During the academic hooding ritual, Tari Carbaugh is assisted by professors Young-Ho Chun, left, and Harold Washington.
The inaugural graduating class of Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU consists of, from left, Tari Carbaugh, David Gardner, Felecia Hensley, Nathan Mills, and Anna Marie George. Photos by Holly McCray
By Holly McCray
Diplomas now in hand and academic hoods topping their regalia, the Class of 2011 stood with the audience as Myron McCoy praised God.
"We thank You for this first moment, for these first five graduates," prayed Rev. Dr. McCoy, president of Saint Paul School of Theology.
In the Aug. 19 ceremony at OKC-St. Luke’s, the Master of Divinity degree was awarded to five women and men by Saint Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University.
Those members of the seminary’s inaugural graduating class are: Tari Lynn Carbaugh, David K. Gardner, Anna Elizabeth Marie George, Felecia Hensley, and Nathan Aquilla Mills.
They are the First Fruits of spiritual seeds long cultivated in Oklahoma. Across years, as McCoy pointed out, some people dismissed any hope expressed for a United Methodist seminary someday in the state.
This first commencement affirmed the harvest in God’s good time.
"What a glorious day for the Kingdom of God most of all!" declared Bishop Robert Hayes Jr. of the Oklahoma Area.
Graduate Gardner said he added milk and honey to his breakfast cereal that day, because he had reached a promised land.
Four of the graduates are pastoring churches in Oklahoma, and one is appointed to a seminary post at OCU.
"You have prepared yourself, but there is one thing left to do," the bishop told them. "Bridge the gap between knowing and doing. Put truth into action. Take what you learned here and take the word of Jesus to where they’ve never heard it. God has ways of making things happen."
Saint Paul School is a United Methodist seminary with two campuses. The seminary was chartered in 1958 at Kansas City, Mo. The site at OCU was approved in early 2008.
The new location grew to life as three entities joined to develop disciples: the Oklahoma Area of The United Methodist Church, OCU, and the seminary.
"Brenda McDaniel was the driving force, the persistent figure" in establishing Saint Paul School at OCU, according to Bishop Hayes. "When you write the history, be sure her name has the asterisk beside it, because she was the motivator." During commencement, Brenda and Tom McDaniel, former OCU president, received special recognition.
McCoy also introduced Kansas City seminary staff and faculty at the ceremony. "They traveled here as a sign of solidarity; we are two campuses, but one school," he said.
And he described as "critical persons and allies with us" new OCU President Robert Henry; the Wimberly School of Religion at OCU; and Mark Davies, dean of OCU’s College of Arts & Sciences.
"Through this partnership we are bringing education to an underserved community," McCoy said.
The seminary’s fall enrollment is 38 at the OCU location, and 214 in Kansas City. In May, 36 received degrees in the commencement ceremony at Kansas City. View more photos on our Facebook page