The Concordia Theological Seminary Commencement Service 2017 was held at the Ananda Mahal Conference Centre, Nagercoil on Sunday 12th March 2017 at 4:30 pm. It was a day of great celebration and thanksgiving for the India Evangelical Lutheran Church, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (our sister church), and Concordia Theological Seminary, Nagercoil. The highlight of the commencement service was the graduation of thirty five students, felicitation for the outgoing principal Rev. Dr. D Monikaraj and the installation of the new principal Rev. Dr. D. Christudas.
Various dignitaries were present for this occasion, including Rev. Roger B. James (Area Director, South Asia, LCMS), Rev. S Raja Gambeeram (President, IELC), Rev. Y. Sukumaran (Vice President, IELC), Rev. R. Vijayakumar (General Treasurer, IELC), Mr. V.V. Jayasingh (Comptroller, IELC), Mr. Y. Yovel (Secretary, IELC TA), Mr. Ravi Jesuspadam (LCMS India coordinator), Rev. C. Chrispus (President, Trivandrum Synod), Rev. M Wilson (President, Nagercoil Synod), Church Council Members , BPLT members, Circle Presidents from respective Synods, Mr. Theodore Sam (legal advisor) and pastors from three synods. The Chief Guest and the Preacher for the Commencement Service was Rev. Dr. Edward A. Naumann (Theological Educator to South Asia, LCMS). The principal, Rev. Dr. D. Monikaraj duly welcomed and introduced the dignitaries to the assembly. More than one thousand two hundred people attended this commencement ceremony.
The commencement service started with a graduating student’s procession led by the Principal, Faculty and the Dignitaries. The president Rev. S. Rajagamberam led the assembly in the opening prayer, the various parts of the service was led by the faculty of the Concordia Theological Seminary, and the Seminary Choir led the congregation in singing.
The Rev. Dr. D. Monikaraj presented the Principal’s Report for the academic year 2016-2017. He highlighted various activities conducted during the academic year and thanked the LCMS, IELC Administration, the BPLT, Faculty, Students, Parents and sponsors for their support towards the smooth functioning of the Seminary.
The Rev. Dr. Edward A. Naumann preached a fitting Commencement Sermon on “Shepherd and the Under-Shepherd.” He reminded that the flock is God’s flock and we are the voice of the Shepherd. The new graduates are called to be the under shepherds of the chief Shepherd, who is Jesus the Christ.
The Principal presented the Graduates and President Gambeeram issued the College Diploma’s to the graduating students. We praise God for our thirty five graduating students who are going to be pastors and leaders of God’s church in various parts of India.
In appreciation towards Rev. Dr. D. Monikaraj’s four decades of service to the church, President Gambeeram led a felicitation ceremony. Rev. Roger B. James, brought greetings and appreciation from LCMS during this occasion and honored him with a Shawl. President Gambeeram felicitated the outgoing principal and the vice president Rev. Y. Sukumaran and General Treasurer Rev. R. Vijayakumar honored him with a shawl and a gold ring respectively. Later Rev. D. Monikaraj thanked the LCMS and the IELC for their kind gesture and for all the support he received from them during his leadership tenure.
Every organization’s good future depends on the smooth transition of office. So an important part of this year’s commencement service was the installation of the new principal Rev. Dr. D. Christudas. President Gambeeram after announcing the decision of the BPLT and the approval of Church Council, invited the principal elect for Installation. Following, Rev. Dr. D. Christudas was installed as the next principal of the Concordia Theological Seminary by the President of IELC Rev. Rajgambeeram in the presence of Rev. Roger B. James (Area Director, South Asia, LCMS), Rev. Dr. Edward A. Naumann (Theological Educator to South Asia, LCMS), IELC and BPLT office bears present, Faculty at CTSN, Presidents of respective synods present. The new principal then thanked the assembly, for the faith and trust bestowed onto him by the LCMS, IELC and the CTSN. He earnestly requested every one’s prayer towards him and his new responsibility.
Rev. P.R Selvaraj (faculty secretary) proposed a formal vote of thanks and the commencement service concluded with a closing prayer and Benediction by Rev. Roger B. James.
At this time, we as the members of the Concordia Theological Seminary, Nagercoil want to record our sincere gratitude to our LCMS leaders, Rev. Dr. Mathew Harrison (President, LCMS), Mr. Darin Storkson (Senior Director, LCMS), Rev. Roger B. James, Rev. Dr. Edward A. Naumann for all their sincere wishes and support towards our seminary. We remain grateful towards the sacrifice made by LCMS missionaries towards planting and establishing this seminary in India. We also thank the IELC, BPLT, Synod leaders, pastors and the congregation for their support towards this institution. Finally we congratulate all the graduated students and their families, the outgoing principal and the new principal of this institution. May Glory and Honor to God alone. Amen.
Rev. C Justin Raj