New Day Herald

Peace Theological Seminary’s Master and Doctor of Spiritual Science Graduation 2010

Dr. John-Roger congratulates DSS Grad Wendy Kunkel
Dr. John-Roger congratulates DSS Grad Wendy Kunkel

A stage decorated with evergreen bushes and trees festooned with red berries, against an emerald-green backdrop, provided a beautiful and harmonious setting for this year’s Peace Theological Seminary graduation ceremony. The 34 Masters of Spiritual Science (MSS) candidates were already waiting in rows alongside an enthusiastic audience when Dr. John Morton, Dr. Paul Kaye, the faculty and a dozen Doctor of Spiritual Science (DSS) candidates processed from the back of the hall in their splendid Doctoral attire. Dr. John-Roger, founder of PTS, took his place on stage, watching the processional.

Dr. Paul Kaye then took the stage, called in the Light and proudly welcomed us to the ceremony. He started with a couple of quips, and I could sense that the audience was wondering if it was going to be one of those Paul Kaye speeches (the kind where we’re all howling on the floor by the end), but he masterfully reined us in and then focused on the occasion. This year was a first in many respects — the first time an MSS class graduated having been held entirely online (from Edmonton, Alberta), or in Spanish (Los Angeles), and the first time the Masters has been held in Portuguese (Rio de Janeiro).

Next, the Masters candidates each took their turn to walk across the stage, receive a hug from Dr. John Morton, a handshake from Dr. John-Roger, and their degree certificate. I was sitting by the exit from the stage, and could see how blown open each beautiful Soul was by the blast of Light from the experience. I understood once again why there is an elaborate network of assistants positioned perfectly around the ballroom to redirect them to their seats afterwards.

Paul then reappeared to update us on events in the DSS world — the first class in Boulder, Colorado just completed year 1 of the Doctoral program, facilitated by the fabulous Dr. Deborah Martinez. And, the DSS is alive and well with ongoing classes in Philadelphia and L.A. Starting next February, there will also be a DSS class in Australia for the first time. Wow, PTS, kudos to you!

We were then reminded that, despite the pomp and circumstance and the dashing robes (which shone vividly against the red and green backdrop), this was first and foremost a sacred occasion. Paul shared that every time he puts on the Doctoral robes, he feels called to be the best that he can be. He also admitted, “ I wanted a tam badly,” ever since he first saw one as a child, on the front cover of “Magister Ludi” by Hermann Hesse. Dr. Liz Bixby, Academic Dean of PTS, and Dr. Pauli Sanderson then explained the particular significance of the gown and the colors of the hood, a gorgeous rainbow of colors.

Paul then emphasized that Doctoral candidates have thoroughly proven themselves to be spiritual scientists. In the Individual Study, they have made a practice of observing what is, recording it, and then allowing the data to tell them what is happening, and in the Repeatability Study, they have presented the core of their work and tested it with others to see whether it was repeatable material. As someone who has just completed the Third Year and is launching into writing up the Practical Treatise, I appreciated Paul’s succinct explanation, which went straight to the heart of what we do. I am also aware of the tenacity and courage that it takes to keep engaging with this work, and heartily acknowledge the graduates.

Each graduate then took the stage, knelt to be hooded by John Morton, accepted their degree certificate and shook J-R’s hand. J-R’s face was wreathed in smiles as he took time with each person. When Maria Teresa Kelber walked across the stage, her young son Max joined her, helped John to place the Doctoral hood his mother, and then received his own special J-R hug, which melted my heart. The final candidate, Diana Spirithawk, was in a wheelchair and was not able therefore to go up on stage and approach J-R, but she turned to face him and I had a powerful sense of the loving that passed between them.

Afterwards, John Morton was invited to speak. He emphasized that the DSS was a place where you can stand up in the truth of who you are and let go of anything that is not the truth of who you are. It’s sacred, magnificent and powerful work, where you can claim your future and consider that you are released from your past. When the ceremony was over, I left feeling invigorated and inspired, and above all grateful for this School that we are in, and the blessings we receive by choosing back.

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