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California Episcopal seminary awards honorary degrees, dedicates new guest house
Presiding Bishop-elect honored at dedication

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

The Rev. Dr. Katherine Lehman, left, Margaret Sipple, the Rev. Dr. Peter Sipple and the Very Rev. Cynthia Black received honorary degrees October 12 from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific during its annual Alum Convocation.  

California Bishop Marc Andrus, assisted by Church Divinity School of the Pacific seminarian Michael Reid, asperges participants October 12 in dedication and blessing of the Episcopal seminary’s renovated Easton Hall guest house and meeting facility.  

[Episcopal News Service]  The Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) awarded Doctor of Divinity degrees, honoris causa, to the Revs. Cynthia Black, Katherine Lehman, and Peter Sipple, and the degree of Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, to Margaret Sipple during the Episcopal seminary's annual alumni/ae convocation October 12.

California Bishop Marc Andrus presided at the Eucharist during which the degrees were conferred. Dr. Donn F. Morgan, CDSP dean and president, was the preacher.

The Eucharist concluded with a procession to Easton Hall, the building on CDSP's Berkeley, California, campus which has recently been renovated for use as a guest house and meeting facility. During the dedication, it was announced that the building's great hall will be known as the Katharine Jefferts Schori Great Hall.

Jefferts Schori, currently the bishop of the Diocese of Nevada and the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop-elect, received a Masters of Divinity degree from CDSP in 1994 and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 2001. CDSP has collected more than $545,000 in capital campaign contributions designated for the Great Hall naming.

Black, the dean and rector of the Diocese of Western Michigan's Christ Church Cathedral in Kalamazoo, received a Master of Divinity degree from CDSP in 1985 and began her ordained ministry in the Diocese of Newark. She recently completed a six-year term on the Executive Council, the elected group of clergy and laity that carries out programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, and oversees the ministry and mission of the Episcopal Church. Black has been elected a deputy or alternate deputy to all six General Conventions since 1991. She has also been active in the Episcopal Church's exploration of new liturgies.

Lehman, rector of St. Bede's Episcopal Church in Menlo Park, California, received a Master of Divinity degree from CDSP in 1982 and a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1999. Her ministry has been marked by her knowledge of the arts' power to foster, shape and reflect people's expression of faith. Her Doctor of Ministry project concerned her sense that the church needs to find new language and media to reach out to people who have been alienated by Christianity or find it unrelated to their world. She has also mentored many seminarians and lay ministers. Lehman is dedicated to the continuing Anglican movement for the ordination of women.

Margaret Sipple, who received a Master of Arts degree in 1969 from the Graduate Theological Union with CDSP as her home school, has long had a ministry dedicated to the education of young people and the education and training of people for Christian service. Most recently, she has been the Canon of Education and Training in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, coordinator for the Christian Education Colloquium of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and program missioner for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Sipple was also involved in the Episcopal Model Diocese Project for Children's Ministries which helped create the “Children's Charter for the Church,” adopted by General Convention in 1997.

Peter Sipple, who also received a Master of Divinity degree in 1969, has been the headmaster of three independent schools, including Oregon Episcopal School in Portland. He has been involved in various independent school associations and has taught education methods at Wellesley College. Sipple and his wife Margaret are choral musicians who offered that ministry all over the country. He is currently the rector of Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

CDSP's Alum Convocation honorary degrees recognize CDSP graduates, lay and ordained, whose ministry enlivens congregations, the church and the world.
Degree recipients have made a significant contribution to the growth of the church, understanding of the faith, interfaith dialogue, the arts and/or the spread of God's mercy and justice in the world.