Monday, August 11, 2008

August Term Kick-Off

Today's VTS Press Release:

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – Virginia Theological Seminary kicked off its August term today welcoming 57 incoming students from 32 domestic dioceses and five countries including Tanzania, Myanmar, France, Jamaica, and Haiti. The day began with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the Seminary Chapel and a sermon delivered by the Very Rev. Ian Markham, the Seminary’s dean and president, who focused his remarks on passages from the Song of Solomon (2:10-13) and the Gospel of Luke (12:32-37). “In the love song of the Song of Solomon,” said Markham, “We hear the call of love inviting us to a different place; and in the Gospel, we find Jesus exhorting his disciples to move beyond fear, beyond possessions and things, and to ‘be dressed for action.’” Markham continued, “This Seminary has a job to do in the time that you are with us; our goal is discipleship.” The Dean then focused on instructions for discipleship embedded in the Gospel reading, namely the selling of one’s possessions in order to avoid distraction and the call to be “dressed for action.” “We need to be alert, attentive, and ready to serve,” said the Dean. “We need to make spending time with God the absolute priority. We need to allow God to structure our priorities and enable us to live as God has called us to be and we need to seize every opportunity to be transformed by God’s grace. Why? Because the God of love has called and we have responded.”

The August Term for new students consists of three weeks of orientation that include classes in biblical languages and oral interpretation of scripture, which help students develop the routine and disciplines of worship, study, prayer, and fellowship. Seventy-two percent of the entering students this year are working toward the Master of Divinity degree (MDiv), while the remaining 28% are working toward a Master in Theological Studies (MTS), a Master of Arts in Christian Education (MACE), a Master of Arts in Christian Education/Youth Ministry (MACEYM), or are enrolled in the Anglican Studies program.

The August Term also marks the beginning of the Institute for Christian Formation and Leadership’s Evening School of Theology which offers quality theological education at low cost to lay people of all denominations. Fall courses include The Gospel of John led by the Rev. Dr. John Yieh, associate professor of New Testament at VTS; More Mystery than Manners, Reading Flannery O’Conner, led by the Rev. Dr. Barney Hawkins, executive director for the Seminary’s Center for Anglican Communion Studies and Professor of Theology and Practice; and The Call to Discipleship, taught by Dr. Kathleen Henderson Staudt, VTS adjunct faculty member. Click here for more information on these courses.

Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women for service in the Church worldwide, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Currently, the Seminary represents more than 42 different dioceses and 5 different countries, for service in the Church.


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