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VTS Begins 2020/21 Academic School Year with Worship and Dedication

Media Contact: Curtis Prather 
Tel: 703-461-1782 
Email: cprather@vts.edu

ALEXANDRIA, VA –  This morning, Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) welcomed returning and new students as we ushered in our 2020/21 academic year. The incoming class consists of 35 Master in Divinity, six Master of Arts, 13 Pathway to Ministry, and five Anglican Studies students from 25 dioceses across the country.

"Welcome to the new class of Juniors. By simply arriving in the middle of a pandemic, you have written yourselves into the annals of history. And to those in the MDiv program, the class of 2023: you are our Bicentennial Class," said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president. "We have been doing this work for 200 years and you join the ranks of those who have gone before, offering your lives to God in this place. We welcome you; may God be in every moment."

The school year was opened with an outdoor worship service that included a dedication to the newly renovated Addison Academic Center. View the service bulletin here. The service featured the Commonwealth Brass quintet and change ringing of the Immanuel Chapel Bells by members of the VTS Guild of Bell Ringers and the Washington Ringing Society.

After spending the month of August moving on to campus (apartment residents moved in at the beginning of August and residence hall dwellers moved in later in the month) and experiencing a socially distant August Term, our new students can now turn their attention to the new school year. This will be a new experience for all, especially given the need to maintain social distancing while building relationships with fellow students and faculty. Yet VTS is a resilient community and is all the stronger for having such dedicated new members: many of these people engaged with each other over the summer through a special Facebook group for incoming students, sharing their stories, their excitement, and their challenges as they prepared for life in seminary.

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Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary 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.
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