United Theological Seminary

Messages for Graduates

We asked students, staff, faculty, alums, family, and friends to share messages of love and support with our graduates. Congratulations to the Class of 2021 & 2020!

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2021 Messages

Michael Moore, MDiv ’86

Congratulations on reaching this milestone, Class of 2021! Class of 2020, congratulations on both your graduation this past year and the work that you are in the midst of as you serve! Whether you are on an ordination track or are furthering your education for work that you are involved in, this milestone is significant and should be celebrated! Welcome to the UTS Alum family!

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Michael Moore, MDiv (86)

Linda Warner, MDiv ’10

Congratulations on you graduation. May you great blessing as you go forth into the world. Linda

Claire Klein, MDiv ‘19

Congratulations, graduates! May your ministries in all their glorious forms speak God’s word to us and bring greater justice and peace. You have worked SO HARD and I hope you celebrate this happy day!

Cara Hochhalter, MDiv ‘08

Congratulations! I wish you the very best as you carry your time at UTS out into the world. It has been wonderful to know that as an alum, I still feel part of that ever-enlarging community who continues to support us. In peace and gratitude, Cara

Dr. Bonita Kitt, DMin ‘20

Congratulations to the members of Class 2021. Wishing you blessings, hope, and peace as you enter a new phase of your educational journey.

Dale Hadler, MART ‘05

Congratulations as you continue your in the service of others.

David Long-Higgins, MDiv ‘88

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to join my voice with that of others in congratulating you on your graduation from UTS. Doubtless, you have been formed in more ways than can be counted, even as your presence has formed the community during your tenure as a student. Know that I am delighted that you will be continuing the work of building a world of justice bent toward flourishing in whatever form that may take. Already you are a blessing, I am sure. Please know that I hold you in my prayers as this part of your journey ends and a new chapter begins. Blessings all around! Rev. Dave Long-Higgins, class of 1988

Kelli Clement, MDiv ‘10

Dear UTS Class of 2021 – You have already proved how focused and resilient you are. Not even a global pandemic could keep you from this moment. These gifts you bring to the world will have repercussions far beyond your knowing. Blessings be upon your ministries, and hearty congratulations!

Victoria Wilgocki, MDiv ‘06

Congratulations, each and every one! Blessings on you and your ministry, whatever shape that takes. Here’s to the next chapter!

Paula Nordhem, DMin ‘07

What a world of opportunity and challenge awaits you as you go forth in response to God’s call. May every blessing accompany you for each leg of the journey and may you know God’s deep and abiding presence every step of the way.

Demian Wheeler

Graduates, congratulations! It has been a blessing getting to work with you.

I leave you with these words of wisdom from James Luther Adams: “An unexamined faith is not worth having, for it can be true only by accident. A faith worth having is faith worth discussing and testing.”

We are so proud of you!

Hank Campbell, MDiv ‘82

May God bless your ministry with the sacred knowledge of head and heart.

Clyde Steckel

Congratulations on your graduation from United! As a nenber of the board and former professor and dean, I know you are well prepared for leadership ikn religious communities and society. I pray that you will be supported and challenged by the Holy OIne throughout the days of your life. Blessings on you!

Mark Dayton

Congratulations Graduates!

You begin your ministries at a critical time for our nation and our world. The light of Christian faith must shine ever more brightly to reach and lead the collective soul of the human race.

I wish you fortitude, perseverance, and fulfillment.

Mark Dayton

Emily Meyer, MART ’09

Congratulations, United grads – 2020 & 2021!! What an extraordinary year (or two) to be graduating from this particular seminary, where we rejoice in preparing you for an ever-changing world, full of incredible diversities, challenges, and opportunities for ministries of all shapes and sizes. Blessings as you embark on whatever it is that God calls you to do: the world, and every neighborhood and community in it, is waiting for the justice and grace you go out to share.

Jack Gaede, MDiv ’17

You won’t know what is waiting for you nor what your future ministries hold, but you can know who you are and who you are called to be. Despite and among all the trials and tribulations, I hope and pray that you know and remember who you are and whose you are.

