Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bethany Seminary celebrates its 108th commencement.

On May 11, members of Bethany Theological Seminary’s class of 2013 expressed joy and a sense of accomplishment as they graduated in front of family and friends in Nicarry Chapel on the seminary campus in Richmond, Ind.

Ten graduates received their diplomas from Ruthann Knechel Johansen, president, and Lynn Myers, board chair; three were recognized in absentia. Nelson Kraybill, president emeritus of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, gave the address on the topic “Who Is Worthy to Open the Scroll?” (Revelation 5:1-10).

The following received master of divinity degrees: Laura Beth Arendt of Gettysburg, Pa.; Amy Marie Beery of Indianapolis, Ind., with emphases in peace studies and youth and young adult ministry; Glenn A. Brumbaugh of Camp Hill, Pa., with emphasis in peace studies; Erik Charles Brummett of Indianapolis, Ind., with emphasis in youth and young adult ministry; Mary Alice Eller of Richmond, Ind., with emphasis in peace studies; Daniel Finkbiner of Bethel, Pa.; Andrew Graves of Lakeland, Fla.; Dylan James Haro of La Verne, Calif.; Robert Miller of Indianapolis, Ind., with distinction in ministry studies; Pat Owen of Batavia, Ill.; Terry A. Scott of Pleasant Plain, Ohio.

The following received a master of arts degree: Elizabeth Ann Monn Thorpe of Chambersburg, Pa., with a thesis titled, “The Mystical Motif: Embracing Silence with God amidst the Sounds of Life.”

The following received a certificate of achievement in theological studies: Michael Smith of Pendleton, Ind.

Future plans for members of the class of 2013 include placement in pastoral ministry or chaplaincy, peace ministry, spiritual direction, and doctoral study.

Kraybill spoke to the unexpected and transforming ways of God: the One who is worthy--the lion of Judah--as a Lamb. With a power not of this world, the Lamb and his followers are to bring hope, love, and healing to the troubled, needy, and oppressed in the world. “Sunday after Sunday a pastor needs to open the scroll and talk about real things of life and death and politics and economics and violence and despair and hope,” Kraybill said. “Keep your eyes on the Lamb, and God will make you worthy to open the scroll, to speak and live prophetically in a suffering world that God loves.” Kraybill is lead pastor of Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Ind., and president-elect of Mennonite World Conference.

In a statement of thanksgiving, Johansen lifted up personal attributes that the graduates shared with the Bethany community as they pursued their own paths in ministry. She also recognized accomplishments and service of the faculty and staff, including Malinda Berry’s completion of her doctoral dissertation at Union Theological Seminary and the promotion of Russell Haitch to professor of Christian education and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults.

“The real test of the success and faithfulness of our studying the gospel of Jesus Christ together is lived out not only in our grand moments of achievement or in our visions of a more just world but in the small daily ways we are awake and responsive to the transforming work of the Holy One who calls within and among us,” she said. “Thank you most importantly for the essential gift of guarding the little piece of the divine that resides in each of us and for calling it forth as well.”

During the afternoon worship service in Nicarry Chapel, Johansen carried out the traditional ritual of blessing for each graduate, affirming their call and sending them forth in ministry. Planned and led by the graduates, the service included hymn singing, reflections by Erik Brummett and Robert Miller on Isaiah 55:1-13, and a sung offering by the graduates, “Take My Life.”

Music for the commencement ceremony was provided by organist Nancy Faus-Mullen, pianist Jenny Williams, clarinetist Don Miller, and a choir of Bethany community members directed by Enten Eller. Julie M. Hostetter was pianist for the worship service, with Tara Hornbacker, Dan Finkbiner, and Dylan Haro providing guitar and percussion accompaniment.

Both the ceremony and the worship service were webcast and can be viewed at

Source: 5/30/2013 Newsline

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