Hood Theological Seminary graduation festivities

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2013

SALISBURY — Hood Theological Seminary will hold its closing ceremonies for the 2012-13 academic year today through Saturday. Dr. Michael Turner, Hood Seminary’s associate professor of the history of Christianity, is the speaker for the Annual Awards Ceremony and Closing Convocation to be held on Friday at 7 p.m.
“Dr. Turner is emerging as a highly respected young theological scholar and admired by all at the seminary. I am proud to announce him as our speaker for this official Closing Convocation,” said Dr. Albert Aymer. This service is one of the highlights of the weekend for graduates and their families. The program begins with an academic procession of the graduates and faculty. During the ceremony, graduates will be hooded in preparation for their graduation the following morning. As a part of the convocation, honors and awards will be presented.
The weekend of events begins tonight with the Ninth Annual Bishop James Walker Hood Donor Recognition Dinner in Lewis Hall at First Presbyterian Church. This dinner honors all donors who have made contributions to Hood Seminary of $1,000 or more during the year 2011-12. A traditional part of this event is the Bishop’s Award, which pays tribute to individuals who have made significant contributions to Hood, the community and to humankind. Bishop Richard K. Thompson, chairman of the Board of Trustees at Hood, said, “This year’s ceremonies will also be a special tribute to and celebration of the extraordinary leadership and service of Dr. Aymer to Hood over the last 19 years.” Also attending will be family members and special friends of Aymer.
Another traditional event is the Senior Barbecue which is to honor the graduates and their families. This will be in the temporary refectory and outside by the Johnson Fountain on the campus Friday beginning at 4 p.m.
On Saturday morning at 8:30 am, the graduates will gather in the temporary chapel for a final worship service as a class, and to share in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, officiated by Hood Seminary President Aymer.
The commencement exercises begin at 10:30 a.m. on the hillside above the campus. Dr. Margaret Aymer will deliver the commencement address. She is the daughter of Dr. J.D. Aymer.
Turner joined Hood’s faculty in fall 2012 as associate professor of the history of Christianity. He is a 1997 graduate of Emory & Henry College in Emory, Va., where he received a B.A. in religion and philosophy, magna cum laude, was a member of the Sigma Mu and Blue Keys Honors fraternities and recipient of several scholarships and religion and philosophy awards. He earned a master of divinity degree from Emory University in 2000 where he received the Dean’s Award (1997-2000). He also earned a master of arts in religious studies, and a Ph.D. in religious studies (major area: historical studies; minor area: Native American religions) in 2009 from Vanderbilt University. He was awarded full tuition while at Vanderbilt. His doctoral dissertation was “Redeeming the Time: The Making of Early American Methodism.” In 1996 he was a visiting student at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Keble College, Oxford University.
Prior to coming to Hood, Turner was assistant professor of religious studies at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., since 2009. From 2002-2009 he was a teaching fellow in the history of Christianity at Vanderbilt Divinity School and was visiting assistant professor in the department of history at Volunteer State Community College from 2005-2008. He was also a teaching fellow in the Department of American Studies at Vanderbilt University and served the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the UMC as instructor and grader in the United Methodist Course of Study. He has served as pastor of the United Methodist Church in Pittston, Pa., since 2009 and New Bethel and Centenary United Methodist Churches from 2006-2009.
Turner’s numerous published articles and reviews include, most recently, “Preaching and Revivalism” in the Cambridge Companion to American Methodism; “‘Between God and the Devil’: Lorenzo Dow and the Magical Worldview” and more. He has lectured and delivered many academic papers in the U.S. and abroad, including presentations at the American Academy of Religion’s Mid-Atlantic Region and Wesley Studies Group; the 11th and 12th Oxford Institutes of Methodist Theological Studies; and the Wesley Studies Seminar at Duke University.
He is a member of the steering committee of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Academy of Religion and is a member of the American Society of Church History, the American Historical Association and the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies. While at Misericordia, Turner was secretary of the Graduate Curriculum Committee and a member of the Mission Integration and the Mentoring Committees.
His wife, Stephanie, is a nurse at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro. They live in Salisbury’s West Square Historic District.
Hood Theological Seminary, located at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive, sponsored by the AME Zion Church and approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, is a graduate and professional school where intellectual discourse and ministerial preparation occur in tandem within the framework of a community of faith. Its faculty and student body represent a rich diversity of ethnicities, religious denominations, ages and backgrounds. As a theological seminary, it provides for the church an educational community in which Christian maturity and ministerial preparation take place together.