Agnesgrace Auko, MDiv ’18

To The Graduates: Congratulations!! You have done it. You are successful. You are a conqueror. Enjoy your success. Take your success to the next level. Help humanity with what you have learned. Share your gifts with the people around you and beyond. Make the world a better place. It is your time, be generous with it. Keep dreaming. Enjoy your success, you deserve it. And May God Bless you All-now and into the future.
Blessings!

Agnesgrace K. Auko

Vicki Richardson

Congratulations to each of you on this milestone accomplishment. You did it!!!!

Sarah Vanasse

Best wishes in your bright future endeavors!

Cindy Schriever

My wish for you is a dazzling sunset, bright stars to dream under and faith to light your way.

Eleazar Fernandez

Blessings to United Seminary Graduating Class of 2020 and 2021

Graduating class of 2021, it has been my privilege and delight to have played a part in your theological formation and life journey.

Your journey toward that desired new and better tomorrow of ours is long. It is crucial that you develop resilience, which means having the ability to bounce back and be flexible without losing sight of your destination.

When the waves of the ocean are about to crash and drown you, do not forget to be that fish that swims gracefully. When the forces of death seek to bury you, let them know that they have forgotten that you are a seed. Be that wee little seed. When the answer to the world’s longing is blowing in the wind, be that wind of change.

Now, go with confidence and follow your bliss and pursue that which gives the world delight. Challenges await, for sure, but there is nothing much surer still than the steadfast love of the Divine Spirit that will see you through in our trying times.

Eleazar Fernandez
Professor

Vonda Pearson MDiv ’98

Congratulations to the Classes of 2020 and 2021! We are so proud of your resilience, courage, compassion, and commitment to serve and lead in such a time as this! Thank you so much for letting United’s staff and faculty be a part of your journey. We are grateful we will continue to stay connected as you become esteemed alums of United! Many loving blessings to each you!

Tom Major, MDiv ‘ 16

Congratulations UTS class of 2021! We celebrate with you all the work you have done and knowledge you have gained. And you will learn so much more! The world needs you to share your wisdom, knowledge and experience. The work of bringing and building understanding and seeking justice is always important, and is so deeply needed now. Remember, that you are meant to serve “in such a time as this.” Blessings in life and ministry.

Marjorie Grevious, MA ’18

Be sure to celebrate this moment to the fullest. Make space to hear the still small voice of the Divine as your path unfolds before you. Know that Joy and Rest are your birthright.

Emily Wright, MDiv ’18

Finishing graduate school during a pandemic. Wow! Congratulations! May the questions that you pondered continue to be asked, may you seek justice, may your future continue to include meaningful ways to interact in the world, may you add beauty, truth and love to your community. The world needs you. I hope you have time to celebrate and rest. I am proud of you. Love, Emily

Cindi Beth Johnson

You have come to this day through an incredibly challenging time. You have persevered, you have found your way, and now you have arrived at what is both an end and a beginning. We are so proud of you, proud of all of your work and excited about the next step in your journey. We celebrate you today and we hope that you will always think of this as “home.” Keep in touch, we want to follow, and celebrate, all that is yet to come. Go in love and light.

Justin Sabia-Tanis

What amazing work you will do in the years to come! How many lives you will touch! Thank you so saying “yes” to the call in your hearts–the world is eager for your gifts and grace.

Hillary Vamstad

Knowing how to weather a storm is important, but so is dancing in the rain!
During this stormy last year I hope you found time to dance, if not, now’s a great time to put on the dancing shoes!
Best wishes to all grads!

Jennifer Awes-Freeman

Congratulations graduates! You have learned, endured, survived, thrived, encouraged, collaborated, advocated, disrupted, lifted up, and much much more over the course of your studies at United and especially in this past year. Best wishes on all that lies before you now. Do stay in touch!

Kyle Roberts

Dear United Graduates: Congratulations on reaching this milestone! You have come so far and have crossed so many obstacles, met so many challenges, and endured and persisted to complete your degree. We are proud to call you graduates of United and look forward to the many ways you will put your education to use for the good of the world.

Dr. J. Samuel Subramanian

Congratulations! Best wishes.

John Lee, DMin ’18

Congratulations United Graduates! You did it and I am so proud of each of you and for the honor of walking with you on this journey. Blessings on all of the ways you will serve, heal, liberate, and love in this next chapter.

