address “Mission in the Global Public Square.” Schedule of events is as follows:
11:30 a.m. - The Challenge of Global Civil Society
4:00 p.m. - Mission to the University
5:15 p.m. - WMI Reception
6:00 p.m. - Dinner, Pre-registration is required. Registration and payment are accepted online.
7:30 p.m. - Postcolonial Mission
11:30 a.m. - Mission and the Mind of Christ Philippians 2:5-11
Looking for a continuing education opportunity this month? Consider joining us for one or more of the following:
Seeing with the Eyes of Faith: Visual Art as an Entry to Prayer / Sept. 22-25 / Kristine Haig, First Presbyterian Church in Morgantown, W.Va. / Learn more.
30th Annual Teacher Training Workshop - Spirituality in the Home, Church, and World / Sept. 28 / B. De Niece Welch, Bidwell United Presbyterian Church / Learn more.
Refreshing Your Old Testament Biblical Hebrew Reading (Term 1) /Mondays, Sept. 30 - Nov. 4 / James Durlesser, PTS / Learn more.