Virginia Theological Seminary Marks its Historic Bicentenary

Date: September 29, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va., September 26, 2023 – Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) will mark its Historic Bicentenary with a series of worship services, lectures, and activities as it reflects on its journey over the past 200 years.

The program of events will run from Wednesday, October 11 to Saturday, October 14, culminating with a Festive Eucharist at which The Most Reverend Dr. Hosam E. Naoum, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Primate and President Bishop, The Province of Jerusalem & the Middle East, will be celebrant.

Events will begin on Wednesday, October 11 with a symposium to mark the 20th Anniversary of the African American Episcopal Historical Collection, a joint project between VTS’ Bishop Payne Library and the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church. Thursday, October 12 will have an alumni focus, as well as a book launch and a keynote address by The Rt. Rev. Renta Nishihara, Ph.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Chubu, and President of Rikkyo University, which grew out of a private school founded by VTS alum The Rt. Rev. Channing Moore Williams.

Friday, October 13 will feature a forum with renowned artist Leo Franklin Twiggs, Ph.D., a Conversation with Archbishop Hosam Naoum ’11, ’20, (H) ’22, and a Gala Dinner. There will also be activities for children, and a “Paws to Pray” pet-friendly service. Events will conclude on Saturday, October 14 with a Festive Eucharist and brunch.

Throughout the four days there will be daily worship services, campus tours, and other activities. Many events will be live streamed through VTS’ YouTube page.

Rather than a celebration, VTS sees its Historic Bicentenary as an opportunity to think about both the positive and negative aspects of its history. A key part of this reflection has been the creation of a Reparations Program to make payments to the descendants of Black people, both enslaved and free, who labored at VTS and were not compensated, or were not compensated fairly for their labor. The program is part of the Seminary’s commitment to recognizing the racism in its past and working toward healing and justice in the future.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D, Dean and President of VTS, said: “Our Historic Bicentenary is a moment of reflection, a pause, and some appropriate recognition of the journey of our 200 years. We seek to tell the complete story of our past, our flaws as well as our faithfulness, our sin as well as grace. We also reflect on the changing nature of the Church as we prepare to serve its needs in the future. Do join us at our Saturday morning service and other events.”

The program this October is the culmination of a series of events and initiatives at VTS to mark its 200 years. Other activities to mark the Historic Bicentenary have included the commissioning of music, poetry and a play, the preaching of 200 sermons, pilgrimages, and a series of lectures and concerts.

A Bicentennial Campaign also raised more than $60 million, which has been used to increased funding for student scholarships and endowed professorships, expand lifelong education programs, and renovate a number of buildings on campus, including Bicentenary Hall, Addison Academic Center, and the Bishop Payne Library, as the Seminary positions itself for its next 100 years.

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries, please contact Nicky Burridge, Vice President for Communications at VTS.
Tel: (703) 461-1782

Mobile: (703) 300-2876

About Virginia Theological Seminary:

Virginia Theological Seminary was founded in 1823 by St. Paul’s Church in Alexandria, Virginia. It is the strongest seminary in the Anglican Communion and has a long tradition of shaping faithful women and men, lay and ordained, for leadership in The Episcopal Church and beyond. The seminary provides more than 25 percent of the clergy of The Episcopal Church.



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