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As Princeton Theological Seminary has had students from most of the countries in the world, it would be a good idea to organize alumni/ae chapters in all countries. It is not possible for the alumni/ae to go to PTS for a reunion every year, but it is possible for people (especially on the other side of the globe), to meet once in a while. By strengthening the alumni/ae, PTS is strengthening itself. These chapters will be able to play a more meaningful role in the life of PTS.
Thomas Samuel (Th.M., 1978)
Kottayam, Kerala, India
Combining the yearly tradition of a Senior Class Hymn, and the tradition which the late Reverend Dr. Erik Routley started, (carried on by Professor David Weadon and his successors), a list of the Senior Class Hymns would be published and a festive hymn singing arranged so that we could sing some of these “folk songs of the Christian folk,” (to quote Routley).
Donald Hardie Fox (M.Div., 1985)
Spending our entire Seminary endowment on behalf of the poor in the inner cities of America and the disenfranchised in the Third World would be witness to a genuine faith in Jesus of Nazareth, the penniless Jew.
Let’s celebrate our confidence that we trust Jesus for our daily bread. By celebrating our conviction that we are following Jesus, let’s become liberated from our bondage to money. Do we really think the Lord finds a seminary successful because it owns a lot of stock? Don’t we want to hear, “Well done, you good and faithful servant. You trusted in Me and not in your portfolio.”
Our bicentennial celebration could take place on our knees, in prayer and thankfulness, in downtown Trenton.
J.W. Gregg Meister (M.Div., 1971)
Merchantville, New Jersey
Effective pastoral ministry in my experience calls for effective preaching. In the years since my retirement I’ve entered the world of art as a painter. I’ve come to agree with William Willimon, who recently wrote, “Preaching is much more of an art than a science. Learning to preach is more akin to learning to paint in watercolors than it is to learning to mix chemicals together to produce a predictable chemical reaction.”
So, as Princeton Seminary celebrates its bicentennial in 2012, I hope we make the top priority that of holding up Princeton’s unrivaled role in the sending of bold, effective preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ in pastoral settings, in this country and throughout the world.
Arthur F. Sueltz (M.Div., 1953)
How about asking all alums to submit a one- or two-sentence statement of either the most important thing that happened to them at PTS, or the most important way PTS influenced their lives?
Charles E. McMillan (M.Div., 1958)
In its bicentennial year of celebration, Princeton Theological Seminary would benefit greatly by taking a stand in its teaching and investment practices, which disavow all forms of violence.
Thomas H. Goetz (M.Div., 1989)
Create a mosaic of color, created by each alumni/ae submitting a glass piece, stone, button, small metal coin, or object that will contribute to a selected design from an artist or the community. One design direction might be to make all the contributions into the Seminary seal or a symbolic design embodying what Princeton Seminary has been and is today, and what will come from those who have passed through its doors of learning. I have come to embrace that Princeton Seminary’s history is the contribution of many.
Also, you could think about using pictures of alumni/ae and all who have worked, taught, or served in ministry and combine them for a similar picture.
Judith A. Crilley (M.Div., 1986)
My suggestion is simple: Publish a monograph listing the authors, titles, and bibliographical details of the books published by the faculty and alumni/ae of PTS since its founding.
J. Harold Ellens (Th.M., 1965)
Farmington Hills, Michigan
The first thought that comes to mind is that there should be as many countries as possible represented at the celebration! PTS has served the world church for so long, and there has been no shortage of both foreign instructors and students. For me, that aspect of my time at Princeton Seminary will remain a precious and important memory.
Jane Holslag (M.Div., 1982)
Since PTS has a wonderful audio/video library collection, I think it would be wonderful, as a part of the year 2012, to have a daily downloadable podcast of something that occurred on campus during its history on the PTS web site. It could be a lecture, best senior sermon, Summer Institute offering, historical vignette, choir selection, book review, etc. If such a thing were offered, I know I would go to the PTS web site each day to see what it was.
Robert H. Crilley (M.Div., 1959)
I think it would be great if all the alumni/ae were sent PTS fleece pullovers. All over the world, we could celebrate the bicentennial and show off our pride. Sweatshirts are too casual, polo shirts too masculine, and t-shirts end up in the gym bag. Something like a fleece pullover with “Princeton Theological Seminary 1812–2012” embroidered on it would have some universal appeal.
Kelly N. Hansen (M.Div., 2003)
Hold a one-week festival in spring or fall, the first part being a conference with lectures on PTS history, meaningful events in the life of the Seminary, and famous professors of the school. There could be photo exhibitions and documents of the life of the Seminary in the classrooms.
Part two would be devotional, with morning and mid-day sermons, and evangelization in the evenings. A choir could be assembled from participants of the festival, with singing at the closing event of the celebration. The last occasion could be an open-air event.
