News is added to this site periodically. Please visit regularly for updates.
You also can sign up to receive our quarterly e-newsletter.
News & Events
RPTS HONORED RECORD 23 GRADUATES AT COMMENCEMENT MAY 21 DURING BICENTENNIAL YEAR
(Pittsburgh, Pa.) – June 3, 2010 – The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS) honored a record 23 graduates during its commencement ceremony on Friday, May 21. Fifteen graduates received their three-year master of divinity degrees, six graduates received their two-year master of theological studies degrees, one received her missionary training certificate, and another received her servant of the church certificate.
Dr. Richard Holdeman, a 2005 RPTS alum and president of its board of trustees, was the commencement speaker. Dr. Holdeman is pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Ind., and a lecturer in the department of biology at Indiana University. John Alexander Tabaka gave the response on behalf of the graduating class.
Watch the Commencement Video!
Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Graduates:
Jong-Hak Choi. Jong-Hak is originally from Seoul, Republic of Korea, where he was a teacher. He currently is a member at Mt. Zion Korean Church in Pittsburgh, where he has led a college group and is involved in the worship team. Following graduation, Jong-Hak would like to study missiology, and his primary passion is to serve as a missionary. He resides in Monroeville with his wife, Sunyonny Song, and their son, Timothy.
Jeremy J. Coyer. Jeremy is a member at Westminster Presbyterian Church in America in Butler, Pa., where he also serves as the director of student ministries. He plans to continue to serve the church in this position after graduation, while completing his internship and seeking ordination to the pastoral ministry. He resides in Butler, Pa., with his wife, Katie, and their three children: Hannah (5), Ezekiel (3), and Elizabeth (2).
Ronald Durika. Ronald is a certified lay pastor in the Presbyterian Church USA, and is a member of Derry Presbyterian Church. He currently serves as pastor of the Avonmore Presbyterian Church in Avonmore, Pa., and plans to continue to do so after graduation. He and his wife, Debra, live in Derry, Pa.; they have two grown children.
Robert MacDonald Gray. Robert is a part-time youth intern for First Reformed PCA in Penn Hills, Pa., where his family are also members. He will do a year-long pastoral internship with the church following graduation, and senses a call to the pastoral ministry. Robert resides in Penn Hills, Pa., with his wife, Erin, and their two children: Liza (one year) and Owen (one month).
Ronald Joseph Kunselman. A native of Hawthorn, Pa., Ronald came to the Seminary via Westminster, Colo., where he still is a member of Tri-City Baptist Church. He plans to seek a full-time pastorate after graduation, as well as continue his theological development in post-graduate education.
William R. Matthess. Originally from San Fernando Valley, Calif., William and his family came to RPTS by way of Northern Ireland, where he worked as a computer software engineer. The Matthess family are currently members of College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church in Beaver Falls, Pa., where William did his internship during his seminary training. Following graduation, he is scheduled to serve as a supply preacher in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and be a candidate for the pastoral ministry, as he senses a call to be a pastor. William and his wife, Sarah, live in New Wilmington, Pa., with their family. They have seven children: twins, Benjamin and Joel (26), Peter (20), Owen (17), Ellen (15), David (14), and Jacob (11).
Josphat Weru Mwathi. Josphat came to RPTS from Kenya in 2007, where he was a pastor in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa; he was referred to the seminary by the denomination’s moderator. Upon graduation, Josphat will return to Kenya to again serve as a pastor. He also plans to further his education in a Biblical counseling major. Josphat and his wife, Julia, have two sons: Stephen (5) and Peniel (1), and currently live in Point Breeze.
Anthony J. Platt. Anthony was a pastor for five years before entering seminary. He currently is youth and associate pastor for Trinity Fellowship Church in Youngstown, Ohio. He also serves as the church’s director of addiction and recovery ministry and the director of Christian education and Sunday School, and oversees the youth and young adult programs. Originally from Boardman, Ohio, Anthony lives with his wife, Ellie, in Poland, Ohio; they have a one-year-old son, named Jake.
Jason Ryce. Jason has been involved in youth ministry for twelve years, and served as a youth pastor at Dorseyville Alliance Church for two years. He currently serves as a pastoral intern at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church in Brookline, Pa., where he and his wife are members. Jason feels a call to the Gospel ministry of preaching and teaching. He is exploring a church planting opportunity out west in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA). Originally from Ellwood City, Pa., Jason lives with his wife, Janine, in the North Hills.
John Alexander Tabaka. A native of Upland, Calif., Alex came to RPTS through Rochester, New York, where he earned a degree in jazz and contemporary music performance from the Eastman School of Music. He is a member of College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church, in Beaver Falls, Pa., where he also did his internship and has served as a Sabbath School instructor. His immediate plans after graduation include an internship at an RPCNA church in Colorado Springs, and working toward ordination.
Kihei Takiura. A member of the Okamoto Keiyaku Reformed Presbyterian Church in Kobe, Japan, for which he is under care as a theological student, Kihei plans to be wed to fellow graduate Amelia Ward in June following graduation, and the two will move to Japan the same month. He senses a call to be a pastor, and hopes to help Japanese churches to grow.
