Convocation & Reunions 2011 boosts faculty presence and adds reunion groups

Convocation & Reunions 2011, Oct. 10-12, boasts a number of new elements that promise to make the annual alumni gathering an even more enriching experience. 

BlountThe faculty presence has been boosted significantly by incorporating three faculty lectures and a faculty book signing party.  Reunion year celebrations will now include a cluster reunion for the most recent graduates from 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, and a reintroduction of a 55th year reunion gathering after a two-year absence. Also, there will be a reunion for one of YDS’s student affiliate groups, the Sacramental Winers, who will celebrate their 20th anniversary with a special Sacramental Winers concert.

Meanwhile, major traditional components of Convocation and Reunions remain, including class gatherings and dinners, lectures, worship services, receptions, the presentation of alumni awards, the annual meeting of the Aumni Board, and a state of the school address from the dean.

“The opportunity to showcase several of YDS's outstanding faculty as speakers is a great pleasure for us and something our alumni repeatedly request,” said Gail Briggs, director of alumni relations.  “Their topics will be timely and provocative and will give everyone the opportunity to revisit the classroom and enjoy the YDS experience.

“We're also delighted to welcome back our most recent graduating classes, (2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008), for their first cluster reunion, and we hope to introduce them to an early tradition of returning to campus. Enlivening the days even more will be the presence of some of our current students who expect to be on campus during Convocation & Reunions for some of the special programming.

DoucotSaid Briggs, “Overall, we're expecting a strong attendance with good representation by all of our reunion classes.  We're grateful to Bert Marshall ’97 M.Div. and other members of the Convocation & Reunions Subcommittee for their great work.” 

Online registration for Convocation & Reunions officially opened on Aug. 1.

The major lecture series, the Beecher Lectures, will be delivered by Brian K. Blount—Presbyterian minister, New Testament scholar, and president of Union Presbyterian Seminary.  The topic of lectures, given over three days, will be Invasion of the Dead:  Preaching Resurrection through the lens of Apocalyptic Eschatology.

Blount is a noted preacher and scholar on the Book of Revelation. He served as pastor of Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church in Newport News, Va., from 1982 to 1988. He served as the Richard J. Dearborne Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Princeton Theological Seminary for 15 years before being called as president of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia in 2007.

Faculty scheduled to give presentations during Convocation and Reunions include Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture; Robert Wilson, Hoober Professor of Religious Studies and professor of Old Testament; and Willis Jenkins, Margaret Farley Assistant Professor of Social Ethics.

Convocation 2010Volf will deliver a talk based on his recent book, Allah: A Christian Response.  In that book, Volf argues that Islam’s Allah and the God of the Bible are the same God.  Wilson is giving a talk on the life and work of the late Brevard S. Childs, who taught Old Testament at Yale Divinity School from 1958 to 1999 and shaped several generations of students.  And Jenkins, a specialist in environmental ethics, will lecture on “Climate Change and the Future of Christianity.”

Adding to the faculty presence will be a faculty book signing on the first day of Convocation and Reunions.

The Sacramental Winers, the all-female a capella singing group founded at YDS in 1991, will give an anniversary concert on the second night in Marquand Chapel.  The group’s repertoire includes sacred, spiritual, world, and pop music.  From time-to-time the Winers host concerts that serve as fundraisers for local organizations.

Normally, the most recent graduating class to celebrate a reunion is four years removed from graduation.  But in 2011 there will be a “cluster” reunion for graduates of three years and less—the classes of 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

AhrensOther lectures this year will include Berkeley Divinity School’s Pitt Lecture, featuring the Rev. Stephen Green, minister of trade for the British government and former head of HSBC Holdings, and the Institute of Sacred Music’s Kavanagh Lecture, by former YDS faculty member Donald Saliers '62 B.D., ’67 Ph.D., the William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Liturgy Emeritus, Emory University.

Preachers for Convocation and Reunions 2011 are Otis Moss III ’95 M.Div., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL, the largest congregation in the UCC; Laura Ahrens ‘91 M.Div., bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut; and former YDS faculty member Marilyn McCord Adams, distinguished research professor of philosophy at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Alumni award recipients will be honored at a dinner in the Old Refectory.  They include Otis Moss III ’95 M.Div., Distinction in Congregational Ministry; Barbara Rossing ’81 M.Div., Distinction in Theological Education; Christopher Doucote ‘089 M.A.R., William Sloane Coffin ’56 Award for Peace and Justice; Evalyn M. Wakhusama ’01 M.Div., ’02 S.T.M., Lux et Veritas.

On the evening before the official start of Convocation and Reunions, there will be a hymn festival, sponsored by the Institute of Sacred Music, at Woolsey Hall.

Click here to go to the Convocation and Reunions 2011 web site, which includes the registration link.

Posted: 07/29/2011