Teri Cahoon, MDiv ’21

High tree tops bend in wind

2020 Messages

Seth Fine, MAL ’23

Mazel tov!! Your accomplishments are amazing. Can’t wait to witness how you change the world.

Hillary Vamstad

Behind you–All your memories
Before you– All your dreams
Around you–All who love you
Within you– All you need
Congratulations and all the best wishes for you, graduates!




Kelli Clement, MDiv ‘10

Hearty congratulations on your graduation from UTS! Look what you have done: all the moments of doubt (some still with you), all the new friends (some will be with you for a lifetime), all the books & papers & projects (some you will draw on for years to come), all the disappointments (the lessons of which will serve you well) point to the real mastery you have achieved. It’s a pleasure to welcome you into the company of United Alums. Bright blessings today & always – Kelli

Jeffrey Childs, MDiv ‘83

Seminary Journey
Jeffrey B. Childs 04/25/20

It was like yesterday that we came to this place,
We entered as strangers into a strange space,
To answer God’s call, to learn, to expand,
To deepen our faith, on which we could stand.

Our souls we have searched, and questioned presumptions.
We have overcome trials and life’s interruptions.
Now, here we stand poised, prepared to embark.
To go forth and carry God’s light to the dark.

Michael Bausch, DMin ‘97

I write to congratulate each of you graduating from UTS this year! This is a major accomplishment in your life and a milestone to be celebrated. I trust what you’ve learned during this journey is already helping you in your ministries in this unique time for the Church. I’m sorry you are not able to have an in-person graduation dinner and commencement ceremony.
While I was unable to attend my UTS graduation I was able to participate in a graduation dinner where grads were introduced. I was stunned by the applause each one of us received, and for me, not having spent much time on campus, from people I did not know. What I felt in that moment was immense support from the UTS community. So, in a small way I pass along that support to you now, and I applaud your accomplishments! Congratulations!!!

Allen Henden, MDiv ‘87

Dear 2020 UTS graduates: Congratulations on the wonderful accomplishment and calling represented by the degree awarded to you by UTS! I will hold you in my heart and prayers as you follow this calling into communities hungry for your leadership, care, and challenge. And, as you do, may you take to heart the call of Civil Rights leader, Bayard Rustin, to be “angelic troublemakers.”

Jackie Falk, MDiv ‘12

May your call surprise, delight, and challenge you, all the while remaking your soul. Blessings.

Michael Moore, MDiv ‘87

To the class of 2020, I send my congratulations and love! I will begin my DMin this Summer. As I proceed on the path to my DMin, I will be holding each one of you in my heart. Y’all are taking the next step in challenging times. However, UTS has prepared you to be prophets and priests sharing the love of God and the Spirit (however you define Her) with the world. Love and prayers to you all!

Michael Moore
Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Retired)

Jo Cassiday-Maloney, MDiv ‘83

So, y’all are being sprayed out into the world without the celebration of what you have accomplished and the encouragement of a gathering of family and friends. With a dearth of physical contact–where, oh where, are those 7 hugs a day?–with a message that must be broadcast in whatever ways we can figure out, with the spirit of God’s love roiling and boiling and bursting out of our hearts whether we will it or no, we must also invent ingenious ways of connecting and staying sane (whatever that means, not really sure . . .) in the midst of such huge fears and griefs. Congratulations! Condolences! May the ever flowing stream of God’s grace and joy sustain you even as you help direct it to places and people in dire need. Blessings on our work!

Kevin Cassiday-Maloney, MDiv ‘83, DMin ‘05

Congratulations for your hard work in completing this graduate degree and in equipping yourself with the tools for living a more meaningful life! You have engaged in a sacred process that will continue for a lifetime, a process of responsible theological reflection that will allow you to partner with many others of many faiths and those of no faith as we join in transforming our world into a more just and loving community of fauna and flora. Thanks for the gifts you bring to this journey of joy, and keep up the good work.

Teryl Akkerman, MDiv ‘85

Congratulations and blessings to you all. How the world needs leaders like you, proclaiming the way of Christ, the love of God, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, visioning the Newness in all things. Thank you!

