WILMORE, Ky., July 1, 2024The community of Asbury Theological Seminary gathered today for a ceremony in McKenna Chapel welcoming interim president Dr. David Gyertson and honoring the transition of leadership from Dr. Timothy Tennent. This ceremony marked a pivotal moment in Asbury Seminary’s history while underscoring the perseverance of its mission.

The ceremony was emceed by Dr. Ricardo Gomez, a member of the Board of Trustees at the Seminary and a two-time alumnus of the institution. Several faculty and staff members facilitated the program which was attended by the broader Seminary community. The director of the Seminary Singers, Danny Key, led the congregation in singing the traditional favorite hymn of the Seminary community, “And Can It Be.” This was followed by scripture readings from both the Old and New Testaments. 

Dr. Tennent then conducted the passing of the symbols, a traditional ritual in which the items that symbolize the Seminary and its history are presented to the incoming president. These items consist of the presidential medallion and two historical items that belonged to founding president H.C. Morrison: a pocket watch and a Bible. This act represented the peaceful and Spirit-led transfer of the Seminary’s leadership.

Dr. Gyertson then spoke in response, expressing his passion for the mission of Asbury Seminary and articulating his goal to maintain that mission during his interim term. He also expressed his appreciation for Dr. Tennent’s contribution to the legacy of the Seminary and for his focus on the global church during his tenure. He expounded on many of the important factors of a presidential transition and acknowledged the challenges it brings. 

However, he shared from his professional experience about the necessity of a president to be supported by a good team in conjunction with the biblical principle of Holy Spirit-led leadership as modeled in Acts 15:28 in which the apostles declared, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” He then recognized the president’s cabinet and gave specific recognition to Dr. Gregg Okesson, the former Provost who also transitioned from leadership today, and Dr. John Ragsdale, the new interim Provost.

In accordance with this value for a supportive leadership team, Dr. Gyertson invited these leaders to participate with him in receiving prayers of consecration, a sacred moment essential to the welcoming of each new president. Dr. Matt Barnes, Dr. Ellen Marmon, Dr. Jessica LaGrone, and Rev. Darryl Diddle offered prayers as Dr. Gyertson knelt surrounded by his leadership team.

The ceremony concluded with the community being invited to a reception celebrating the momentous occasion.

“I am honored to participate in this ceremony welcoming Dr. David Gyertson as interim president of Asbury Seminary,” said Dr. Gomez. “Each former president who has accepted the torch of leadership has served the seminary faithfully, and I am confident Dr. Gyertson will be no exception.”

To learn more about Dr. Gyertson and his role in Asbury Seminary’s presidential search, please visit asburyseminary.edu/presidential-search/interim-president.