Grant E. Van Leuven. Grant has worked for RPTS as director of development and communications, serving the bicentennial campaign begun in 2005 and culminating this year. He has been a part-time student for a decade, and is seeking a pastoral call after graduation. A native of Webster, N.Y., and a graduate of Buffalo State College, Grant lives in Mars, Pa., with his wife Jennifer, and their three children: Rachel (6), Olivia (4), and Abraham (two years next month). They are members of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gibsonia, Pa., where Grant just finished a year-long internship.
Dennis Russell Whalen. Dennis and his family are members of Rehoboth Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baden, Pa., where he has been Sunday School Superintendent, chaired the Youth Board, taught various Bible studies and adult and high school Sabbath School, and organized and helped with Vacation Bible School. He feels called to be a pastor and seminary professor in a conservative Lutheran denomination. Dennis lives with his wife, Julie, in Daughtery Township, Pa., with their six children: Julian (15), Katarina (13), Alexandria (11), Dennis (9), Jocelyn (7), and D’Artagnan (5).
Jeremy Reid Whipkey. Jeremy’s family are members of New Life Presbyterian Church in Harrison, City, Pa., where he also is the senior high youth director. He plans to continue serving the church in this role after graduation, and hopes to become an assistant or associate pastor, eventually leading into a senior pastor role. Jeremy lives in Jeannette, Pa., with his wife, Vanessa, and their two children: Joseph (6), and Carena (2).
Robert Paul Wieland. Robert came to RPTS from Colorado Springs, where he is a member of Springs Reformed Church (RPCNA) and is a student under care. His plans after graduation are to serve in an internship at Eastvale RPCNA in Beaver Falls, Pa., and he then hopes to pastor a church. Living now in Pittsburgh, Robert is a native of Garden City, N.Y.
Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) Graduates:
Whitney Greer Gamble. Whitney came to RPTS through the referral of her father, Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Richard Gamble. She is a member of College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church in Beaver Falls, Pa., where she also teaches the middle school girls’ Sabbath School class. Whitney earned her B.A. in biblical studies with a minor in Japanese from Geneva College, and plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in Old Testament following graduation.
Rachael Anna Johnson. After graduation, Rachael plans to raise support to serve as a two-year missionary in Marseille, France, with Mission to the World. She grew up in Marseille, where her parents were missionaries. Rachael is a member of Providence Presbyterian Church in America in McKees Rocks, Pa., and lives in Aliquippa, Pa. She is an alum of Grove City College.
Yasuko Kanamori. Yasuko is a member of Mukonosou Reformed Presbyterian Church in Amagasaki, Japan. Following graduation, she will work in a counseling internship under Dr. George Scipione at the RPTS Biblical Counseling Institute, and will continue to live near the seminary in Point Breeze, Pa. She is an alum of Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.
Ricky Edward Kortyna. Ricky is a physician’s assistant, and attends Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church in Brookline, Pa., where he also lives with his wife, Deborah. He plans to write books after graduation.
Thomas H. Mitchell, Jr. Thomas learned of RPTS as a student in Geneva College’s Center for Urban Biblical Ministry and Degree Completion Program, both hosted on the seminary campus. He is a member of nearby Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, where he also is pastor of prison ministry. Following graduation, he plans to begin an outreach ministry for ex-offenders, and to teach in the church. Thomas and his wife, Candace, live in Pittsburgh, and will be moving soon to Gibsonia, Pa.; they have three grown children.
Yvette Renée Taylor. Yvette is a member of Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church, where she serves in a number of roles, including youth ministry and teaching Sabbath School. She plans to continue studying after graduation, and aims to open a shelter for women and children who are affected by domestic violence. She lives in East Liberty with her husband, Charles.
Missionary in Training Certificate Graduate:
Amelia Lynn Ward. Amelia grew up in Olathe, Kan., and is a member of Shawnee Reformed Presbyterian Church in Shawnee, where she served as a Sabbath School teacher and on the Christian Education Committee. She worked as a mechanical engineer in Kansas City before coming to seminary. Amelia will marry fellow graduate, Kihei Takiura, and move in June to Japan.
Servant of the Church Certificate Graduate:
Rhonda H. Glass. Rhonda is a member of Central Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, where she also serves with the new members and counseling ministries. She plans to continue counseling, and senses a call on her life to teach, counsel, and role model. Originally from Wilkinsburg, Rhonda lives in Point Breeze, Pa.
Founded in 1810, RPTS is the fifth oldest seminary in the nation, and celebrates its bicentennial in 2010. It offers a conservative, classic Reformed theological education for students coming from the Pittsburgh area and around the world to study the Bible and prepare for the pastorate. Fully accredited, RPTS grants degrees in Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, and a Doctor of Divinity, all offering concentrations in Biblical counseling through the RPTS Biblical Counseling Institute. RPTS also offers programs for a Diploma in Theology, and certificates in Missionary Training and Servant of the Church.
Back to News/Events Page