Seminary News & Events
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Meet MTS Info Session
Meet MTS: Discover Moravian Seminary's master's degree programs in this online informational event, at 7:00pm ET on Monday, Dec. 11. Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/763473980227?aff=oddtdtcreator
Lancaster and Moravian Seminaries to Launch Joint Curriculum, Three New Shared Degree Programs in 2024
November 7, 2023: Today, Moravian University, Moravian Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary announce that they will launch a joint curriculum - taught on both campuses - that will include three new, shared graduate degree programs in Fall 2024, pending approval by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Read more
Moravian University Appoints Interim VP and Dean of Moravian Theological Seminary and Lancaster Theological Seminary
Moravian University announces that The Very Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale will serve as interim vice president and dean of Moravian Theological Seminary and Lancaster Theological Seminary until the naming of a permanent dean following a national search.
“Rev. Dr. Ragsdale is known for her deep commitment to advancing theological education, her advocacy and activism, and extensive experience in leading nonprofit organizations on a national level,” said Carol Traupman-Carr, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Moravian University. “I look forward to having Dr. Ragsdale on the team as we continue the remaining work of consolidating the two seminaries, implementing a new joint curriculum, finishing accreditation materials, and setting the way forward for the new permanent dean to lead the seminaries.” Read more.
Crossroads Lay Leadership Program Bids Goodbye to Dr. Jill Peters; Rev. Dr. Riddick Weber Named Interim Director
After launching and leading the Moravian Theological Seminary's Crossroads Lay Leadership Program since 2009, Dr. Jill Peters, MATS 2009, has stepped down as of August 31, 2023. Named as interim head of the program is the Rev. Dr. Riddick Weber, Moravian Seminary associate professor of practice in pastoral ministry, who brings a long and deep association with Crossroads. Read more.
Christina Petterson, PhD, of Christiansfeld, Denmark, will present, "Changes in Bethlehem, Changes in Unity: Inner and Outer Aspects of Moravian Organisation," the 2023 Walter Vivian Moses Lecture in Moravian Studies, at 7:00pm on Thursday, August 17. The free lecture will be held in the Seminary's Bahnson Center Saal, and also streamed live online. A reception will follow. Click here to register to attend either the in-person or the virtual lecture. UPDATE: View the recording of the Moses lecture here.
Moravian Theological Seminary Holds Info Session for Crossroads Lay Leadership Program
The Crossroads Lay Leadership Program of Moravian Theological Seminary will hold a Zoom Info Session at 10 am on Saturday, August 5. Crossroads prepares lay people for congregational and community ministries including lay pastoring. Many people come to improve their skills, to gain more Biblical knowledge, to live out their sense of call. Bring your questions about the program, we will share the 2023/2024 course schedule. Email Dr. Jill Peters at email@example.com for the Zoom link and check out our website at www.moravianseminary.edu/crossroads.
Moravian University announces that it has received approval from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), an international accrediting organization recognized by the United States Department of Education, to include Lancaster Theological Seminary as part of the University’s MSCHE accreditation. This action by MSCHE completes one of several legal and regulatory steps in progress to officially make Lancaster Theological Seminary a part of Moravian University.
Moravian University announced June 28, 2023, that the Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek, Dean of the Moravian Theological Seminary and Lancaster Theological Seminary, has submitted her resignation as of August 11, 2023. A committee is being formed to work on the next chapter in the Seminaries’ history and a message will be sent to key stakeholders in both seminary communities within the next week.
On Saturday, May 6, 2023, at 4:00pm, Moravian Theological Seminary will confer the following degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling, and a Certificate in Moravian Studies during commencement services at College Hill Moravian Church, 72 West Laurel St., Bethlehem. The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Miller will deliver the address to the graduates.
Rev. Dr. Riddick Weber Elected to Moravian Church Leadership Post
Associate Professor Riddick Weber has been elected to serve as one of three clergy members of the Provincial Elders' Conference (PEC) of the Southern Province of the Moravian Church in North America.