Gregory Kapphahn, MDiv ‘87

May God grant you attentiveness to the inspirations God is sneaking into your imagining, your thinking, your intuiting, and your feeling so that you are able to respond in amazing ways (even to you) to these new circumstances into which you are graduating! There’s so much work to do on God’s behalf. You each have a unique role to play. Let God guide you into what your role will be in the full knowledge that God might direct you into beautiful, bright places that will bring you great acclaim, but also into places of dim, even dangerous, obscurity that might bring you official rejection (no matter how many lives you save). May God bless you one and all.

Gage Church, MDiv ‘09

Congratulations and good work! The world needs you now more than ever!

Demian Wheeler

Congratulations to the class of 2020! You are an extraordinary group of students, and I feel blessed to have worked with many of you. I look forward to celebrating!

Dorothy Duquette, MDiv ‘96

Congratulations on your graduation from United! Best wishes and prayers for God’s blessings!

Bundy Trinz, MA ‘10

Congratulations to the class of 2020. We need you more than ever in this “brave new world.” Wishing you all the best!

Marjorie Grevious, MA ‘18

I am wishing each of you the continued surprise unfolding and discoveries of Pandemic Life. May the time beyond now be one of continued cycles of contemplation to go inward, and be still in order to bring forth new life energy into the world, into your work, into your connections. May the bright light of your spirit always find new ways to shine and your hearts be blessed by rest and renewal as you step boldly into this new world and redefine normal for the world to come.

Keith Tussing, MDiv ‘74

Congratulations & best wishes as your ministries evolve during a most anxious, uncertain time. Christians have faced times of uncertainty over the centuries knowing that the spirit of Christ is always with them. As the hymn writer penned, “new occasions teach new duties.” You will teach us all new ways to follow the Christ. Our prayers go with you.

Mark Schwinn, MDiv ‘04

Be bold, be brave, take what the seminary has taught you and apply it to the best of your ability. Those who you will be called to serve may or may not be able to receive the message that you have to offer, share your message. Be gentle, peace loving, forgiving. BE FORGIVING!!! You have been led into the light. Let that light outcast even the darkest nights of the soul–your soul and the souls around you. I’m proud to call you a part of my UTS family!!

Lindy Purdy, MDiv ‘03

I have been in the classroom with a few of you. I have had the opportunity to experience both the new physical campus and the advancement of online learning and I am in awe of you as you navigate this new way of learning and serving in the world. I want to send my blessings and encouragement for all that you will do in this world. We need you, I have great hopes for the ways your gifts will enrich our world. Be safe, change the world. (Please.)

Chris Miller

Congratulations Mom (Melissa Miller)! We love you and are proud of you!

Mitch Miller, MA ‘20

Congratulations Melissa, I am so very proud of you! Through all the tumult of the past few years, you didn’t quit, and have come through the other side stronger for it. You are my rock, my hero, my love, my life.
Mitch
ps: lucky for you the pics aren’t posting 🙂

Ryan Miller

Melissa Miller we LOVE YOU!!!
Mom, we’re all super proud of you! What an accomplishment! Sorry I can’t be there in person to say it. There’s nothing you can’t do!! Much Love!
Your favorite kid,
-Ryan

Matt Miller

Missy Miller,
Congratulations on getting your advanced degree! So proud of the hard work you put in to get you here. Anxious to see you go forth and continue to spread love and compassion to your community. Peace, Matt

David Long-Higgins, MDiv ‘88

I want to join my congratulations with those of so many others in celebration of your graduation. My hope is that the richness of your experience both in the classroom and importantly in those spaces beyond will long be a strength to you as you remember them. As you well know, the world desperately needs people of deep spirit, deep passion, deep commitment, deep love, and deep hope. As you likely also well know, these qualities and gifts of God need the gift of community for sustenance over time. May you be blessed with such communities as you end your time at United and continue on the path of service in love to which God has called you. May all that you have learned be a continually deepening well to which you can return again and again. May the joy which is the move toward full shalom visit you in whatever way it will as often as possible. May you also discover again and again (as you likely have many times before) that there is no darkness that is dark to the Holy One who is Love itself all the time, everywhere, and beyond time and place. In all of this may you be blessed, even as you extend the blessing you have received to others. Godspeed for this next step on your journey. Shalom.

