YDS Convocation & Reunions 2023
More than 300 YDS graduates, friends, and students attended Convocation, which over the three days also featured awards, panels, lectures, worship, and moments for catching up with old friends and classmates.
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The Living Village—designed to meet the rigorous standards of the Living Building Challenge—is expected to open in August 2025, providing housing for about 50 divinity students in what will be the largest living-building residence at any university.
Living Village panel discussion
Five alums from the worlds of church, academia, medicine, and public service were celebrated at the YDS Alumni Awards celebration held at the Greenberg Center (adjacent to the Quad) on Oct. 12.
The honorees were:
- Distinction in Theological Education: Carolyn J. Sharp ‘94 M.A.R., ‘00 Ph.D., Professor of Homiletics at Yale Divinity School and Episcopal priest
- Distinction in Congregational Ministry: Jeffrey Haggray ‘88 M.Div., Executive Director of the American Baptist Churches Home Mission Society and Vice Chair of the Advisory Council of Andover Newton Seminary at YDS
- William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace & Justice: Marylouise Oates ’73 M.Div., journalist, activist, and member of the Advisory Council of the Downtown Women’s Center of Los Angeles
- Lux et Veritas: Richard F. Mollica ‘79 M.A.R., global pioneer in the health care and healing of traumatized populations
- Dean’s Outstanding Service Award: Wesley Poling ‘71 M.Div., longtime leader in higher education fundraising, past member of the YDS alumni board, and Class Agent for his Class of 1971.
Yale Black Seminarians anniversary event
In 1968, Yale Black Seminarians began “mobiliz(ing) the presence of Black students at Yale Divinity School through advocacy, faith, and the pursuit of justice,” to quote a 2019 exhibition on the group’s history. On the final day of Convocation 2023, current students and Black seminarians of the past packed the Old Refectory to celebrate the 55th anniversary of YBS with a brunch and panel.
YBS anniversary brunch and panel: View photo gallery
The Rev. Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes ’18 M.Div., Founding Co-Pastor of the Double Love Experience Church in New York, moderated the panel, titled “The Evolving Black Church: Innovative Practices for the Future.” The panelists were:
- Allen Reynolds, Editor, UrbanFaith
- Rev. D. Danyelle Thomas, Founder & Content Creator, Unfit Christian
- Rev. Dr. Jason Turner, Senior Pastor, Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church
Beecher Lectures and other featured talks
Convocation opening and first Beecher Lecture: View photo gallery
One of the world’s longest-running and most important lecture series on preaching, the Beecher Lectures this year were delivered by Alexander Deeg, Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Leipzig. Deeg’s three-part series was titled “Preaching Towards G–d: A Homiletic for Metamodern Times.”
Giving Berkeley Divinity School’s Pitt Lecture was the Rt. Rev’d Dr. Vicentia Kgabe, Bishop of the Diocese of Lesotho. Kgabe’s lecture was titled “Convocation On, and Conferral In.”
The featured speaker for the plenary session of Andover Newton at YDS was the seminary’s dean, Sarah Drummond, who reported on the state of the seminary and wider trends in theological education.
The Institute of Sacred Music hosts its Kavanagh Lecture during YDS Convocation each year. The lecturer for 2023 was Juliette Day, Lecturer in Church History in the Theology Department of Helsinki University. Day spoke on “Hearing our Prayers: Audition and its Rituals in Christian Worship.”
With so many events taking place on and off the YDS campus, there were many opportunites to capture smiling faces of alumni, guests, faculty, staff, and students. See a selection of photos at the Convocation & Reunions Photo Gallery.