2016 Graduates with Pres. Hart
2016 Graduates with Pres. Hart

IWS celebrated its largest graduating class—46 (29 D.W.S. and 17 M.W.S.)—at our 15th Commencement Service on Sunday, June 12, 2016, at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. IWS has conferred 493 degrees to 473 students. 20 persons have received both M.W.S. and D.W.S. degrees.

The Commencement sermon was delivered by the Rev’d Dr. Dennis Andrews, CDR, USN, Command Chaplain at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville. Darla Robinson (D.W.S. 2016) presented the OT reading (Is 6:1-8) accompanied by the IWS Festival Choir. See the Commencement bulletin. A DVD of the entire Commencement service is also available.

Click on the photos below to see the full-size version. For additional photos of Commencement and the graduates, follow this link: 2016 Graduates Photo Gallery.

Imagine hearing Robert Webber address the graduating class! Well, here are two such addresses—one to the Alpha class at the first Commencement service in June 2002 and one to the fourth graduating class in June 2005. Every graduate will want to hear his inspiring words! Bob was a firm believer in short commencement addresses. True to form, both of these addresses are under 10 minutes!

Commencement Address, Robert Webber (2002)

“God is not calling you to greatness, but to faithfulness and servanthood. . . . Find yourself by losing yourself in the mission of God to rescue and save the entire created order” (Robert Webber, 2002). [Download, 9:30]

Commencement Address, Robert Webber (2005)

“Worship is an embodied life, living in obedience to God” (Robert Webber, 2005). [Download, 9:29]

FIRSTHAND: From Our 2016 Graduates


Brad Bradford
, D.W.S. (Delta 2, 2016 )
Worship Pastor, Shalimar United Methodist Church, Shalimar, FL

Dr. Brad BradfordWhile attending IWS, we were frequently asked, “How is the DWS program contributing to your personal and spiritual growth?” As a result of this program, I have a deeper appreciation for my brothers and sisters in other faith traditions. Prior to IWS, my ministry experience for 30 years was in Southern Baptist churches. Working with my cohort at IWS allowed me to see God’s work in and through every aspect of the family of faith, and to appreciate so many different expressions and nationalities as we learned and worked together. The demands of the program helped me grow spiritually into a deeper life of discipleship. Studying worship allowed me to grow in my worship life which continues to form me as a follower of Christ.

Karen Hetrick, D.W.S. (Epsilon 2, 2016)
Director of Music Ministries, Mt. Auburn United Methodist Church, Greenwood, IN

In June 2014, Chaplain Darrell Harris introduced the IWS community to a chapel series on “The Ruinous Work of Pentecost.” During the final chapel service, he told us, “I hope it has been a ruinous week for you.” Dr. Karen HetrickIt was indeed, as were all the sessions which comprised my time in the D.W.S. program. The IWS experience has ruined me. I will never see worship the same, both as a participant and a leader, including how I receive and present Scripture. Professors ruined my previously limited capacity for worship with the richness of the divine narrative and its applications. My classmates have showered me with a ruinous abundance of grace. A colleague recently told me, “You have ruined worship for the rest of us.” I took that statement as the compliment she meant it to be. I eagerly anticipate the continued ruinous work of the Holy Spirit within me and through me in this ministry of worship.

LaVerne Kumeh, M.W.S. (Pe, 2016)

LaVerne KumehRecently, I was appointed to my church’s newly-formed Worship Leaders Team.  We are using The Worship Architect by Dr. Cherry as an anchor for our discussions.  The team’s charge is to review current worship practices, recommend changes and plan future services.  No doubt, this appointment is a result of my IWS experience, which culminated in a multicultural worship service I planned  as part of my internship. IWS shaped me to be a knowledgeable contributor to my church’s worship discussions and an effective planner for our services.