Claire Klein, MDiv ‘19

Last year, the scripture read at our graduation was Esther being told she was perhaps “made for such a time as this.” Little did we know we would be entering into such a time as THIS! There is so much we don’t know, but we do know that you have created friendships and now have colleagues to walk with you. You have acquired skills and experiences to broaden your view. You have knowledge to support your call. May you be ever curious, may you know how loved you are, may you be a beacon for others. Congratulations!

Kathy Austin Mahle, MDiv ‘78

Friends, congratulations on your graduation! All your hard work has paid off! May God continue to bless you and your ministry!

Anita Hill, MARS ‘87, MDiv ‘00

May your completion of studies launch your ministries wherever and however they may be with the blessings of faculty, board, family, alums, and friends!

Tija Andriamananjara, MA ‘15

Congratulations and best wishes for your next adventure!

Nan Stevenson, MART ‘09

Congrats, grads. We need you now, more than ever! Bless you in your future ministries! Sending love and healing light to you all! Na

Richard Runge, MDiv ‘79

Congratulations on your graduation from United Theological Seminary. Many blessings on each and all of you as you go on to offer love, support, and care to those with whom you will minister. Shalom.

Peggy Ludlow, MDiv ‘17

Congratulations class of 2020!! I am so sorry for your loss of not getting to celebrate with a traditional graduation ceremony. Your accomplishments are not lessened by this loss. You all are capable, strong, and resilient. You will do great things while bringing forth God’s love in a new and enduring way. Stay strong, knowing that God is celebrating with you! Peace & Blessings.

Emily Meyer, MART ‘09

Dear 2020 Graduates: Congratulations! You have worked hard for your degrees. You have enjoyed countless memorable experiences. You have dared to create and innovate in all sorts of ways through all kinds of ministries. The world is blessed by your presence; God’s people are blessed by your work. Blessings as you venture into the unknown–and the bizarre joy and challenge of entering a completely unprecedented reality. I look forward to supporting you in whatever you endeavor.

Lisa Besnett

I love you all and I’m going to miss you at school and in Zoom. Looking forward to seeing you next spring and hearing about your post-grad progress! You are amazing!

Emily Youngdahl Wright, MDiv ‘18

Dear class of 2020. Clearly you are preparing for a world that is in need of all the wisdom, love, and energy you can give. My prayer for you is to make something beautiful, useful, and joyful with your gifts, and that you will speak up and act up in the face of injustice. I am so proud of you for everything you have accomplished. The world is lucky to have you in it.

Linda McCollough, MDiv ‘16

Congratulations on completing this milestone! May you continue learning, growing, and guiding. All the best to you!

Dawn Chastler, MARL ‘07

Congratulations graduates! This is a unique year with no commencement ceremony. I hope you will find a way to celebrate your milestone in a meaningful way. You have completed your coursework and have earned your degree. You, and it, are no less valuable without ceremony. Your call is important and you are valued by your professors, colleagues, and classmates. The world awaits your light! Congratulations! My prayers for authentic and effective ministry go with you into the world. Blessings!

Judy Ganz, MDiv ‘08

Congratulations on your graduation from United! I have always felt blessed because of the education I received at UTS that helped me traverse many different types of work over my short career. I wish for you meaningful work that blesses you and those you serve.

Karl Vercouteren, MDiv ‘65

Congratulations and blessings! You have inherited an amazing tradition that equips you for this strangest of times. Take it and run to places yet unimagined. Go with God!

Jim Klein, DMin ‘04

Congratulations and God’s blessing as you continue on your journeys.

Jon Smith

Congratulations and many blessings to all of you.

Paula Nordhem, DMin ‘07

I join fellow alums in sending my very best wishes to every one of you in this year’s graduating class. This is a time to celebrate your accomplishments! It is my hope that each of you has been nurtured by all the elements of the UTS community and I pray that you will go forth to this next phase of your lives strengthened by the relationships, knowledge, and spiritual growth that you have experienced during your years at UTS. May God’s grace, peace, and steadfast presence accompany you every step of the way. Blessings and joy!

Anita Bradshaw

To all the graduates: What you have gained here is in no way diminished by the abrupt ending brought on by the pandemic. You have much to be proud of and much you have accomplished. I’m sorry that is overshadowed by not being able to celebrate with one another in person. And yet, you will still be able to celebrate and revel in what has been and what will come to be. Blessings as you go forth into the world to make a difference that is positive for all of us.

