Pamela Ebstyne King, PhD, was installed into the Peter L. Benson Chair of Applied Developmental Science on Thursday, May 5, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
Participants in the service included Migum Gweon, director of clinical training for Marriage and Family and instructor in Marriage and Family (prelude pianist); Dean of Chapel and Spiritual Formation and Assistant Professor of Psychology Laura Robinson Harbert; President Mark Labberton; Associate Professor of Psychology Cynthia Eriksson; Professor of Historical Theology and Gaylen and Susan Byker Professor of Reformed Theology John Thompson and George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament Marianne Meye Thompson (reading OT Scripture); Rev. Cynthia King-Guffey and Evelyn and Frank Freed Professor of Marital and Family Therapy James L. Furrow (reading NT Scripture); SOP Dean Emeritus Winston Gooden.
In addition, Provost C. Douglas McConnell delivered the charge to the candidate; Trustee Chair Clifford L. Penner performed the formal installation; and School of Psychology Dean Mari Clements led the prayer of dedication, during which many other faculty gathered around and laid hands on Pamela King.
The service explicitly affirmed young people and their contributions with the choice of young musicians to lead worship: Heather Thomsen, director of worship, First Presbyterian Winston-Salem; Annalise Reyes, pianist; Janice Peters, percussionist; and Annali Murray, violinist. Along with these talented young leaders were vocalists and musicians of the Knox Presbyterian Church Youth Band: Noah Erikson, Sophia Jones, Grace Peacore, and Jonathan Yee.
The installation address “An Invitation to Thrive”
- recalled Peter Benson’s tremendous impact—providing a hopeful vision for all young people. He might have encouraged kids to find their spark and adults around them to ignite it—but Peter himself was “a walking blowtorch!”;
- quoted her own high school graduation speech from 1986 on spiritual life purposes: King feared she hadn’t had a new thought in 30 years, and was grateful for the reframe by her post-doc mentor, Bill Damon, who said, “we call that identity coherence” ;
- reflected on thriving as an invitation and response, a dynamic interaction between Creator and created;
- pointed out that thriving is not a destination, but it does have a direction, a goal, a telos: God’s purposes for humanity.
Her address fleshed out this invitation to thrive by explaining how she understands this goal for humankind in 3 ways:
- Conformity to likeness of the image of God in Christ.
- Uniqueness: conformity to Christ does not mean uniformity: “An element of our telos is to be and become more fully the unique person that God created us to be.”
- Relatedness: “God created us to be in relationship—with God, humankind, and his creation. . . . As I have been known to say, he created us to become reciprocating selves, . . . fully formed or forming individuals in full relationship with God, humans, and creation.”
A reception followed the service and a luncheon for invited guests further honored newly installed Peter L. Benson Associate Professor of Applied Developmental Science Pamela Ebstyne King.
For photos from the reception and luncheon, as well as more photos of the service, see “Congratulations Pam King!”