László Muzsnai (Th.M., 1981)
How about a worship service in a large outdoor setting (i.e., a stadium) inviting any and all living alumni/ae, representing all our alumni/ae, living and deceased, to process in vestments as honorary participants in the service? The chance to be a participant in such a historical event would be very attractive to me.
Jack Carlson (M.Div., 1973)
Bel Air, Maryland
My idea would be the opening and dedication of The Ministering Women’s Center. The mission of the center would be for the education, development, and enablement of administering women. The facility would be technically state-of-the-art, such that women could access its resources without ever leaving their country. PTS would be the benchmark in global, virtualized equipping of ministering women. Moreover, the facility must be a spiritual sanctuary in design, art, and intention.
Lisa Vincent-Morrison (M.Div., 1991, Th.M., 1994)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Mayan calendar ends in 2012. In their tradition, this marks the end of the world, and if things keep going the way they have been politically, environmentally, economically, and socially, they may be correct. When Martin Luther was asked what he’d do if he knew the world would end tomorrow, he said he’d plant a tree. I think we should celebrate the bicentennial by planting a tree in a prominent place and caring for it well so that it lasts at least one hundred years! I’ll even come and dig the hole!
R. Brian Lyke (M.Div., 1969)
I suggest a worldwide conference on faith and the environment, using an on-campus event as the center point, and building webcasts throughout the year to engage PTS alumni/ae and others in developing a Christian response to the environmental crisis that is facing all of us.
In the process of engaging our faith-based leadership around the world, we can create an additional opportunity for dialogues among the world’s religions, as well as an opportunity to engage young people into the faith.
Gavin R. Kerr (M.Div., 1982)
I think the strength of the Seminary is in its alumni/ae. I am sure that there will be some kind of historical perspective given at the celebration, and I suggest that someone take the time to find some of the lesser-known servants of the church who have graduated from Princeton.
We are justly proud of those alums that have gone on to the bigger churches, but as I approach the end of my active ministry, I would be interested in hearing about the unsung servants. I am sure that we can find those who have graduated in the last fifty years, but I don’t know about those who graduated and served with distinction (though primarily unnoticed in smaller churches) from earlier times.
Dwight R. Blackstock (M.Div., 1971)
One part of the celebration could be a historical drama, which would include some of the major professors throughout the years. Alexander, Hodge, Warfield…one-actor plays would be good as well.
Robert A. Boyar (M.Div., 1989)
Fort Reading, New Jersey
I think it would be great to invite all the former Chapel Choir members to come back and sing at the service. Every year I watch the video Carols of Many Nations, which we made under the direction of David Weadon, and think of how nice it would be to sing once again during a chapel service. We were blessed to have so many beautiful voices in the years that I was at PTS. Imagine what several decades of voices coming together at one time would sound like!
Barbara E. Shadis (M.A., 1992)
Parlin, New Jersey
When I visited PTS in November 1998, prior to attending, I was delighted by the history lesson in what was then a formal sitting room at one end of the lounge. I am drawing a blank on the name of the gentleman who gave the lesson and tour, including offering a tour of the cemetery. If it hasn’t already been done, I think it would be great to have a DVD with him hosting a walk around campus, the cemetery, etc.
Other people can learn the history…I doubt anyone can tell it with such warmth, enthusiasm and love for Princeton. Nothing like a wonderful storyteller!
Marcia Lee Muir (M.Div., 2003)
In the great commission at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Christ commands his disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” I would like to see the bicentennial celebration include the many different nations that have been served by alums from Princeton Theological Seminary over the last 200 years.
James E. Deal (M.Div., 1989)
East Wenatchee, Washington
I have two ideas for how to celebrate PTS’s bicentennial.
1) Donate a portion of any fundraising associated with the bicentennial to local, national, or international Christian organizations. A group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae could select the organizations (and then other members of the PTS community could participate by voting on a list compiled by that group?). It would be an opportunity for PTS to give back to the local and global church community. The portion could be twenty percent to represent the school’s bicentennial.
2) Commission the writing of a book on PTS’s 200-year history with an accompanying CD-ROM, and make copies available to the PTS community. Proceeds from the sale of the book/CD-ROM could then be donated to local or global Christian organizations.
William E.W. Robinson (M.Div., 1996)
I think it would be great if a new library complex could be dedicated in 2012. It should include a pedestrian overpass over Mercer Street, perhaps on the center line of Alexander Hall, thus uniting the two campus segments that are divided by that street. This would eliminate a very dangerous pedestrian crossing, and a light that perturbs motorists and is often disregarded by students.
This would be a fitting tribute to two hundred years of historical scholarship, and serve as a beacon, beckoning us to the future.
Arlo D. Duba (M.Div., 1955; Ph.D., 1960)
Princeton, New Jersey
Select twenty-five Seminary graduates who have faithfully served the Presbyterian Church, and honor them as representatives of all graduates. Choose graduates who have not distinguished themselves except by being faithful to Christ and his church. Choose those whom few notice, yet who serve the church day in and day out, doing whatever is needed whenever it is required, with faithfulness and joy.
