We had a wonderful time earlier this month, on 1 July, at our Graduation Service, celebrating the graduation and commissioning of our final year students at London School of Theology.
The day was particularly memorable – not only for the small rain showers in the morning – but as day for students, their friends and families, and the staff at LST to celebrate all that has been achieved at the school over the past year and before. This service was a particularly special one, given that it is our 80th anniversary this year.
As happens at every graduation, the graduating students began the proceedings with a procession through Northwood, led by faculty, commemorating their time at the college and the journey of faith many of them have been on over the past years. Despite a bit of rain before the graduands set off, we were thankful to God that the skies cleared and we could walk through the town without umbrellas! The procession ended at Emmanuel Church, Northwood, where the graduation ceremony took place.
Over the course of the ceremony, we enjoyed participating in and listening to worship music, led by a group of great musicians including the LST Choir. We heard testimonies from two graduating students about how their time at the college has been rewarding academically and how their faith has grown during their time here.
This was the first Graduation with David Hilborn as Academic Dean. David delivered a report about the academic year, mentioning the events and occasions that have been highlights and sharing the school’s hopes and vision for the years ahead.
Professor Tony Lane, who recently celebrated 50 years at the college, gave the address on Hebrews 12, speaking about ‘running with perseverance the race marked out for us’, using examples from his own life to illustrate the intended meaning of the author.
The presentation of awards – Undergraduate, Postgraduate, and those graduating in absentia – then took place, with a total of 71 graduates across all areas. Our Director of Finance and Administration, Jonathan Mead, then presented prizes, including The Mary Fisher Prize for Commitment (presented to the student who has demonstrated tenacity in the face of adversity), The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity Prize for Practical Ministry (presented for distinguished undergraduate work in practical ministry), and The Theology and Worship Project Prize (present to the Theology & Worship student who produced the most innovative and creative project).
We pray now for our graduates, who are scattered widely around the country – and even globally – that the Lord would direct their path and guide them in all they go on to do. We pray that however they have been formed and shaped by their time at the college, God would use it in their service, as they move onto the next chapter in their lives, knowing that God goes with them.
As we say goodbye to this year’s graduates, we anticipate the arrival of many new students during Freshers Week at the end of September, as we will be welcoming them to start studying or researching with us next year. Please pray with us for this new cohort of students, that the Lord would be preparing them even now as they plan to study here at LST and graduate themselves in a few years’ time.