The Sacred Convocation
The Sacred Convocation takes place at the end of the academic year, usually on the last Friday of May (depending on the calendar). The Sacred Convocation combines into one service, events which used to be divided into three parts. It marks the completion of what is known as the “holy circle,” in which candidates who were given to the seminary by the church to prepare them for service, have completed their education and are now given back to the church for service to the people of God.
In keeping with the festive occasion, the faculty and the candidates for degrees are robed in academic regalia. The academic gown dates back to the twelfth century. While it may have been worn originally as protection against the cold of unheated buildings, it has come to symbolize levels of academic scholarship with variations in sleeves and decorations representing degree levels.
The academic cap symbolizes the dignity and freedom of scholarship. The mortarboard (a square cap) represents a book. Tassel colours may vary according to the wearer’s major area of study, e.g. scarlet for theology. Gold bullion tassels indicate a doctor’s degree.
The academic hood varies in both size and colour. The larger the hood the more advanced the degree. The colours of the silk lining of the hood are the colours of the institution granting the degree. The hood of Concordia Lutheran Seminary is lined with gold and blue, the school colours. The colour of the velvet edging indicates the academic discipline in which the degree has been earned. The colour for the discipline of theology is scarlet; the colour for the discipline of philosophy is dark blue.
After a service of praise and of hearing the word of God, candidates for vicarage (which normally takes place as the third year of the four-year program of pastoral preparation) are presented to receive their assignments to a congregation of Lutheran ChurchCanada. These candidates will spend a year under the supervision of an LCC pastor gaining hands-on experience in ministry.
The convocation continues with the granting of degrees. Those entering the ministry receive the degree of Master of Divinity, indicating that they have completed their academic preparation for the holy ministry. This is then followed by the granting of the Theological Diploma, which states that the candidate has been certified for the holy ministry (which includes personal as well as academic suitability). Immediately after receiving the theological diploma, the candidate receives his first call into the holy ministry, thus completing the “holy circle.”