Shai Wise, MDiv ‘11

May you take what you have learned and continue to grow. May you feel rooted in where you have been and also comfortable growing and changing as you move forward. Blessings in what you are called to do and may that calling cause you the discomfort that leads to growth and the maturity that leads to growth.

Katie Matson-Daley, MDiv ‘19

I am going to scream and cheer and yell for each of you. Congratulations!!!!!!

Julie Wright, MDiv ‘13

Well done! Congratulations!!

Cindy Schriever

I’m comforted knowing the world is better because of your love, kindness, and giving spirit. Thank you for making the sun and moon shine brighter. Be safe out there!

Lori Hill Alford, MARL ‘11

Yay!! Congrats!!

Laura Smidzik, MDiv ‘14

Congratulations!

Pamela Lynne Serdar, MDiv ‘11

Congratulations!!

Lynn Borgeson, MA ’92, MDiv ‘94

Well done, good and faithful servants!!! Congratulations!!

Jennifer Awes-Freeman

It has been a tremendous joy to journey with so many of you over the last couple of years. I wish you all the best!

Sara Morse, MDiv ‘03

Congratulations!

Coqui Conkey, MDiv ‘02

Congratulations!

Vonda Pearson, MDiv ‘98

To the members of United’s 2020 graduating class:
I’m sorry. You are beloved. Thank you. I’m sorry we cannot be together in person this evening to celebrate all of your hard work and remarkable accomplishments and that your commencement service is postponed for one year. You are beloved and I’m so grateful tonight does not mark the end of your relationship with United but a special transition from student to alum. We could not be more proud of you. Thank you for choosing United as your seminary and thank you for everything you have given to this community through your papers, participation, passion and presence. We have been so blessed by you. Beloved members of the Class of 2020: congratulations on earning your degree!! You did it!! Now as you leave this place, may you continue to love without holding back including yourself, those you serve, and all of life. See you at your commencement on May 2, 2021!

Stephanie McCullough-Cain, MDiv ‘16

Congratulations on your hard work!! Blessings in your future ministries.

Lynn Welton, MDiv ‘04

Congratulations all!

Amoke Kubat, MARL ’17, Certificate in Black Church Leadership ‘17

Congratulations UTS class of 2020!

Patrick Gambill-Read, MDiv ‘01

Mazal tov to all y’all as your journey continues!

Patricia Geadelmann, MDiv ‘04

Blessings and congratulations to all graduates!

Terri Burnor, MDiv ‘15

Welcome new alums! You’ve all worked so hard to get here. Whatever happens next, may it continue to bring meaning and connections.

Meredythe Jones Rossi, MA ‘17

Seeing your names brings a flood of good memories from classes and events! Grateful to you for your scholarship and commitment.

Karen Larson, MDiv ‘12

Congratulations and blessings, graduates! The church needs you now.

Karen and Scott Evenson, MDiv ‘15, MA ‘17

We have known challenges and the blessings of endurance, including the decades of work it took for Scott to graduate UTS in the midst of life’s many twists and turns. We are with you. We will be with you. You have accomplished incredible things and have an opportunity to live into your call to life and ministry even in (and perhaps especially in) this time. We pray you know many blessings now, celebrate with you now, and look forward to celebrating again with you next year!

Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Dear United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities 2020 Graduates —

Wow! Truly, there could be no better time for you to bring all you have to the world as it is right now. When I think about your commitments to deepen your spirituality and criticality, as well as your practices in strengthening your voices, through spoken word, preaching, and writing, and the body language of accompaniment, I cannot help but honor the little spring of hope that gushes through my being when I think about all of us who will hold and mold the new realities we are creating and living into. Please do not forget what we shared with you. We will not forget the ways you made us. God speed, Dr. Ayo

Tammy Rider, MDiv ‘94

Congratulations, dear ones! May you be blessed as you take this next step on this wild and wonderful journey! You are so prepared. Be proud!

Dr. J. Samuel Subramanian

Congratulations! You have achieved your goals. You have acquired education for transformation. May you continue to work for the transformation of the world. May you go with grace and compassion to serve the cosmos. Best wishes for a bright future.

