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Louisville Seminary Commencement Set for May 19

by Chris Wooton | Apr 08, 2019

On Sunday, May 19, 2019, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will celebrate its 165th Commencement. The Commencement exercises will take place at Second Presbyterian Church in Louisville (3701 Old Brownsboro Road, 40207) and will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Iva CarruthersThis year’s Commencement speaker is Dr. Iva E. Carruthers, who is the General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Procter Conference, an interdenominational nonprofit organization within the African American faith tradition focused on justice and equity issues.

Carruthers is Professor Emeritus and former Chairperson of the Sociology Department at Northeastern Illinois University and was founding President of Nexus Unlimited, an information and educational technology firm. She was appointed to the White House Advisory Council on the internet, and the educational software she developed was awarded a ComputerWorld Smithsonian Award. She is also founder of Lois House, an urban retreat center in Chicago, Illinois.

She currently serves as a Lifetime Trustee for the Chicago Theological Seminary and trustee for The Kwame Nkrumah Academy, Chicago; American Baptist College, Nashville; Shared Interest, New York; and Bread for the World, Washington, DC. Carruthers is a member of the National African American Reparations Commission and is working on initiatives related to the U.N. Decade of People of African Descent.

Dr. Carruthers is co-editor of Blow the Trumpet in Zion: Global Vision and Action for the 21st Century Black Church and has authored and edited a number of articles and publications in the areas of sociology, technology, and instructional technology. Her many study guides on African American and African history were developed as a co-producer of a multi-year educational television program. She was a delegate to the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and her publication, The Church and Reparations, was distributed by her denomination, the United Church of Christ, in several languages.

She received a B.A. from the University of Illinois; an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University; a Master in Theological Studies degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Humane Letters from the Meadville Lombard Theological School.

Her many awards and appointments include the 1999 Life Achievement Award by Northeastern Illinois University and “Year 2000 Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” award, given by the National Foundation of Women Legislators and the Small Business Administration. She was a recipient of Ebony Magazine’s 2001 Outstanding Mother Award for Mentoring and noted as a Chicago area social justice pioneer in the Women Alive! A Legacy of Social Justice Exhibit.


MumfordPrior to Louisville Seminary’s commencement exercises, the seminary will hold its baccalaureate service at the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel, which is located on the seminary’s campus (1044 Alta Vista Road, 40205). The service begins at 10:30 a.m. This year’s baccalaureate preacher is the Rev. Dr. Debra J. Mumford, Louisville Seminary’s Frank H. Caldwell Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Money Matters for Ministry Program. Mumford’s sermon, “Living the Faith,” will focus on Amos 5:21-24.

“We must live God’s justice, not just sing and pray about it,” said Mumford of her Baccalaureate sermon’s theme. “It is easy to become so focused on what our society tells us are the signs or outcomes of righteousness and godliness, that we lose track of what biblical prophets like Amos have told us are ways of being that are most important to God. These ways of being include doing justice, which, among other things, means that those who have power must use it for the benefit of all and not just for the chosen few. But power begets comfort and the desire to preserve our power, which often leads us to erect boundaries between ourselves and those with whom we are called to enact justice.”

Mumford is an ordained minister in American Baptist Churches, USA and affiliate minister with the Alliance of Baptists. She joined the Louisville Seminary faculty in 2007. She majored in mechanical engineering at Howard University and worked in engineering before answering her call to ministry. Mumford served as a youth pastor, associate minister, and church administrator in several congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her scholarly interests include African American prophetic preaching, prosperity preaching, eschatology and the reign of God, and preaching and health.

Mumford’s publications include Exploring Prosperity Preaching: Biblical Health, Wealth, & Wisdom; “Slave Prosperity Gospel” for Homiletic; “The Gospel of Prosperity: Jesus, Capitalism and Hope” in Homiletical Theology: Theologies of the Gospel in Context; The Journal for the Society of Pentecostal Studies; “Preaching on Homosexuality in the Black Church” for the African American Lectionary; “Preaching and Plagiarism” for The Presbyterian Leader; “Prosperity Preaching and African American Prophetic Preaching” for the Review and Expositor: A Consortium Baptist Theological Journal; “Trayvon Martin: A Tragic Catalyst for Change” and “Obamacare: the Good, the Bad, and the Hope for the Future” for The Thoughtful Christian.

Since 2008, Mumford has served as a mentor for the Louisville Youth Group, a grassroots organization that provides resources and a safe space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people ages 14 to 20.

Louisville Seminary’s baccalaureate service and commencement exercises are free and open to the public. 

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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