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Martin E. Marty will speak at 157th Commencement

May 20, 2010
Debra Mumford selected as Baccalaureate preacher

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will hold its 157th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 23, 2010, at Second Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky., at 3:30 p.m.

Dr. Martin E. Marty, American religion historian, scholar, educator, author, and theologian, is the Commencement speaker. Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he earned his doctorate in 1956 and taught for 35 years in the University’s Divinity School. As a professor there, he founded the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion in 1979, which the Divinity School renamed as The Martin Marty Center for the study, research, and work of “public religion,” upon Marty’s retirement in 1998.

A prolific writer, Marty has published more than 5,000 articles and 50 books, particularly in his field of the history of American religion in the 19th and 20th Centuries. He is recognized as a leader in religion and culture through his regular column in The Christian Century, having served on the staff since 1956; through Context, a semimonthly newsletter on religion and culture that he has edited for 41 years; and through his weekly contributions to Sightings, a bi-weekly online editorial published by the Marty Center.

As an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Marty served parishes in Chicago for a decade before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1963. He also has served on two U.S. Presidential Commissions and was director of both the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Public Religion Project at the University of Chicago. His contributions to the academy, historical scholarship, education, the church, and public leadership have been honored with numerous awards and recognitions, including the National Humanities Medal, the University of Chicago Alumni Medal, The Distinguished Service Medal of the Association of Theological Schools, the Order of Lincoln Medallion, and more than 70 honorary doctorates from colleges, universities, and seminaries nationwide.

At the Commencement exercises, Louisville Seminary will confer the following degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, Master of Arts (Religion), Master of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry. Of the 41 potential graduates, 28 are women and 13 are men. Fourteen graduates are in their 20s; 23 are between 30 and 59 years of age, and 4 have completed other careers and are now in their 60s. Twelve are from the State of Kentucky, and the rest of the graduating class represents other states throughout our nation, including Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin, and international locations in East and West Africa.

A significant number of men and women will also be recognized for their continuing studies on behalf of the church and pastoral leadership as 11 will receive the Diploma in Pastoral Studies, and 2 will receive the Certificate in Pastoral Counseling Supervision.

As part of the ceremony, the Devoted Service Awards will be presented to the Commencement Speaker and to two Presbyterian Moderators, who represent the two synods with whom Louisville Seminary has historical relationships. In addition to Marty, receiving the awards are Rev. Lisa Danielson, Moderator of the Synod of Mid-America and the Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Topeka, Kansas, where she has served for ten years; and Rev. David V. Sawyer, Moderator of the Synod of Living Waters, a 1979 graduate of LPTS, and the Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Spring Hill, Tennessee, where he has served since 1992.

Prior to Commencement, at a morning worship service, Dr. Debra Mumford, the Frank H. Caldwell Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Louisville Seminary, will deliver the Baccalaureate sermon, “Go, and Do Likewise.” The Baccalaureate will be held in the Seminary’s Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel at 10:30 a.m. Each year, the graduating class selects the Baccalaureate preacher or preachers and creates the worship service.

A native of Kinston, N.C., Mumford earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University, Washington, D.C.; Master of Divinity from the American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, Calif.; and Master of Arts in Biblical Languages and Ph. D. in Homiletics (with an allied field in New Testament) from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. Mumford’s academic interests include African American prophetic preaching, preaching and culture, eschatology and preaching, congregational exegesis, and anxiety and preaching.

Mumford is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church and has served several congregations in Northern California. She also served as Youth Outreach Coordinator for the Chaplaincy to the Homeless in Berkeley; Director of Operations for the Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, Calif.; and Director of Recruitment and Admissions at both Pacific School of Religion and the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley.

She has professional memberships with the Academy of Homiletics, the American Academy of Religion, the black Scholars Group of AAR, and Together in Ministry Covenant Group. She is on the editorial Board of the African American Pulpit and her publications include “Jeremiah Wright and Black Prophetic Preaching” and “Prosperity Preaching: Will Jesus Make You Rich?” for The Thoughtful Christian.

Founded in 1853, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is one of ten Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seminaries. It is also approved by the United Methodist, the African Methodist Episcopal, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal denominations to educate their pastors and professionals. The Seminary is committed to nurturing inclusive study, experience, and exploration that seek to learn from the wisdom of minority voices. As a community with a multicultural vision, Louisville Seminary is a center of theological education that values and embraces the diversity of perspectives.

Caldwell Chapel is located on the campus of Louisville Seminary at 1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, Ky., 40205, and Second Presbyterian Church is located at 3701 Old Brownsboro Road. Maps and Directions.

The Seminary Bookstore will be open for graduates and guests on the day of graduation, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information contact Louisville Seminary at 502.895.3411 or toll free at 800.264.1839.

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