May 19, 2015

Sending them Forth

Watching graduates cross the dais at the commencement ceremony brings great joy to faculty, families, and future employers.  These graduates are our “letters of recommendation” as they embody the mission of Central.  Since 1901 our seminary has been educating men and women for Gospel work around the world. We are grateful that this global reach is developing even further.  Seven men who had completed their Doctor of Ministry came from Burma (Myanmar) for this ceremony.  There was also significant Korean representation sprinkled among the other graduates.  It really did look like Pentecost, which surely must cheer the heart of God.

            I have been thinking about the new church that is coming, which will be browner and younger.  This emerging reality was on display as we gathered to celebrate and bless those who had completed certificates, diplomas, masters, and doctoral degrees.  Several generations of families attended, and little ones danced their delight in the aisles.

            Most of our graduates are already involved in important and varied ministries.  They serve as pastors, denominational leaders, principals and instructors in Bible colleges, chaplains, community developers, businesspersons doing ministry, and missionaries.
            Their experience of seminary is also varied as some come as mature leaders and simply need to hone skills; for others, it is a process of discovering giftedness and cultivating pastoral imagination for tending the flock, in whatever form it presents itself.

            As we send them forth, I offer this prayer in their behalf.

I pray that they will recognize their participation in the perichoretic movement of the Triune God, who is making all things new.
I pray that they will be sustained by the supply of the Spirit, who secures their lives in Christ, especially when discouragement lurks.
I pray that they will listen deeply to the cries of the world and offer the grace of God for comfort, healing, and transformation.
I pray that they will practice stability in their vocation, while continuously being converted in all ways of life.
I pray that they will follow the instruction of The Rule of St. Benedict in learning to “receive others as Christ” and to “do nothing without counsel.”
I pray that they will find trustworthy companions to “walk the mile and bear the load” with them.
Finally, I pray that they will find joy in faithful service, even when the way is hard.

Molly T. Marshall

Central prepares women and men for seeking God, shaping church, and serving humanity.

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