SLT opening worship and keynote: “Seasons of Longing” – Liz and Matt Myer Boulton

& School for Leadership Training, Seminary.

Liz and Matt Myer Boulton open the 2016 School for Leadership Training with their first keynote addressing the conference’s overall theme of Oasis.

The ancient poetry of the Christian tradition in Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 understands and recognizes seasons of longing and fulfillment, repentance and mercy, violence and love, death and life, wilderness and oasis. Using scripture, song, worship, photography, and short films, Rev. Elizabeth Myer Boulton and Rev. Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton explore how the ancient rhythms of the Christian year can provide us distinctive opportunities to name and mourn the barren places in our lives, in our churches, and in the world – all the while searching, creating, and proclaiming the manifold ways God provides experiences of oasis: peace, reconciliation, and genuine joy.

Rev. Elizabeth Myer Boulton is the President and Creative Director of the SALT Project, a not-for-profit project dedicated to reclaiming and sharing the beauty of Christian life through film, photography, music, poetry, and ideas.

Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Rev. Myer holds degrees from Trent University and the University of Chicago Divinity School, is a two-time Emmy Award Winner, and the proud mama of Jonah Myer Boulton and Margaret Beatrice Boulton.

Rev. Matthew Myer Boulton, named the sixth president of Christian Theological Seminary, was most recently Associate Professor of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School. He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

In his teaching and research, Boulton has explored ways in which Christian worship founds and forms Christian life. This exploration draws together his interests in the history and practices of Christian liturgy; theology and public life; biblical interpretation and proclamation; and the performing arts, including theater, music, and film.

MLK, Jr. Celebration Service – “Make This Day Count” – Rev. Derrick Parson

& University Chapels.

Join the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through praise and worship featuring the Reverend Derrick Parson and the Eastern Mennonite University Gospel Choir.

Reverend Derrick Parson is presently the Pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia. He is a full Elder in the United Methodist Church. He also serves as Director of Ministries with Young People for the United Methodist Virginia Conference.

Reverend Parson earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology from Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey, a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education from Union Theological Seminary, Richmond Virginia.
Prior to becoming Senior Pastor of Providence United Methodist Church, Reverend Parson served Ramsey Memorial United Methodist Church as an Associate Pastor with outreach responsibilities for 7 years, served as the Director for the Wesley Foundation at James Madison University for 5 years, served as the Associate Pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg for 2 years and most recently served as the Pastor of Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church in Chesterfield for 5 years.

When Reverend Parson was six years old one of the senior women of the church shared with him and his mother that he had the mark of a preacher. This was his Outer Call on his life. He joined the United States Marine Corps at age twenty one and that part of his journey was tough, instructional yet it gave him a wonderful time to hone his leadership and people skills. He served 2ndBattalion 6th Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Two years later, he had the privilege of serving Embassy duty — American Embassy, Bonn Germany for 18 months and Bamako Mali, West Africa for 18 months. Shortly thereafter, his unit geared up for the war. His unit (2nd Battalion 6th Marines) went in for the after math of the Gulf War. Iraq of all places is where he received the Inner Call. This is where God spoke to him and he heard for himself. God told him that he would not re-enlist. However, he would preach and teach His Word and draw His people to Him. He said, yes Lord!

Reverend Parson is married to Natalia Bradshaw (Bahama Momma) and after seven years of marriage, God blessed them with a beautiful boy, Joshua Evan Chandler Parson. He is indeed an answer to his seven year prayer. Joshua turned eleven years old on August 27, 2015. During those wonderful years of being newly married and a brand new dad, he went through the complete process of the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Virginia Conference. This has been one of the greatest decisions He has made and only looks back fondly on his process in the United Methodist Church and embraces it as a good and necessary part of his journey!

“Visual Theology” – Kathryn Fenton

& Chapel Gathering in the Seminary, Seminary.

Artist Kathryn Fenton is a 2015 Eastern Mennonite Seminary graduate in the Master of Arts in Religion with a concentration in Art. She studied studio art at Messiah College for two years, transferring to EMU to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art.

Kathryn’s exhibit “Icons for the Mennonite Church” is currently on display on the Art Gallery wall, first floor of the Seminary building, just beyond the Main Office.  You are invited to take some time for reflection and prayer with this visual theology.

Opening Convocation: “For Just Such a Time as This” – President Loren Swartzendruber

& Faculty/Staff Speakers, University Chapels.

President Loren Swartzendruber addresses the campus community for his final Opening Convocation service on the theme: For Just Such a Time as This. Chapel includes a time of prayerful sending for the Cross-Cultural Seminar groups departing for the Middle East and Guatemala-Cuba.

Scripture: Esther 4:12-14 (The Message):

When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: “Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”

“On The Way” – Dr. Lonnie Yoder

& Chapel Gathering in the Seminary, Faculty/Staff Speakers, Seminary.

In his Spring 2016 opening convocation address, Dr. Lonnie Yoder, EMS Associate Dean and Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, engages our awareness of ministry that happens “On the Way” !

Cross-cultural Chapel: China 2015

& Cross-Cultural Groups, Student Speakers, University Chapels.

Students from the China cross-cultural seminar share experiences and reflections from their recent learning adventure.  Chapel closes with a video slideshow

Christmas Chapel: “Who is this stranger here in our midst?” – Ken J. Nafziger & Heidi Winters Vogel

& Faculty/Staff Speakers, Student Speakers, University Chapels.

Hear special music, congregational singing, Scripture and readings featuring the EMU Chamber Singers and students from the theater program coordinated by Ken J. Nafziger, Professor of Music & Heidi Winters Vogel, Professor of Theater.  Chapel opens with the annual advent greeting video.

“Who is this stranger in our midst?” comes from the song, Helpless and Hungry from Sing the Story.

“2015 Advent Reflections on Liberty University” – Charlie Tinsley

& Chapel Gathering in the Seminary, Seminary, Student Speakers.

In the context of a chapel gathering, Eastern Mennonite Seminary student Charlie Tinsley, a graduate of Liberty University, offers Advent reflections on remarks by Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. regarding his recent call for students to carry guns.

“Remain on Route” – Rev. Dr. Gregory M. Howard

& DORD, University Chapels.

Another Dialogue on Race and Diversity chapel with the theme Remain on Route inspired by Luke 9:51-56 presented by Rev. Dr. Gregory Howard.

The Rev. Dr. Gregory M. Howard is a native of Lancaster, Virginia and currently resides in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is married to the former Margaret Edmond and is the proud father of two daughters, Destiny and Holli. Dr. Howard is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church East End in Newport News, Virginia where he promotes kingdom-like living by unconditionally loving God and all of God’s people. Prior to leading the FBCEE congregation, Pastor Howard served as Pastor of Union Branch Baptist Church in Chesterfield, Virginia and Jerusalem Baptist Church in Sparta, Virginia.

Pastor Howard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management and Development from Bluefield College and a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Rev. Howard earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Homiletics from the Aquinas Institute of Theology at St. Louis University. He was honored as a 2009 Joe R. Engle Fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Public Policy. He is the author of Black Sacred Rhetoric: The Theology and Testimony of Religious Folk Talk and Voices Crying Out in The Wilderness: Contemporary Theologies of Preaching, both published by BorderStone Press. Dr. Howard is also an adjunct professor at Virginia Union University and its Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. Civically, he is the Vice-President of Baptist General Convention of Virginia.

Above all, Pastor Howard loves God and the challenge of helping others see God’s grace in their own lives by proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Rev. Howard believes that we have been blessed with life and created in the image of God to be with and for one another; therefore, he strives to tear down the many obstacles that keep us from coming together in Godly communion.