It’s official. I have walked across the stage, stood with the head of the Board of Trustees, shaken his hand, stood for the photo-op, and then joined the others with doctoral hoods now hanging down their backs. I know Karisse, my sister Carol and my Bishop, Michael Vono, are in the congregation clapping and looking proudly at me. I sense in the distance my friends and loved ones at Good Shepherd Church who have just watched me by live-stream. I have already spotted my advisor, sitting with the Faculty at Virginia Theological Seminary, Immanuel Chapel. It’s done. I’m now irrefutably “Dr. Moore.”
But it’s not just me. I am deeply aware of not just those just mentioned, but the others in my cohort group who are not here—yet, and one who, for medical reasons, won’t be. I think of Barbara Brown Taylor, who delivered a phenomenal homily, and whose books have inspired me. I think of my other teachers, and the Rev. Dr. Ross Kane, the DMin program Director, and his predecessor who welcomed me into the program and is also present, the Rev. Dr. David Gortner. At the reception both congratulate me and give me a hug. I think of the authors I have read over the last three and a half years, their scholarship, and sometimes, their lives. I think of the men and women who have studied here since 1823, who have become ministers of the Gospel around the world. And I think of one of my own parishioner’s comment: We own half of this Doctorate!
Indeed, I stand rather small on very tall shoulders, and I am grateful.