Renowned spiritual poet will deliver 151st commencement address
Louisville Seminary | May 03, 2004
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will hold its 151st commencement exercises on Sunday, May 23, 2004, 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 Theology, and Doctor of Ministry. Of the 32 potential graduates, 19 are women and 13 are men. Four women will receive dual degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and the Master of Divinity, and several of eleven December 2003 graduates will join this class to receive their diplomas at the May exercises.
In the Seminary’s non-degree programs, certificates in homiletic supervision will be granted to four individuals, and six individuals will receive the certificate in pastoral counseling supervision. Seven students will receive diplomas in pastoral studies.
This year’s graduates began their studies under the cloud of 9/11 and some painful events that took place during their three years at Louisville Seminary. For many, these situations will never be forgotten, yet because of their experiences, members of this class consider themselves more prepared to minister in the world that awaits them.
The commencement speaker will be religious poet Ann Weems, who has selected the Twenty-third Psalm and the Gospel reading from Matthew 16:13-18 on which to frame her address, Preaching Jesus: “Who Do You Say that I Am?”
Weems has published her writings of faith since 1980 with her first collection of poems in Reaching for Rainbows (Westminster Press). She is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has written extensively for the denomination. However, her books of poetry have an interfaith, interdenominational appeal, particularly the popular Kneeling in Bethlehem (1987); Searching for Shalom (1987); Kneeling in Jerusalem (1991); and the most recent Putting the Amazing Back in Grace (1999).
A writer, speaker, worship designer, and conference leader, Weems’ contributions to the church have taken many forms. She has served on several Presbyterian Church (USA) committees, as a board member of Geneva Press and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and as president of the Presbyterian Writers’ Guild. She is the recipient of the Guild’s Distinguished Writer Award (1996), Eden Seminary’s Peace Award, and is a best selling author for Westminster/John Knox Press.
During commencement exercises, the Devoted Service Award will be presented to Weems and to two synod moderators: Louisville Seminary graduate (MDiv 1996) Rev. Vicki Rucker, associate pastor of Broadway Presbyterian Church in Sedalia, Missouri, who serves the Synod of Mid-America, and retired Presbyterian pastor Rev. Donald L. Padget, now a coordinator for the Red Cross Bloodmobile, serving the Synod of Living Waters. These awards recognize individuals for their dedicated service in the life of the Church.
Baccalaureate Service — Prior to Commencement, Dr. Marion L. Soards, professor of New 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.
Marion “Marty” Soards, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), joined the Louisville Seminary faculty in 1990 to teach New Testament. Publishing more than 60 articles in theological dictionaries and professional journals, he is the author of 22 books including The Passion According to Luke: The Special Material of Luke 22 (1987); The Apostle Paul: An Introduction to His Writings and Teaching (1987); the 12-volume set, Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary (1992-1994), which he co-authored with T. B. Dozeman and K. K. McCabe; The Role of the Speeches in Acts (1994); Scripture and Homosexuality: Biblical Authority and the Church Today (1995); and I Corinthians (1999). He has also been an editor of The New Interpreter’s Bible Project, the Mercer Library of Biblical Studies, and the Journal of Biblical Literature.
He has been a Fellow of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada, the Catholic Biblical Association of America, and the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation in Germany. He is active in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association of America, and the international society for New Testament studies, Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.
Soards earned degrees from Furman University (B.A.); Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.); and Union Theological Seminary, New York (S.T.M., M.Phil., and Ph.D.).