Bring attention to and honor these humble, steadfast servants of our Lord.
Vernon Towne (M.Div., 1967)
Las Vegas, Nevada
I was recently looking through my old music folder and came across a piece I sang with the Chapel Choir in 1987 under the direction of David A. Weadon. It was titled, “We Come Unto Our Savior God,” by Jane Marshall, and it was commissioned for the 175th anniversary of the Seminary. For the bicentennial of PTS, I would love to participate in a great gathering of an alumni/ae choir, and sing yet again an originally commissioned piece that speaks to the work of the church of Jesus Christ through our school.
Julie E. Hodges (M.Div., 1989)
A focused online sermon sharing, perhaps with a collective vote for the most telling sermon. The topic would be the purpose of the Seminary moving forward, building on its past contributions. Grads might be asked to focus on the calling of PTS, as well as the vocation of seminarians or theological education in general.
Chris T. Iosso (M.Div., 1979)
Living far away in Ghana, Africa, I would be pleased to have PTS gather all its alumni/ae here at a central place (depending on the geographical spread). At this gathering, we can share our reflections as African Christians since graduating from PTS, and contribute to a contemporary discussion on theology and ministry. Funds being available, one or two of the African alumni/ae can be specifically financially supported to attend the climax of events at the PTS campus.
Samuel K. Osabutey (M.A., 1991)
The world of Christianity faces three challenges: 1) The challenge of the global empire, which dominates the world, should be met. This situation is very akin to the time of Jesus the Galilean, who faced the challenge of the Roman Empire. 2) The Christian demography is expanding in the “non-Christian world” in Africa and Asia (especially in China). This demands a new leadership, which has a character of multidisciplinary study in the context of multicultural and multi-faith society. 3) The challenge of science and technology, which radically transforms the global civilization through the convergence of high technologies in the fields of economy, media, politics, and geopolitics, should be met.
PTS can train an advanced global leadership for the church in cooperation with advanced theological movement in the world.
Yong-Bock Kim (M.Div., 1966; Ph.D., 1969)
One part of Princeton Seminary’s story that I think should receive due attention is the role of President John Mackay in broadening the Seminary experience, by bringing together faculty and students of various countries and denominational backgrounds. Mackay also preserved the Seminary’s commitment to faithful Christian scholarship without succumbing to rigid fundamentalism, and was one of the first to stand against the tyranny of fear manifested in McCarthyism.
We need to remember his legacy, especially in our times of fear when the urge to defend America at any cost tempts us to make people expendable.
Bill Dent (M.Div., 1963)
Someone who has access to the materials should look into the period between the time of the presidency of John Witherspoon and the beginnings of the Seminary in 1812. It is a part of the Seminary’s “conceptual” history (through the Revolution and the War of 1812) that I’ve never heard spoken of. Just because it’s never spoken of, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Samuel G. Warr (M.Div., 1940)
It would be wonderful if international students from various continents and, if possible, various countries contact one another and make plans as to how to celebrate so great a bicentennial. If possible, have the Seminary collate names of past students from different countries and send them around so they start contacting each other, to plan and make an impressive input.
Nene Amogu (Th.M, 2005)
Wuse Abuja, Nigeria
I won’t be alive, but by then it should have paid serious attention to the “old media” (our present-day television in its various forms), and whatever will have replaced it, which commandeers so much attention by so many at the same time. Will graduates have grappled with the implications of billions of contrary signals passing through the brains of people in the pews (if there still are pews) ahead of their sermons, let alone helping the corporate church to “use” these media? The competition is gaining on us.
Charles Brackbill (M.Div., 1948)
Mountainside, New Jersey
It would be nice to celebrate the Seminary’s history by learning more about its founders, such as the people the buildings are named for. The older I get, the more curious I am about them.
This year I discovered that I’m a third cousin (three times removed) to Robert Elliot Speer, but I don’t know anything about him.
My interest in past members of the Seminary community was first piqued when old class photos were printed in a late 1990s inSpire issue. I noticed a surname of someone pictured, because it was the same as my classmate at UCLA medical school. We discovered it was her great-grandfather, a PTS grad from the 1920s. It was really special to share that connection.
Lynn Elliot (M.Div., 1988)
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Celebrate the bicentennial by sharing the history/ministry of “firsts”—who they were, how they got to PTS, what they ended up doing. For example, the first graduate to be ordained to the ministry; the first woman to receive a degree; the first woman graduate to be ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament; the first African American graduate; the first Hispanic graduate; the first Asian graduate; the first overseas graduate; the first PTS alumnus/a to be elected moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.
Don Lincoln (M.Div., 1980)
West Chester, Pennsylvania
I would like to see the Seminary offer a course in national and international missions supported by the Presbyterian Church (USA). This would aid students in their future pastorates to include this worthy cause in their church budgets.
William Dupree (M.Div., 1946)