Update: Hood commencement to feature Matthew Sleeth

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 15, 2016

UPDATE: Due to expected showers and storms, Hood Seminary will move its commencement to Varick Auditorium on the Livingstone College campus. The time has not changed.

The honors awards and closing convocation on Friday at 7 will also take place at Varick Auditorium. Other events will be held at the Hood campus as planned.


Dr. Matthew Sleeth will deliver the address at Hood Theological Seminary’s 15th commencement on Saturday, May 21, at 10:30 a.m. on the seminary campus.

“Dr. Matthew Sleeth is a passionate advocate for the care of the earth,” said Hood President Dr. Vergel Lattimore. “His life is a demonstration that genuine faith involves collective action. Each of us is responsible for leaving our segment of the world better than we found it. Each new relationship and each new day gives us an opportunity to practice richer life engagement.”

Sleeth is executive director of Blessed Earth, an educational non-profit organization that inspires and equips people of faith to become better stewards of the earth.

He is a graduate of West Virginia University, in Morgantown, W.Va., and George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C., and has two postdoctoral fellowships. A former emergency room physician, he experienced a religious awakening and resigned from his position as chief of the medical staff and director of the emergency room at a hospital in Maine to teach, preach and write about faith and the environment.

He founded Blessed Earth in 2008 with the mission of inspiring faithful stewardship of all creation. Since then, he has become a highly sought-after speaker and has spoken at more than 1,000 churches and schools across the country, including The Washington National Cathedral, where he was the monthly speaker during the Cathedral’s Creation Care series in 2012.

In 2012, Sleeth and Blessed Earth launched The Seminary Stewardship Alliance (SSA), a consortium of schools dedicated to reconnecting Christians with the biblical call to care for God’s creation. The SSA now has more than 40 member schools, including Hood Seminary.

In 2015, the first state chapter of Blessed Earth was formed, as well as the first regional office. Thousands of churches and schools around the world now use Blessed Earth’s curricula to inspire faithful stewardship of all creation.

Sleeth is the author of “Serve God and Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action” (Zondervan, 2007), the introduction to the “Green Bible” (HarperOne, 2008), “The Gospel According to the Earth: Why the Good Book is a Green Book” (HarperOne, 2010).

In his most recent book, “24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life,” he describes our symptoms, clarifies the signs, diagnoses the illness, and lays out a simple plan for living a healthier, more God-centered life in a digitally-dazed, always-on world.

Newsweek and Christianity Today have listed Sleeth and his wife Nancy among the top 50 Christian leaders in America.

Blessed Earth is based in Lexington, Ky., where the Sleeths live near their grown children who serve with their spouses in missions and ministry.

Events leading up to graduation begin on Thursday evening, May 19, with the Twelfth Annual Bishop James Walker Hood Donor Recognition Dinner. A traditional part of this event is the presentation of the Bishop’s Award, which pays tribute to individuals, couples or organizations who have made significant contributions to Hood, the community and to humankind.

A new event this year is the Milestone Luncheon on Friday, May 20, which is a reunion of alumni who graduated five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years ago. Those from the older classes recall their graduation from Hood Seminary when it was part of Livingstone College before the seminary became independent in 2002.

Another traditional event is the Senior Barbecue, which is to honor the graduates, including those from the Greenville, Ala., campus, and their families. This will be held in the Aymer Center on Friday, May 20, at 4 p.m.

Also on Friday, the Honors Awards and Closing Convocation will begin at 7 p.m., and will be held under large tents on Wallace Plaza in front of the Aymer Center. Charlene Sinclair, visiting lecturer of Christian ethics, is the speaker for the convocation. This program begins with an academic procession of the graduates and the faculty. During the ceremony, graduates will be hooded in preparation for their graduation the following morning and honors and awards will be presented.

On Saturday, May 21, at 8:15 a.m., 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, celebrated by Lattimore.