WATCH: Moses Lecture 2022
Pastoral Care, Healing and Wholeness Through Music and Dancing in the Moravian Church in Tanzania
Presenter: The Rev. Dr. Tuntufye Mwenisongole
Remembering Rev. Dr. Howard H. Cox
Our seminary community mourns the death and celebrates the life of beloved professor emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Howard H. Cox, who passed away on April 15th at the age of 98.
Statement of the Synod (ECP) on the War in Ukraine
Moravian Theological Seminary joins our sisters and brothers from the European Continental Province of the Moravian Church in praying for all affected by the war in Ukraine, and we share with you a recent statement from the European Continental Province Synod.
Moravian Theological Seminary Partners with Lancaster Theological Seminary
By Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek
Partnership with just any seminary would not make sense for either institution. Partnership between MTS and LTS, however, puts the schools in a formal relationship with a group of people (faculty, staff, students, alumni, church, and denominational leaders) who care about preparing students to serve God in the same sorts of ways.
Rev. Dr. Diane Bogues Named Senior Director of Joint Seminary Enrollment & Financial Aid
The Rev. Dr. Diane Bogues is the new Senior Director of Joint Seminary Enrollment and Financial Aid, responsible for recruiting, enrollment and financial aid for both seminary campuses, Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Penn., and Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, Penn.
Moravian University and Seminary
& Lancaster Theological Seminary to formally begin combining the two institutions
On July 10, a Special Synod of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church convened and voted to approve the definitive agreement to combine, allowing work to begin consolidating the two institutions. This approval follows approval by the Boards of both Moravian and Lancaster on June 21, 2021.
Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek joins Moravian Theological Seminary as its next Dean
and Vice President
Vacek joins Moravian after six years as VPAA at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
New Assistant Professor of New Testament
Moravian Theological Seminary is excited to welcome Brigidda Zapata Bell as Assistant Professor of New Testament, beginning in fall term 2021.
In Honor Of Glenn H. Asquith Jr. (1946-2017)
Glenn H. Asquith Jr. (1946–2017) was a professor of theology and a loving family man. In honor of him, his family donated a bench to the seminary, where they and Asquith’s colleagues and friends can stop and remember him.
Called to Action
As a child, Debra Fraser-Howze learned that community members take care of each other. For decades, feet on the ground, Fraser-Howze has put that conviction into action, serving the underserved. In January of this year, having amassed the support of public health officials, nonprofit and private organizations, and most importantly a powerful cadre of Black clergy from five cities, she launched Choose Healthy Life, an initiative aimed at tackling the COVID crisis in Black communities.
On Saturday, May 8, 2021, 19 students graduated from Moravian Seminary. This concluding Our 214th year and commencement was held at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We celebrated with, not only our 2021 graduates but also our 2020 graduates. We feel very blessed that we were all able to gather together to celebrate this momentous occasion. MTS has been blessed to journey with them during their time as a student and we look forward to a continued partnership as they continue the work to which each has been called.
Meet Ezekiel Kassanga MATS '21
Ezekiel Kassanga, 39, from Tanzania, shares with us what it was like to complete his Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) degree at Moravian Theological Seminary during a global pandemic, stay connected to his family, and details his graduate thesis which he successfully defended this August.
Meet Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek, Vice President/Dean and Associate Professor of Church History
Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek joins Moravian Theological Seminary at a very exciting time in our history, overseeing the merger of Moravian with Lancaster Theological Seminary in her leadership role as Vice President and Dean. She also serves students in the classroom as Associate Professor of Church History. Learn about her vision for the future, how she plans to draw on the strengths of both seminaries, and what keeps her inspired and grounded.
Meet Brigidda Zapata Bell, Assistant Professor of New Testament
Brigidda Zapata Bell joined Moravian Theological Seminary this fall as Assistant Professor of New Testament. Bell defended her dissertation for her PhD from the University of Toronto this summer and previously taught at the Universities of Toronto, Calgary, and Alberta in Canada. Here, she shares with us how she’s settling into her first semester and the joys of bringing her multilingual Canadian-Ecuadorian background to her teachings for a unique global perspective.
