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Moravian Theological Seminary celebrates 2016 Commencement


On May 15, Moravian Theological Seminary celebrated the conclusion of its 209th academic year with the largest graduating class in Seminary history.

Festivities began on May 14 with a community Lovefeast open to all members of the Seminary community. Graduating students developed this ecumenical and interfaith event with Rev. Dr. Riddick Weber, Seminary Chaplain, and provided leadership during the service.

Following the Lovefeast, graduates and their families gathered with faculty and staff for the Senior Celebration. The refreshments and comedic program were hosted by the Student Elders’ Council (SEC), the Seminary’s student government organization.


Seven Moravians earn degrees

Moravians were well represented within the Class of 2016, with seven earning degrees.

Bertie Knisely (East Hills) earned a Graduate Certificate in Formative Spirituality and is leading Holy Listening Groups with Moravian churches in the Bethlehem area.

Melanie Chadwick (Emmaus), John Egerton (Advent), and Desna Henry Goulborne (Tremont Terrace) earned Master of Arts in Theological Studies degrees. John’s master’s project focused on developing a leader’s manual for small group experiences at Moravian Open Door in NYC. He will continue to serve as an active volunteer with this ministry. Melanie plans to serve in her current position. Desna will continue to serve as pastor of Tremont Terrace Moravian Church in Bronx, N.Y.

Dan Miller (Lake Mills) and Mark Newman (Schoeneck) earned Master of Divinity degrees. Dan, who received the John David Bishop Memorial Prize at Commencement, was installed as the pastor of Edgeboro Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa., on June 26. Mark was awarded the Rev. Elmer Bender Memorial Award in Moravian Ministry and he will remain in his position at Moravian College while he awaits a call in the Moravian Church.

And Laura Gordon (Advent) earned the Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling degree. She will continue to serve as pastor of Advent Moravian Church in Bethlehem.

2016 graduates from other denominations and faith traditions include:

  • Graduate Certificate in Formative Spirituality: Victoria Aitchison, Joyce Bogusky and Samuel Pomper
  • Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction: Joyce Bogusky, Anthony Capone, Kimberly Denyes, Carolynn Holmes Search, Mary Howe, Michaela Laurincová, Mary Helen Markowitz, Denise Mikuta and Alice Roth
  • Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling: Bill Arnold, Denise Mikuta, Briana Newman, Rachel Starmer and Wendy Watkins
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies: Mehmet Sacit Arvas and Kimberly Denyes
  • Master of Divinity: Randy D’Angelo (Metropolitan Community Church), Virginia Schlegel (United Church of Christ), Deborah Taylor (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and Rebekah Thomas (United Church of Christ)


Presenting honorary degrees

0716seminarylovefeastMoravian Theological Seminary also presented two honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees at the 2016 Commencement service in recognition of exemplary leadership and scholarly work.

The first was presented to Dean Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. David Schattschneider, who joined the faculty of Moravian Theological Seminary in 1968 as an instructor of Historical Theology and World Christianity, moving progressively up the academic ranks until becoming the S. Morgan Smith and Emma Fahs Smith Chair of Historical Theology in 1986. He was elected Dean and Vice-President in 1988 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2001.

David has been a leading consultant on Moravian history in the academic world, and his list of accomplishments include three decades of shaping Moravian ministers with his understanding of Moravian history, authoring numerous articles in encyclopedias and dictionaries on Moravian history and missiology, and publishing histories of the Moravian Open Door and the Pennsylvania Council of Churches.

Among his lasting achievements was the creation of the Seminary’s Center for Moravian Studies in 1992. David’s dissertation, “Souls for the Lamb: A Theology of Christian Mission According to Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf and Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg,” remains the most influential study of Moravian mission theory and practice in the English language.

0716seminarychemberlinSymbolic of Rev. Dr. David Schattschneider’s legacy as a descendent of a distinguished Moravian family, the hood used for conferring his honorary degree was the same hood used in 1958, when Moravian College & Moravian Theological Seminary awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity to David’s father, Bishop 
Allen Schattschneider.

Receiving the second honorary doctorate and presenting the Commencement address was the Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC), who has served in the capacity since 1995. She is known for developing an organizational culture of collaboration and relationship-based programming, establishing MCC as a gateway organization between the faith community and other sectors.

Under her direction, the council has opened interactions with Native American tribal leaders throughout the state, brought the MCC into the cross-sector effort to eliminate poverty in Minnesota by 2020, and launched the Decade for Development of Leadership for the Common Good.

From 2009–11, Peg also held the office of President of the National Council of Churches. During that same period, she was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, where she served on the task force focused on economic recovery and fighting poverty. She was a responding panelist to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, during his visit to Chicago in 2011.

Peg was ordained a pastor of the Moravian Church in 1982, and has served Moravian and Congregational churches. She was named canon by the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota in 2009. Prior to her work with the MCC she served as Program Director of Minnesota FoodShare from 1988-95.
The Seminary community is grateful to have experienced the rich influence of these individuals.

Please join the faculty and staff of Moravian Theological Seminary in congratulating the Class of 2016! 

Article and photos courtesy of Colleen Marsh, Moravian Theological Seminary.


From the July 2016 Moravian Magazine

Moravian Daily Texts


Tuesday, August 21† — Psalm 102:12–22
Judges 4; Luke 19:1–10

The Lord our God may not leave us or abandon us. 1 Kings 8:57

The disciples went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16:20

Heavenly Father, as we, your flock, move throughout the day, you are the shepherd that guides our way. Help us, O Lord, to remember you are always present, even when we cannot feel you. Amen.

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