New students blessed at Dean’s Chapel

September 17, 2008
Katie S. Thompson

As the congregation focused on “singing a new song,” PSR’s incoming class of 69 first-year students was blessed at the Dean’s Chapel on September 9. Dean Mary Donovan Turner spoke of the joy of Miriam’s song from the Exodus story, and the importance of Miriam being named the first woman prophet.

“Who can be the preacher, the liturgist, the ritualist, the performer, has plagued and continues to plague Christian communities,” said Dean Turner. “When a person who has been oppressed and silenced stands and speaks, that person experiences redemption... as does the community, because it is a moment that relies on grace and moves toward wholeness.”

Mary Donovan Turner also called those assembled to action, stating that “throughout this new year, if we do the work as we are called to do–in CLGS and in PANA and in CMS and in DRC–and in all of our life and work together, we will begin to hear those voices rising up among us and in the world. We will hear the sounds of tambourines. We will hear new songs of liberation and rejoicing.”

The chorale encircled the new students as they sang “May the Love of God” by Lim Swee Hong.

“The service was so beautiful and inclusive, that it made everyone feel loved and supported,” said first-year student Beth Rogers. Her partner Samira Peterson echoed the sentiment.

PSR’s incoming class represents 6 nations and 20 U.S. states and territories, as well as 17 denominations. Home countries include Korea and Nigeria, and native states include Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Their individual interests are as broad, ranging from activism and performance art to dog training and poker.

Pacific School of Religion is a multidenominational Christian seminary that has been preparing bold leaders for historic and emerging faith communities since 1866. PSR is a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), an interfaith consortium of seminaries and institutes in the San Francisco Bay Area.