On Tuesday, September 8th, Claremont School of Theology held its 2015 Convocation, celebrating 130 years of teaching—58 of them at our current campus. Each year, Convocation focuses on a different aspect of our identity—United Methodist, ecumenical, interreligious. This year, the focus was on ecumenism, and Dr. Jon Berquist, President of Disciples Seminary Foundation, gave the Convocation Address, after an introduction from President Kuan.

Emphasizing CST’s ecumenical identity, he noted that the Disciples were CST’s first—though certainly not last—ecumenical partnership and that, when CST first began, it was the first and only Methodist institution to include the word ‘ecumenical’ in its founding documents. “Ecumenism is our beginning and our heart,” Dr. Berquist said. He spoke of the power of ecumenical and interreligious work, recognizing that our traditions and institutions alone do not have all the answers but must work together.

Connecting to the mission statement of the school, Dr. Berquist explained, “We are not alone. We are heirs to marvelous gifts of tradition, and it is now our task to take the next steps in labor that has lasted for generations, for millennia. The healing of the world is not work that we have started. And it is not work my hands will finish. Together we learn from our past. Together we learn from each other. Together we move forward in faith to build, to transform, and to heal.” He charged all of the CST community with joining together—in ecumenism, in interreligious work—to do this together.

Student awards were also presented at Convocation. Dean Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook recognized Nikia Robert and Heather Thomas as recipients of the Bishop Golden Award, as well as Ann Hidalgo and Soo Jung Kim as recipients of the Fisher Award.