Bob Bledsoe, MDiv ‘13

It may take a while, it may take a couple false starts, it may take self-doubt and frustration and even depression, but you will find where you need to be and what you need to do. Stick to it.

Bescye Burnett, MDiv ‘08

Congratulations on the completion of your study at UTS and another beginning of your life of faith, trust, and love. Have “peace in believing” that all things are possible for you as you continue the journey. “Love returns love.”

Linda Warner, MDiv ‘10

Congratulations on your graduation. Blessing as you go forward.

Elizabeth Macaulay, MDiv ’99, Board of Trustees

Congratulations! I pray that you feel excited about being released into all that awaits even as you are immersed in all that is. Blessings be yours.

Lisa Lynott-Carroll, MDiv, MA ‘18

I offer my sincere and heartfelt congratulations on your hard-won achievements! I know how much work, dedication and sacrifice goes into attaining your degrees and you have every reason to be proud of your accomplishments. I’m truly sorry that you will not be able to have the traditional celebrations, but know that we are all thinking of and praying for you and we are celebrating with you from afar. Whatever work you choose to do, whatever your call is, I’m sure it will make a unique impact. Congratulations and God bless your endeavors!

Carolyn Pressler

Class of 2020, you are an amazing, committed, inquiring, intelligent, and diverse (not to say “motley”) group of people. What you have given us and what you have taught us is rich, indeed. From art as resistance to a biblical hermeneutic of fly fishing, from deep-rooted womanist lament to a theology of drag, you have stretched our practices and widened our vision. We have grown from your commitment to justice and your courage, taken heart from your pastoral passion and compassion, and been inspired by your resilience, as you navigate your final weeks of seminary in the midst of strange and difficult times. We will miss you–but, know this. You now graduate from United, but you do not in any permanent sense leave this community, for you take with you our love, our ongoing support, and our deep appreciation and blessings. Go with humor, go in hope, keep in touch.

Elizabeth O’Sullivan, MDiv ‘23

I am so happy for you! We will miss you! God bless you!

Eleazar Fernandez

Graduating class of 2020, it is with great joy and pride that I congratulate you for having arrived at this significant milestone in your journey to pursue a dream and a vocation. For sure there have been challenges along the way, but you have continued to follow the voice that has been calling you from within as well as from without—that voice of vocation in which your deep gladness meets the world’s deep needs. With the support and encouragement of family and friends and God’s sustaining grace, you have persevered to the very end. Now, your labors are bearing fruits. Celebrate and enjoy this momentous achievement. You deserve it. Congratulations!

Rev. Dr. Cindi Beth Johnson

We have been blessed to share this part of life’s journey with you. We have delighted in watching you move through classes, degrees, concentrations, life situations and more. You have navigated hurdles, obstacles, opportunities, and requirements. You have integrated what you have been learning and now you take that with you on the next stage of the journey.

While you were here you have inspired us, taught us, and given us hope. Now go and do the same in new places, in new ways. The world is waiting and we are cheering you on. Go in grace. Go in love. Wrap yourself in our love and gratitude. We are holding you in the light.

Cindi Beth Johnson

Katie Miller

Congratulations to Melissa Miller, my courageous and incredibly creative, intelligent, and thoughtful mom!!

Tanya Sadagopan, DMin ’21

I have enjoyed meeting many of you and attending class with you. I am so pleased that you have been on this learning journey with you! My life is all the richer for it. All the best, God Speed, and Go make the world a brighter place with all your incredible gifts!

Leah C. Benemerito

Congratulations to Batch 2020.

Peace and Blessing.

Alaina Hoffman

I am so deeply thankful for all I have learned in class with you all. From the questions you held to the experience you brought to the stories you shared to the space you help wrestle to create—thank you. My gratitude is held in a thin space outside time and joins with the waves of gratitude from the people and communities to come on the path before you. Dance forward. ️♥

Doug Abbott, MA ‘10

Dear class 2020, even under the most ordinary scenarios what you have accomplished is pivotal and epic. The mystery that lay before you is going to be a journey of challenge and great reward, loss and hope. The United experience is going to serve you well. Lean into this uncertainty and JOY…lean ALL the way into it! Blessings for you all!