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ALEXANDRIA, VA – On November 12, 2019, the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), welcomed the Board of Trustees to the Dedication of Bicentennial Hall with a special service. The Rev. Catherine M. Campbell ’88, board member, read from the First Letter to the Corinthians. That lesson placed in context the renovation and dedication:
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.
Anticipating the Seminary's upcoming 200th anniversary, Bicentennial Hall was chosen as the new home for two Assyrian Reliefs - one an original, and the other a replica - including the story of how they made their way from "Palace to Seminary." These 3000-year-old treasures will continue to be an invaluable resource in the formation of future leaders of The Episcopal Church.
Built in 1855 and originally named "Key Hall," after Francis Scott Key, Bicentennial Hall has served many functions, including educational space, a cafeteria, a library, and most recently as the hub for the Seminary's Lifelong Learning department. During the Civil War, the building was also a hospital. The renovation to the building took two years to complete and included the unexpected task of replacing the original flooring, which was rotting. It is the first of many exciting campus renovations happening in the lead-up to the 2023 Bicentennial.
The Rev. J. Barney Hawkins IV, Ph.D., co-director of the Bicentennial Campaign and the Arthur Carl Lichtenberger Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology, said, "The oldest academic building on campus is now renovated for our Bicentennial and its future years of serving the ministry and mission of Virginia Theological Seminary. Thanks, ever thanks to God!"
Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary is the flagship Seminary of the Episcopal Church. One of our first benefactors was Francis Scott Key whose poem provides the text for our national anthem. In the 191 years since being established, VTS has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at www.vts.edu.