On Saturday, May 7, Bethany Theological Seminary recognized its thirteen newest graduates, the class of 2016. Surrounded by faculty, staff, family, and friends, the following students received graduate degrees and certificates:
Master of Divinity
Thomas N. Appel, Aurora, Colorado
Karen M. Duhai, Richmond, Indiana – Emphasis in peace studies
Donald E. Fecher, Milford, Indiana
Angela S. Finet, Nokesville, Virginia
Harvey S. Leddy, Eden, North Carolina
Ela J. Robertson, Barnesville, Ohio
Christopher E. Stover-Brown, Wichita, Kansas – Emphasis in peace studies
Master of Arts
Jana Carter, Los Angeles, California – Concentration in theological studies
Kristin Shellenberger, Goshen, Indiana – Concentration in biblical studies
Beth B. Wethington, Henrico, North Carolina – Concentration in peace studies
Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies
Angela L. Adams, Tiskilwa, Illinois
Brody S. Rike, West Alexandria, Ohio
Roxanne M. West-Johnson, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Back Row: Beth Wethington, Ela Robertson, Chris Stover-Brown, Don Fecher, Harvey Leddy
Front Row: Kristy Shellenberger, Annie West-Johnson, Karen Duhai, Jana Carter, Angela Finet, Angela Adams
In Absentia: Tom Appel, Brody Rike
“We will miss this graduating class,” said President Jeff Carter in his opening statement, “an academically strong class with a heart for the lost and the least and for voices marginalized due to place and power and perception. You as a class have reminded us of our power and our privilege and have called us to make a difference in the communities where we live and through which we might witness to God’s movement and power. Intellectually curious, deeply compassionate, and with eyes wide open to the world around you . . . you have blessed us with your presence.”
The commencement speaker was Rev. David Witkovsky, campus chaplain at Juniata College, vice chair of Bethany’s board of trustees, and a 1983 Bethany alumnus. Drawing from the story of Jesus and the demon-possessed man among the tombs in Mark 5:1-20, he spoke of how the pace of our lives can lead to superficial living in his address, “Deep Calls to Deep.” Just as Jesus was drawn to and connected on a deep level with those who suffered, so we can recognize deeper truths and experience a fullness in relationship with all of God’s people when we take time to look below the surface.
The day’s celebrations concluded with the traditional afternoon worship service planned and led by the graduates. Steven Schweitzer, academic dean, gave the sermon, “The Gift of Anointing,” and faculty Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm and Dan Ulrich anointed the graduates in a ritual of blessing and sending. Graduate and cellist Ela Robertson provided music for the service.
Future plans for the graduates include continuing in congregational ministry and seeking placement, missionary work, writing and teaching, chaplaincy, social service, and pursuing an MA at Bethany. Both the academic ceremony and the worship service are available for viewing on Bethany’s webcasts page.