Church Divinity School of the Pacific celebrates commencement

May 26, 2023 | #DidYouKnow, #Stories

Story and photos by the Rev. Canon Debbie Low-Skinner

On a cold, gray, blustery Saturday morning on May 20, the 128th Commencement of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific took place in the school courtyard. Interim Dean, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Kirk Smith, presided over the proceedings.

He also introduced the Commencement Speaker, the Rev. Canon Dr. Chuck Robertson, who was receiving an honorary doctorate. Robertson was Smith’s Canon to the Ordinary when Smith was Bishop of Arizona. Currently, Robertson is Canon to the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who was away on May 20, leading the consecraon of the Rt. Rev. Mahew Heyd as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of New York.

Other honorary doctorates were awarded to:

  • Priest, liturgist, and organist the Rev. Mary Morrison, formerly of the Diocese of El Camino Real.
  • Dr. Esther Mombo, professor of St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya. She is a founding member of the Tamar Campaign in Kenya, which seeks to acknowledge the existence of gender-based violence in society and empower churches to address this issue. She is also the coordinator of the East African Region for the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.

Master of Divinity degrees were awarded to twelve graduates, including DioCal’s:

  • Annalise Deal (wife of the Rev. Kevin Deal, Vicar of St. John the Evangelist Church in SF’s Mission District and a postulant for Holy Orders).
  • The Rev. Dr. Mees Tielens, who completed two years of field educaon at St. Anna’s Church in Anoch and received the Episcopal Church Foundaon Award for Preaching.

Also receiving an MDiv is the Rev. Angela Furlong of the Diocese of Maryland. She completed a year of field educaon at St. Augusne’s Church, a historic African American parish in Oakland, and led Morning Prayer and preached monthly at Christ Church Sei Ko Kai, a historic Japanese American church in San Francisco. Furlong also received the Rev. Dr. Fran Toy Prize for Mulcultural Ministry at a Field Ed Site.

Photos include Bp. Smith on stage; CDSP faculty; those receiving their honorary doctorates; the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers receiving a special award for her 12 years’ service as academic dean; the Class of 2023 MDiv graduates; those DioCal persons receiving their MDivs; the Rev. Angela Furlong with the Rev. Dr. Fran Toy and the Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith; and the Rev. Cn. Debbie Low-Skinner with Dr. Jenny Te Paa-Daniel, a noted Maori theologian who had served for 23 years as dean of Te Rau Kahikatea seminary at St. John’s Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand.


Ellie Simpson
Author: Ellie Simpson



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