CME Church Bishop to Speak at Commencement
Louisville Seminary | May 06, 2002
CME Church Bishop will remind Seminary graduates “they’ve got to move!”
Louisville, KY, May 2002 — Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will hold its 149th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 19, 2002, at 3:30 p.m. at Harvey Browne Memorial Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky.
The Seminary will confer the following degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry. Of the 40 potential graduates, 15 are women and 25 are men. Additionally, a certificate in homiletic supervision will be granted to four individuals who have completed the requirements, and three students will receive a diploma in pastoral studies.
The commencement speaker will be Bishop Nathaniel Linsey, senior bishop of the Second Episcopal District and CEO of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME). His message, “You’ve Got to Move!” will be based on the scripture from First Samuel 20:12-25.
Bishop Linsey has served 57 years in ministry, which has included service as National Director of Youth Work, as a presiding elder and general officer for 12 years and as bishop in West Africa for eight years. He was elected the 39th bishop of the CME Church in 1978. His ministry experiences also led to involvement in the civil rights struggle both in Knoxville, Tenn., where he served as NAACP President, and in Birmingham, Ala., where he was arrested and sent to jail during the height of civil unrest.
Through tireless efforts, Bishop Linsey founded the Congress on Evangelism in the CME Church and was one of the founders of the Interfaith Conference in Washington, DC. He serves on the Executive Board and several committees of the World Methodist Council, which honored him as a Founding Member of the Honorable Order of Jerusalem in 1999. Through his leadership, he has helped to start churches where there were none, nurtured congregations and the Second Episcopal District toward financial stability and growth, initiated programs for crisis intervention and support, and made a life commitment to evangelistic ministry.
Bishop Linsey’s relationship with the Seminary began with an historic covenant established in 1998, when the CME Church and Louisville Seminary formed a partnership and commitment to the education of African American ministers in the CME denomination. Louisville Seminary became an officially approved theological institution for ministers and laypeople in the CME Church. The first CME student enrolled through the partnership graduated in 2001. Two more students, Rev. Bessie Hooten (M.Div.) and Bryan Champion (D.Min.), will graduate at these 149th Commencement exercises. Bishop Linsey will retire in July 2002 at the General Conference of the CME Church in Atlanta. This commencement address will be his last official engagement as an active bishop.
During commencement exercises, the Devoted Service Award will be presented to Bishop Linsey and to two synod moderators: Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dick of the Synod of Living Waters and Rev. Martin Jacobsen of the Synod of Mid-America. These awards recognize individuals for their dedicated service in the life of the Church.
Prior to Commencement, Dr. W. Eugene March, A.B. Rhodes Professor of Old Testament, will deliver the Baccalaureate sermon that morning at a 10:30 a.m. worship service in the Seminary’s Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel.
Dr. March joined the Seminary faculty in 1982 following a teaching position at Austin Seminary. He has taught Introduction to Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew and specializes in the prophetic literature of the Old Testament. During his teaching tenure at LPTS he has carried a number of administrative duties including, Director of Continuing Education, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, Assistant to the President and Dean of the Seminary.
He is a leading voice in efforts to generate more interfaith dialogue. As an active participant in interfaith groups, particularly in Jewish-Christian dialogues, March helped to shepherd through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly a statement that better defines the relationship between Christians and Jews. Completed in 1987, the statement has received international recognition as one of the premier documents in this specific area of interfaith healing.
His work in interfaith dialogue was recently recognized with a prestigious Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology for 2002-2003 in the area of ‘Ministry and Practice of Communities of Faith’. Dr. March, one of seven to receive a fellowship, will write on The Widening Circle of Divine Love: God’s Gift of Religious Pluralism. His project will address how one reconciles the uniqueness of Christianity in a world of many religions. March will begin work on the book this summer, the beginning of an 18-month sabbatical that will conclude with his retirement in January 2004.
March is widely known for his adult Bible lessons in The Presbyterian Outlook. He is the author of Israel and the Politics of Land, the commentary on Haggai in the New Interpreter’s Bible, the revision of A.B. Rhodes’ The Mighty Acts of God, and co-author of The Power of Ideas, an historical account of the establishment of the Louisville Grawemeyer Awards.