North Park Theological Seminary Welcomes New and Returning Students

The ECC's president, the Rev. Gary Walter, greets students at North Park Theological Seminary's Fall Convocation, August 28, 2011.
The ECC's president, the Rev. Gary Walter, greets students at North Park Theological Seminary's Fall Convocation, August 28, 2011.

Convocation opens 2011-2012 academic year

CHICAGO (Sep. 1, 2011) — At its Fall Convocation on August 28, faculty and staff of North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago welcomed 46 new degree-seeking students at a worship service at North Park University’s Anderson Chapel.

The Seminary is affiliated with the Chicago-based Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), a growing Protestant denomination with more than 800 congregations in the United States and Canada.

In her sermon, “The Learning Curve,” the Rev. Tammy K. Swanson-Draheim, superintendent of the ECC’s Midwest Conference, based in Omaha, Neb., urged the students to study hard but also to seek time for solitude with God, as Jesus did. “Don’t neglect to find a solitary place where you can enjoy spending regular and uninterrupted time with your God. Don’t let the pursuit of your studies eclipse your pursuit of God,” she said to the students.

President Gary B. Walter of the ECC also welcomed the students. He reminded them to “never forget that God knows you, that God loves you, that you were meant for this relationship,” Walter said.

“At North Park you’re going to find out something: that we actually believe in the gospel,” Walter continued. “We actually believe the gospel changes everything it touches. It changes the lost and the brokenhearted. It breaks down the dividing walls of hostility that people have built among themselves. In this fractured world, there is no hope except in the power of Christ to bring people together. The power of the gospel even changes corrosive systems that God’s people built.”

“If you want to be part of that mission in God’s world, you also need to let God’s love transform you,” he added.

Dr. Linda Cannell, the Seminary’s academic dean, urged new and returning students to embrace their personal and academic learning curves and to learn from what they will experience this year. “I can’t isn’t part of our vocabulary,” she said, “especially with all of the spiritual resources available to us.”

Four faculty members who have announced their retirement at the end of the academic year were recognized. They are the Rev. Dr. Richard Carlson, professor of ministry; the Rev. Dr. Robert Hubbard, professor of Old Testament; Norma Sutton, professor of theological bibliography; and Cannell.

The convocation also included prayers for new students and a prayer of consecration by Dr. David L. Parkyn, president of North Park University.

North Park Theological Seminary students are enrolled in graduate programs leading to the master of divinity, master of arts in Christian formation, master of arts in Christian ministry, and master of arts in theological studies, as well as various dual degrees in conjunction with the School of Business and Nonprofit Management. It also offers continuing education leading to a range of certificates including the certificate in spiritual direction, certificate in faith and health, and certificate in intercultural studies. A doctor of ministry in preaching is offered in conjunction with other Chicago-area seminaries.


For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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