Bishop Hope Morgan Ward to speak at Hood Seminary’s opening oonvocation
SALISBURY — Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, resident bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, will be the speaker for the opening convocation at Hood Theological Seminary at 6 p.m. Friday.
The convocation is open to the public in the Albert J.D. Aymer Center on campus.
The service marks the beginning of the academic year and is a time when the seminary community joins together asking God’s guidance throughout the coming year. New students sign their names to a document – The Book of Lambs — that serves as a part of the historical record of the seminary.
Following her sermon, Ward will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. She was unable to attend commencement last May to receive this honor.
Ward was educated at Duke University, receiving a bachelor of arts degree in English and religion and a master of divinity degree. She discovered a love for ministry and mission as director of youth and missions at Fairmont United Methodist Church in Raleigh.
She and her spouse, Mike, met on a mission trip to Bolivia in 1975 and married in 1977. They served together as teaching parents at the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh where she was chaplain, leading worship on the residential campus. Regular mission engagement has been a part of her life, serving with her husband and children in the development of local and national mission initiatives and international mission partnerships.
In 1997, she was appointed director of Connectional Ministries of the N.C. Conference, leading the conference through restructuring, mission development and extended recovery after major storms such as Hurricane Floyd in 1999. She was superintendent of the Raleigh district at the time of her election to the episcopacy in 2004. She served the Mississippi area for eight years and was assigned to the Raleigh area in 2012.
Ward was president of the general board of Global Ministries and of JustPeace, which is the Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation of the United Methodist Church. She is now on the General Board of Church and Society and is the bishop assigned for oversight of the Vietnam Mission Initiative.
Hood Theological Seminary, at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive in Salisbury, is a graduate and professional school sponsored by the AME Zion Church and approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Its student body comprises people from many denominations. As a theological seminary, it provides for the church and the world an educational community in which Christian maturity and ministerial preparation take place together.