Celebrating Solid Foundations

by Jody Godoy '05

On Wednesday, October 29, APU's Haggard School of Theology (HST) celebrated the heritage and future of theological education. The event was attended by APU students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members and leaders of local ministries. The event featured 25 workshops addressing specific topics in ministry and theology, a commissioning ceremony, and lunch with keynote speaker Leith Anderson.

The celebration was an opportunity for everyone involved with HST to acquaint themselves with the history of the school and the tradition in which it stands. The event marked the 20th year since the HST's inception in 1983, a time in which it has grown to an enrollment of more than 700 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

As a part of the celebration, Kevin W. Mannoia, Ph.D., dean of HST, unveiled art to be placed in the John and Marilyn Duke Academic Complex, which is home to most of the HST's activity. The art included a bronze statue of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, as well as seven original oil paintings of influential church founders and denominational leaders. Mannoia said that acknowledging those who laid the foundation for the HST "secures our identity, and thereby empowers our future mission."

The event not only celebrated the past, but facilitated the continuation of ministry and scholarship. "[The HST] exists for the health and vitality of the church in Southern California," said APU's President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, about the launch of the Partners in Ministry Program, which makes APU resources available to local churches, ministries, and pastors. The event also inaugurated a new alumni association for HST master's and doctoral graduates.

The many workshops offered dialogue about the present state of theology and ministry. One featured Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California. Willard spoke on spiritual formation, the question of "how do you produce good people?" which he said has been neglected in modern philosophy.

Celebrating past tradition, establishing current relationships, and exploring present ideas, laid a strong foundation for HST's future. At the end of the ceremony, the dean and faculty of the HST were commissioned to uphold the school's vision, and participants were called to pray for its future. "Let no distraction keep us from declaring the transformative power of Your Word," prayed Mannoia.