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Matriculation celebrates large incoming class

On August 27, 2023, members of Seminary of the Southwest’s incoming class participated in one of the seminary’s most beloved traditions, with each new student having their name called during an Evensong service in Christ Chapel, and signing their name to the same book that hundreds before them have signed. Dr. Scott Bader-Saye, academic dean, gave a stirring sermon and Dr. Gustavo Bárcenas, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education, and the Rev. Dr. Benjamin King, Duncalf-Villavoso Professor of Church History, were installed as new members of the faculty.

Among the largest incoming classes in Southwest history, the new students are evenly distributed among Southwest’s core Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. Further, the MDivs students hail from 11 different dioceses across the church, continuing Southwest’s trend of drawing a diverse pool of postulants from across the country.

Also a tradition at the Matriculation service, Southwest awarded the Charles Cook Servant Leadership Award given to Patricia Shield Ayres for her faithful leadership and inspiring example as a person of faith, an advocate for justice, and a steward of the environment. The Cook Award was created in 2009 by the faculty to honor their colleague and Seminary of the Southwest alum Charlie Cook on the occasion of his retirement from the Seminary.

“What a splendid occasion to honor Pat Ayres, install Ben and Gustavo, and welcome our large class of entering students at Matriculation at Christ Chapel,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President.  “Dean Bader-Saye’s sermon brought to life the beautiful complexities of seeking Beloved Community.”

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