Western Theological Seminary’s theme verse for the 2022-2023 academic year is Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
This verse reminds us to trust the Lord and submit to his guidance as our bright hope for the future. Despite the many challenges churches and theological schools face across the US, we continue to trust in the Lord and recognize the abundance he has provided in 2022. As 2022 comes to a close, we are highlighting twenty-two reasons to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness this past year.
New Members of the WTS Community
- Fall 2022 marked another year of record enrollment, with 433 students attending classes.
- Five new faculty members joined WTS in the 2022 academic year: Dr. Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Dr. Tim Basselin, Dr. Madison Pierce, Dr. Keith Starkenburg, and Dr. Alberto La Rosa Rojas.
- The student life team welcomed Director of Field Education and Student Life, Dr. Tim Basselin, and Associate Director of Student Life, Kate Bareman.
- The Board of Trustees welcomed Rick Lyons over the summer. Lyons brings decades of experience with him to his role on the board.
- Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance Jon Dockery and Associate Director of the Peterson Center Sam Gutierrez joined WTS staff this year. The Bridge welcomed three new staff members, including Sales Associate Emily Burchnell, Assistant Manager Amy Kornelis, and Manager Darcy Cunningham.
- WTS launched a search for a Professor of Counseling and Director of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. The director will lead the design and implementation of a CACREP-aligned Master of Arts (MA) program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, as well as teach the program’s first courses. The first classes are anticipated to be offered in the fall of 2023.
- WTS and Hope College launched the Vita Scholars Program, the new 3-2 path for students seeking a Master of Divinity degree.
- WTS launched four new Master of Arts degrees: MA in Theology, MA in Biblical Studies, MA in Christian Ministry, and MA in Disability Ministry.
- One new doctor of ministry cohort launched in 2022: Church of Refugia: Preparing the Church for Sustainability and Crisis Resilience.
- Four new Doctor of Ministry programs were announced and are currently open for enrollment:
- Performing the Bible: Exploring the Performance Genres of Scripture
- Teología Evangélica Teologías Pastorales, Doctrinales y Públicas de la Iglesia Hispanoamericana
- Hungering for God: The Pastor as Spiritual Guide
- Youth Ministry: Imagining More – Building Faithful Ministries through Practical Theology
Celebrating Connection and Partnerships
- WTS launched chapel livestreaming, making chapel accessible to all WTS students and the broader community every Friday.
- The Peterson Center for Christian Imagination hosted its first Doxology conference, where over 150 pastors, musicians, artists, alumni, and church leaders gathered for worship and refreshment.
- Through livestreaming, WTS expanded the reach of the 2022 Osterhaven Lecture series featuring Rev. Dr. Marianne Meye Thompson, and over 200 members of the extended WTS community were able to engage.
- WTS celebrated its history by hosting the inaugural Founders’ Day Lecture featuring Dr. David Komline.
- The Center for Disability and Ministry hosted its inaugural event in July, featuring Dr. Bethany McKinney and Dr. L.S. Carlos Thompson.
- WTS launched a three-year partnership with MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development, which provides coaching in cultural diversity.
- The Center of Disability and Ministry launched a partnership with the Koinonia Inclusion Network, a parachurch organization in Singapore, partnering with churches to include people with disabilities.
- The Hope-Western Prison Education Program welcomed its second full cohort and gathered to celebrate an in-person convocation for the very first time in August.
- The first cohort graduated with an MA in Christian Studies and taught fully in Spanish.
- The Class of 2022 was one of Western’s largest graduating classes with 37 Doctor of Ministry Degrees, 26 Master of Divinity degrees, 30 Master of Arts degrees, six Master of Theology degrees, and 18 Graduate Certificate degrees awarded.
- Dr. Kristen Deede Johnson was installed as the G.W. and Edna Haworth Chair of Educational Ministries and Leadership in April.
- In November, many WTS faculty attended the Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting. Dr. Han-Luen Kantzer Komline was one of the three plenary session lecturers at the national conference.
Thank you to everyone who has supported or prayed for Western Theological Seminary in 2022. We look forward to all that will come in 2023!