LRU News

Spring Graduation to be held at LRU’s Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary

Fri May 23 2014

HICKORY, N.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary will hold spring graduation this Saturday, May 24 at Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, S.C. beginning 10 a.m. The seminary will present two honorary doctorate degrees during commencement exercises, which are open for the public to attend. A baccalaureate service will take place the evening prior, May 23 at 7 p.m. in Christ Chapel on campus in Colombia, S.C.

Presiding Bishop, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton and Chaplain, Major General Howard D. Stendahl will both receive Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa degrees. Eaton will also provide the keynote address during the commencement ceremony.

“We look for outstanding service, whether lay or clergy, to the church. In these cases, the newly elected presiding bishop of the ELCA is now serving her church in its highest office,” said the Rev. Dr. Clayton J. Schmit, provost at LTSS. “She has gone from pastor, to bishop, to presiding bishop.

“General Stendahl has also risen to the highest level of service in his area of pastoral ministry. He is the highest ranking Air Force chaplain, known as the Chief of Chaplains.”

Eaton was elected as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s fourth presiding bishop at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Born in Cleveland on April 2, 1955, Eaton earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

Prior to her election, Eaton was the liaison bishop to the ELCA Church Council and a member of the ELCA Memorials Committee for the 2007, 2011 and 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assemblies. She served as a delegate to The Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Budapest in 1984, on the review team for Lutheran Episcopal dialogues in 1982, and she was a part of the delegation from the ELCA’s predecessor church bodies to the German Democratic Republic in 1982.

Chaplain Stendahl is the Chief of Chaplains, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.  As a member of the special staff of the Chief of Staff, he establishes guidance and provides advice on all matters pertaining to the religious and moral welfare of Air Force personnel. As Chief of Chaplains, he is the senior pastor for more than 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. He leads an Air Force Chaplain Corps of approximately 2,000 chaplains and chaplain assistants from the active duty and Air Reserve components. As a member of the Armed Forces Chaplain Board, he and other members advise the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on religious, ethical and quality-of-life concerns.

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