Supporters Gather at San Marino Church

Thank you and Informational Luncheon

New Southern California Seminary hosted a festive luncheon attended by more than 100 persons on May 23 at the San Marino Community Church. The event offered an opportunity to say thank you to friends who have supported this new venture during its first year as well as introduce new friends to the vision and plans for the coming year. Host pastor Jeff O’Grady brought greetings from his partner congregation. Lynn Cheney, Senior Pastor of the Westwood Presbyterian Church, also a partner congregation, offered a timely invocation. During lunch Ron White encouraged each of the fourteen tables to exchange ideas and question about the new seminary in conversations convened by members of the Steering Committee.

After lunch, Coordinator Dave Tomlinson offered “A New Southern California Update.” He spoke about the almost completed process of incorporation as well as talks with the Association of Theological Schools held here on April 30. He pointed everyone to the information table staffed by Edmundo and Jane Vasquez for updates on the Lay Academy, Finances, etc. He informed us that our new offices at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church are now up and running.

A highlight of the luncheon was the address by George Abdo: “A New Seminary…You Say?” Abdo has served in the Senior Administration of USC, as Vice-President of Development of the Huntington Library, and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of San Francisco Theological Seminary. In his address he described the ascendancy of Los Angeles as the primary city in California by the end of the World War II and asked the question: did the Presbyterian Church make a mistake by not seizing this new day and establishing a Presbyterian Seminary in Southern California? Expositing key points from our Vision Statement, in an address both informational and inspirational, he asked if this is not the day to establish a new seminary. [All or part of Abdo’s address will become available on our website.] In concluding, he encouraged that those present to give prayerful consideration to supporting the idea of a new seminary with the resources to turn this vision into a reality.

The Reverend Charles Marks, Interim Pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, and Chaplain of the seminary, offered a stirring benediction. People lingered long in conversations when the event officially concluded at 1:30 p.m.