There are three things that David J. Hailey, senior pastor at Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh, believes graduating Campbell Divinity students should take with them as they begin their theological journey: What they have learned regarding Biblical thought, the friends they have made along the way, and God.
The journey to graduation is long, but it was successful for 51 Campbell Divinity students.
Campbell Divinity conferred 51 degrees from Master of Arts of Christian Ministry, Master of Divinity, and Doctor of Ministry on Friday at Turner Auditorium. Among the graduates was Hailey’s son, David John Hailey Jr.
The senior Hailey emphasized the importance of remembering the journey to a degree in his commencement address, titled “Remember the Long Way.”
“Why would they have you learn Biblical Greek and Hebrew?” he asked. “Why in the world would they have you look deeply into this ancient text and write those long exegesis? Why all of those dead languages, those indecipherable creeds, those dusty and dense tomes? Everything with real value doesn’t start with you. It started a long time ago, long before you or I were born. We stand on their shoulders. They are the lower branches that make it possible for us to climb higher.”
He encouraged the graduates to remember the road and to be mindful of their purpose after graduation.
“What are you going to do? Are you going to be a leader like Moses, a prophet like Amos, an evangelist like Paul or even a wounded healer like Jesus? One thing is for sure. Whatever you do and wherever you go, you will be walking on the foundation that someone else has laid. Remember that.”
Divinity Dean Andy Wakefield thanked the 51 graduates for choosing Campbell to help guide them in their calling.
“Graduates, thank you for allowing us the privilege of walking with you in your journey of obedience to God’s calling,” he said. “Thank you for sharing your gifts and your talents with us. Thank you for being Christ-centered, Bible-based, and ministry-focused graduates of this divinity school. We congratulate you on earning your degrees and we are so proud of each and every one of you.”
Each graduate selected a family member or friend related to ministry to hand them their hood, a new addition to the ceremony. The hymn “Lord, Here Am I” finished the ceremony, connecting to the theme of consecration to the ministry. The evening finished with a reception in Taylor Hall immediately following.