I went to a graduation, and church broke out! – by Cathi Johnson

GraduationAs I sat among trustees, with faculty in front of me and family members behind me, graduates to my right and more family to my left, I enjoyed the bubbling wellspring of goodwill and excitement.  It was intended to be a graduation ceremony for 53 seminary students, but instead, church broke out!

We often talk about diversity at MTS.  It’s one of our hallmarks.  We understand its value and devote a good bit of attention to it.  That was very evident at graduation.  Picture the scene:

The pipe organ belting out Handel’s “Allegro” as a prelude and accompanying traditional hymns such as “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.”

Jazzy contemporary music from Will Graves & Soul.  Their rendition of “How Great is Our God” had everyone spontaneously standing and singing along.

Welcome by stately president Dr. Earheart-Brown.  Invocation by deep-voiced dean Dr. Stan Wood.  Scripture reading by petite graduate and president of the student senate Dorothy Nichols.  The address by internationally renowned author and speaker Phyllis Tickle.

And in the middle of it all, the moderator of the Board of Trustees, Rev. Hill, stands up to pray and says, “Well.  I went to a graduation, and church broke out!”

The unique diversity of Memphis Theological Seminary is such a blessing for those who attend this institution and the communities they serve.  Through diversity, we are exposed to traditions beyond our own.  We see and hear and participate in worship that enriches our relationship with God.

Younger and older, male and female, black and white, we have seen through a glass darkly; but as we have studied and learned and shared face to face, we now know others better, “even as also I am known.”

Church did indeed break out at the MTS graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 18, 2013.  Perhaps it was a precursor to the next day – Pentecost – when the Holy Spirit moved among the early believers.  The Holy Spirit was with us on Saturday, and continues to move throughout the pulpits and congregations of our community, our city and our world.

Where will you be when church breaks out?  Perhaps it’ll be in a classroom at Memphis Theological Seminary.  If you are called to pulpit ministry or teaching ministry, need a Master of Divinity for ordination or a Master of Arts to enhance your teaching abilities, MTS is the place for you.  Let us show you how.