FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Alexandria, VA –
The August term at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) began today with 47 new students. The class is comprised of 35 entering the Master in Divinity (M.Div.) program that includes students from Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Israel, two Master of Arts (M.A.) students, one Anglican Studies student, two full-time special students and six part-time special students.
“As we begin another academic year and welcome this class of students,” said Jan Sienkiewicz, director of admissions, ”we are again reminded of how the future of the Church is being ensured and strengthened by the dedication and commitment of those who have responded to the call to spread the Gospel.”
For the last several years, the recruitment of minority students has been a priority for VTS. In 2007, students of color represented 12.7 percent of the student body; this year the incoming class is at 16 percent bringing the Seminary closer to its goal of being a racially and ethnically diverse community.
Joining the new students is the Rev. Melody Knowles, Ph.D. (pictured), the Seminary’s vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of Old Testament. She comes to VTS from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, serving as associate professor of Hebrew Scriptures since 1999. Knowles welcomed the new students at the noon day Eucharist in the Lettie Pate Evans Interim Chapel with her inaugural sermon.
“Start here. You’ve got your nametags and your packets,” said Knowles during her sermon. “Don’t hold out for September, with all of those interesting, expansive intro courses. Don’t just wait for those practical theology courses where you can dig into the pastoral arts. Start now, even in Hebrew and Greek. And when you get to September, start there too, taking all of those intro courses seriously, not just as a means to get you through to that diploma at the end of it all in some far away and happy May, after which your real work of ministry will begin. Start here and now, every day in seminary, not saving up for a future that may never come.”
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, in service of the Church. For more information, please visit vts.edu.