Collaboration with Moravian Church’s Southern Province benefits first graduates

by C. Mark Batten, Office of Communications

From left: Victoria Lasley, The Rev. David Guthrie, Angelica Regaldo Cieza

A resolution passed in 2014 within the Moravian Church Southern Province called for exploration of ways for greater collaboration and cooperation with the School of Divinity.

One outcome of this resolution bore fruit for 2017 School of Divinity graduates Victoria Lasley and Angelica Regalado Cieza, who both plan to enter ministry in the Moravian Church.  Lasley and Regaldo Cieza, who were not able to complete residential study at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA, were able to earn a graduate certificate in Moravian Studies, awarded by the seminary, as part of their Master of Divinity studies at Wake Forest. These two students were able to take advantage of recently developed online course offerings at Moravian Theological Seminary in Moravian theology, worship and polity, and history that meet the requirements for ordination candidates in the Moravian Church.

“The mission of Moravian Theological Seminary is ‘centered in Jesus Christ, grounded in Scripture, ecumenical in spirit, committed to community and focused on missional leadership,’” said The Rev. David Guthrie, president of the Provincial Elders’ Conference of the Moravian Church in America Southern Province. “We find that the mission and purpose of the School of Divinity compliments that mission statement very well, and we look forward to continuing to explore avenues of cooperation and partnership for the practical benefit of Moravian students and for greater engagement in the community we share in North Carolina.”

Guthrie was present at the School of Divinity’s Diploma Ceremony on Monday, May 15 to present Lasley and Regalado Cieza their certificates from Moravian Theological Seminary.

“Being located in Winston-Salem, a city so shaped by its Moravian heritage and the rich on-going Moravian presence is already a distinctive strength of ministry education for the School of Divinity,” said School of Divinity Dean Gail R. O’Day. “We are so pleased to see the School of Divinity’s partnerships with the Moravian Church take on this new form and anticipate what this certificate has to offer our students and the congregations of the Southern Province.”

Lasley will be bi-vocational, having accepted a congregational call to Fairview Moravian Church in Winston-Salem and continuing her work as a cosmetologist. Regalado Cieza is on staff at Sunnyside Ministry, a non-profit supported by the Moravian Church Southern Province, in Winston-Salem. There she works with immigrants on developing budgets, debt management strategies, and establishing financial control in their lives.

The resolution is not the first collaborative effort between the Moravian Church and the School of Divinity. Moravian churches around Winston-Salem provide congregational placements for students to complete their Art of Ministry requirements, pastors have participated in the school’s continuing education offerings, and several faculty members have been invited to give presentations at Moravian clergy retreats and monthly meetings.

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