It is with great pleasure that I announce that at our upcoming Commencement on May 21, 2021, honorary degrees will be conferred upon the Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray, Jr. and the Rev. Gladys G. Moore. Both Dr Ray and Pastor Moore will receive the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.
Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray Jr. is the President of Chicago Theological Seminary. He is also President of the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Having written and lectured broadly in the areas of Systematic Theology, African American religion, human rights and the intersection of religion and politics, Dr. Ray’s current work focuses on reinvigorating the public square as a place for all and reclaiming a vital expression of progressive religion in that project. He served as the Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., Associate Professor of Theology in African American Studies and Director of the Urban Theological Institute from 2005-2008. He will be featured in next year’s Preaching with Power as the 2022 Lecturer.
Rev. Gladys G. Moore was Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Summit, New Jersey and is an alumna (M.Div. ’84) of the Lutheran Theology Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). She retired from St. John’s this January. She previously served as Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life/Director of Diversity and Inclusion for five years at Mount Holyoke College. She was also assistant to the bishop of the New Jersey Synod of the ELCA, during which time she served as pastor at St. Matthew’s in Jersey City and St. John’s in Newark. She and her congregation have been loyal and generous friends to ULS for many years.
Dr. Ray, who will also deliver the Commencement address, is being acknowledged for his achievements in scholarship in theology, academic leadership, and in particular his work with the Urban Theological Institute at United Lutheran Seminary. Pastor Moore is being acknowledged for her achievements as a highly respected pastor in the ELCA church, a long-time leader in synod administration, well-known preacher and strong advocate for social justice, and a mentor to a generation of clergy.
Please join me in congratulating these two distinguished leaders of the church in our day. United Lutheran Seminary is proud of its association with both of them, and grateful for their service to the gospel and their neighbors. An honorary doctorate is the highest honor the Seminary can confer, and I am proud that Stephen Ray and Gladys Moore will be the first recipients of this honor in my time as seminary president.
The Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin
Ministerium of Pennsylvania Chair and Professor of Reformation History