Rev. Dr. Nelson Rivera
Reflections on Jesus’ death in the context of Holy Week
Barbara H. Martell, MS Ed, MA, MS
Few things bring us more delight than witnessing those moments when a student is “surprised by joy” and moves a little deeper into spiritual freedom.
Brigidda Bell, ABD
In my teaching, I favor projects that allow students the freedom to explore fundamental questions of a course in ways that more fully express their own interests and strengths.
Rev. Dr. Craig D. Atwood
For six weeks in the fall of 2021, Dr. Atwood taught his online courses from Europe.
Marcella Kraybill-Greggo, MSW, LSW
Group Spiritual Companioning groups launched over this past year, a continuation of the vision of the Moravian Church, Northern Province, to offer a space for spiritual companionship and formation.
Rev. Dr. Beth Toler
When the Spirit Says Sing is a burgeoning program equipping music therapists to incorporate the psychospiritual, which so often is activated through music.
Rev. Dr. Deborah A. Appler
Since the creation of the Widow’s House Garden, many strong hands have gently tended the fruits of this soil. This November, we will begin to plan for next year’s garden.
Rev. Dr. C. Riddick Weber
Riddick Weber was invited to record music that will be part of the upcoming 70th anniversary festivities for the Moravian Brass Band Union of South Africa (BBSA).
New Academic Year Opens with Convocation on Aug. 29, 2022
Moravian Theological Seminary officially opens the 2022-23 Academic Year with the start of classes and celebratory Convocation Service on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022.
Convocation will be held at 1:00pm in the Saal and also will be available virtually as a Vimeo livestream (at this link). Vice President and Dean Heather Vacek will deliver the sermon and the benediction. The Order of Service follows below.
Moravian Theological Seminary
August 29, 2022
Order of Worship
Saal and Livestream
Welcome and Invocation
Rev. Jennika Borger
Responsive reading of Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Rev. Dr.Melvin Baber
One: O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
All: You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
One: You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
All: Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
One: You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
All: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
One: For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
All: I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
One: My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
All: Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
One: How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
All: I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end]—I am still with you.
Hymn “Immortal, Invisible” MBW #457 vs. 1-3
Welcome from President Bryon Grigsby
Adaptation of the Moravian Prayer for Education
Provost Carol Traupman-Carr
One: Divine Teacher, on this special day of new beginnings, to you we commend all who learn: infants tasting and touching, children exploring in play, youth testing and challenging, and adults continuing the quest;
All: For all the diversity of human study and knowledge—for science and art, for literature and drama, for labor and play—for all the teaching experiences of life,
One: In the disciplined mastery of subject and skill, in the reflection on life experience, in the practical wisdom of long years;
All: At every age and in every circumstance of life;
One: Bless our learning with your Spirit.
All: Give patience and understanding to those who teach. Give perseverance and openness of heart and mind to those who learn;
One: Spirit of truth, we celebrate life-long learning, inspired yearning, committed seeking, and honest doubting. We thank you for divine revelation and illuminated introspection.
All: Accept our sincere expression of gratitude for the love and patience of family members who are vital parts of our lives and who have done so much to get each of us to this threshold moment. Help us to clearly express our gratitude to them and help them to truly know how much we appreciate their efforts as we walk through doors to a new chapter of our lives.
One: Bless also those who have mentored us, guided us, and supported us so that this day of new beginnings could become real for us. May we make a commitment this day to opening our minds and hearts to all of the opportunities that are before us.
All: Bless our community this day. Amen.
Hymn “Make Me a Servant Lord” Sing to the Lord a New Song pp. 2-3
Sacred text reading: Jeremiah 18:1-11
18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. 9 And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. 11 Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you, from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.
Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek, Vice President and Dean
Hymn “To God Whose Mercy Knows No Bounds” MBW #541
Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek
Rev. Randy D'Angelo
• Mondays at noon, Contemplative Prayer and Eucharist, MTS (room tbd) and Zoom
• Wednesdays 12:10-12:40 Combined worship with LTS, Saal and Zoom
• Thursdays dinner in the MTS kitchen 5-7 p.m., Worship with the University Undergrads - 7:15 p.m. Saal