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The Vancouver School of Theology has confirmed its Convocation Ceremonies will be conducted virtually this year in keeping with directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Convocation ceremony will feature the graduating classes of both 2020 and 2021, with over 60 individuals completing their academic programs. The graduation ceremony will feature the largest number of students convocating from VST programs on one occasion. This year’s ceremony will be among the highlights for VST as it celebrates 50 years of leadership and innovation in theological education.

VST will also publicly recognize its 2020 and 2021 honorary doctoral degree recipients: Professor Santa Ono (UBC President and Vice-Chancellor), Rabbi Marcia Prager (Director and Dean of ALEPH Ordination Programs, a non-denominational Jewish Seminary in Philadelphia, PA), Reverend Douglas Goodwin (Past Executive Minister, Pacific Mountain Region, United Church of Canada), and Mr. Rupert Lang (Internationally Renowned Conductor/Composer and Director of Music and Organist at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver). Honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) degrees are granted to individuals who exemplify the values of VST, and who have made significant contributions through the integration of theology and practice of ministry in one or more of: theological scholarship, ecumenical dialogue, the life and ministry of the Christian community, and interdisciplinary scholarship involving theology with other fields.

VST will also feature its 2020 and 2021 recipients of the Principal’s prestigious T.E.G. (Thoughtful Engaged Generous) Award. As the 2020 recipient, The Venerable (Archdeacon) Clara Plamondon (Archdeacon of Cowichan/Malaspina) serves as Incumbent of the parish of St. Paul Anglican Church in Nanaimo. Rev. Curtis Bablitz (Brant Hill Presbyterian Church in Burlington, Ontario) is the 2021 recipient. The T.E.G. Award was established in 2019 by VST to recognize leading practitioners in Christian ministry.

There will also be 12 graduates who will be awarded the Certificate in Leadership Excellence from the UBC Sauder Executive Education program.

The graduation ceremony on May 11 will feature keynote speaker The Reverend Professor Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger, Ph.D. Hunsinger’s address, entitled “Manna in the Wilderness” will come from John 6:24-35. Dr. van Deusen Hunsinger will also present at an online public workshop on May 12 (10am – 12noon) on the topic of “Keeping an Open Heart in Troubled Times”. The Reverend Professor Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger, Ph.D., an ordained minister in the PCUSA, is a Spiritual Director at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Professor of Pastoral Theology Emerita. Originally trained as a pastoral counselor, Deborah taught courses in pastoral theology and pastoral care at Princeton Seminary for 25 years.