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President Jinkins begins new call, will deliver Opening Convocation address

by Louisville Seminary | Sep 07, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Michael Jinkins reported to his new call on September 1, 2010, walking into the President’s Office in Nelson Hall for the first time as the ninth President of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. In his first few days, President Jinkins is quickly settling in despite having arrived to Louisville, Ky., from Austin, Texas, only two short weeks ago.

Amidst the unpacking of his office and home, he and spouse Dr. Debbie Jinkins are delighted to be transplanting their Texas roots in Louisville Seminary campus soil. “As you can imagine, we are still surrounded by boxes and piles of the debris of moving, but we have also found ourselves surrounded by a community that already has come to mean more to us than we can possibly express,” Jinkins wrote on “day one” in a letter to the Seminary community.

“One of the particular joys of these days has been meeting some of our new students,” Jinkins highlighted in his campus letter. “As I have visited with them, I am deeply mindful of the sacrifices they often make to answer Christ’s call. They are so eager to learn and so eager to serve. And I know you stand with me in welcoming them to the life-long ministry of learning, which is essential to discipleship. I know you also stand with me in pledging to them that we will do all we can to support them in their vocations.”

On September 9, at the Opening Convocation of the 158th academic year, President Jinkins will lead the students and rest of the Seminary in reconstituting the community for another year of learning and preparation, and he will encourage faculty, students, employees, and friends of the Seminary, alike, to recommit their support for students and each other.

President Jinkins also will deliver a convocation address, entitled “The Life of the Mind in the Service of God: Why a Thinking Faith Still Matters.”

“Today, perhaps more than at any time since the Protestant Reformation, we need to recover a commitment to an intellectually rigorous faith, a courageous and imaginative faith, a thinking faith so memorably expressed in John Calvin’s phrase, ‘the life of the mind in the service of God,’” stated Jinkins. “One of the great challenges of theological education and of the life of faith in our time is to make a case for that quality of thinking faith which does not shrink either from scholarship or from acts of compassion, from the adventure of critical thought or from the call to justice.”

The service will be held in the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel at 11:30 a.m., and the public is invited to attend.

Dr. Jinkins was called as President of Louisville Seminary and Professor of Theology on June 4, 2010. He previously taught at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary where he was a professor of theology, served as a member of the administration, and as Seminary Dean. Dr. Jinkins has been ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for 29 years and also served 14 years in pastoral leadership and mission service in several congregations throughout the State of Texas. Throughout nearly two decades of seminary teaching and leadership, he has contributed to the life of the church and the academy with a vigorous and dynamic integration of professional and academic appointments, research, consultations, grant writing, publishing, and editorial responsibilities. He is the author of 12 books for academic and general audiences, and he has written numerous articles, essays, chapters, reviews, and papers in academic, professional, and ecclesial publications and is a regular contributor to Faith & Leadership: Call & Response, the online publication of Duke Divinity School and to Presbyterian Outlook online, among others.

With the start of new presidential leadership and a new academic year, the Seminary campus is buzzing with activity. Already, the Seminary’s newest seminarians have spent two weeks in the required Transforming Seminary Education (TSE) course. Initiated nearly five years ago, this class prepares incoming students for the particular character of theological education at Louisville Seminary and life together in a community that is inclusive, diverse, and multicultural. As Seminary Dean David Hester describes, the course introduces students to the values and commitments of the Seminary that will guide their preparation for the diverse ministries to which they are called. Special to this year’s incoming class was an introduction to the Doors to Dialogue (D2D) initiative, a program aimed at helping students understand and participate in ministry in a world of religious difference. This class will play a special role in the program over the next three years, and it began with both classroom experiences and conversations with two non-Christian faith communities during visits to a local synagogue and a local mosque. “Such experiences, coupled with readings and reflection in class, aim toward developing respect for differences that students will encounter in life together at LPTS, in the classroom, and in their field education, and they are part of the Seminary’s curriculum-wide effort to prepare students for Christian ministry in a pluralistic world,” Hester said.

The incoming class for the 2010-11 academic year is comprised of 76 students, including 60 in the Seminary’s masters-level degree programs: Master of Divinity (42); Master of Arts (Religion) (7); and Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (11), and 16 in the Doctor of Ministry degree program. While 48% come from the State of Kentucky, members of the incoming class also come from Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington State. Forty-four percent of the incoming class is male, and one quarter of the incoming class is non-Caucasian.

As President and Professor of Theology, Dr. Jinkins joins a faculty of 22 full-time and visiting professors, one quarter of whom represent racial-ethnic heritage, with credentials from some of the world’s leading theological institutions and universities. These accomplished scholars nurture students in diverse viewpoints through team-taught curriculum and connecting the classroom with the Seminary’s hallmark Field Education program.

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary was founded in 1853, in Danville, Kentucky. The Seminary is one of ten theological schools of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and offers an inclusive and diverse community, welcoming individuals from wider ecumenical backgrounds.

For more information about this event, contact the Office of Communications at 800.264.1839 or 502.895.3411, ext. 358, or by email at lpts@lpts.edu

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