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Louisville Seminary Celebrates its 163rd Commencement

by Chris Wooton | Jun 06, 2017

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary held its 163rd Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 14, 2017, at Second Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The seminary conferred Master of Divinity degrees to 21 students. Seven students earned Master of Arts degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy, and five students earned Master of Arts degrees in Religion. Doctor of Ministry degrees were conferred to six students. One student earned a Certificate in Black Church Studies. Two students earned a Certificate in Education Ministry, one student earned a Certificate in Pastoral Counseling Supervision, and three students received a Pastoral Studies Diploma.

SEE THE LIST OF 2017 LOUISVILLE SEMINARY GRADUATES.

During the commencement exercises, several students were recognized for their accomplishments in a variety of fields including preaching, theology, the integration of theology with marriage and family therapy, field education and overall academic achievement.
J Herbert Neslon Commencement 2017
SEE THE LIST OF 2017 LOUISVILLE SEMINARY GRADUATE AWARD WINNERS.

As part of the ceremony, the Devoted Service Award, which recognizes individuals for their dedicated service in the life of the Church, was presented to the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II (pictured), a Louisville Seminary alum (MDiv ’02) and stated clerk for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Devoted Service Awards were also given to Ralph Young, moderator of the Synod of Living Waters, and Avis Odenbaugh, moderator of the Synod of Mid-America.

Nelson also served as the commencement speaker. His commencement address, "What We are Contending With," reminded graduates that they are ready (and worthy) to accept the challenges and rewards of ministry and discipleship.


Louisville Seminary presented Nelson with the Distinguished Alum Award in 2014 for his personal and professional achievements and commitment to the church. In 2016, Nelson was the Louisville Seminary Festival of Theology and Alum Reunion preacher. Prior to his service in the PC(USA) Office of the General Assembly, Nelson was director of the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., where he advocated the social witness perspectives and policies of the Presbyterian General Assembly.

Wigger - Baccalaureate 2017Prior to Commencement, Louisville Seminary's Baccalaureate worship service was held in Caldwell Chapel at Louisville Seminary. J. Bradley Wigger, Louisville Seminary’s Second Presbyterian Church Professor of Christian Education, delivered the Baccalaureate sermon, "Deep Play", and referenced Scripture from Ruth and Zechariah.

Each year, members of the graduating class select the Baccalaureate preacher and create a worship service. Wigger (pictured) joined Louisville Seminary’s faculty in 1997 and has authored several articles and books. His most recent publication is a picture book for children, Thank You, God (Eerdmans, 2014), and was preceded by Original Knowing: How Religion, Science, and the Human Mind Point to the Irreducible Depth of Life (Cascade, 2012).

In March 2017, Wigger was selected as a 2017-2018 Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology. The Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology program was established in 1993 to identify leading scholars in theological studies and provide them with the necessary financial support and recognition to facilitate their work. Wigger’s Luce project focuses on the religious imagination of children and puts three sources of research in conversation: (1) theories of childhood cognition/imagination; (2) theological understandings of children; and (3) empirical information derived directly from children. He argues that prevalent understandings of childhood and children's faith are rooted in an often unrecognized Freudian-Piagetian developmental picture that itself is suspicious of religion.

READ MORE ABOUT J. BRADLEY WIGGER.

DOWNLOAD PICTURES FROM LOUISVILLE SEMINARY'S 2017 COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES AND BACCALAUREATE SERVICE.

About Louisville Seminary
Founded in 1853, Louisville Seminary offers an inclusive and diverse learning community, welcoming students from wide ecumenical backgrounds while maintaining its long, historic commitment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Louisville Seminary is committed to building bridges across the world's religious, racial and cultural divides. It is distinguished by its nationally-recognized marriage and family therapy and field education programs, the scholarship and church service among its faculty and a commitment to training women and men to participate in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ. For more information, call (800) 264-1839 or log onto www.lpts.edu.
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