At its 190th Commencement ceremonies, The General Theological Seminary conferred honorary doctorates on the Most Rev. Martín Barahona, Bishop of El Salvador; David Booth Beers, Esq., Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop; the Rev. Canon Carl Gerdau, distinguished church leader; and the Rev. Dr. Richard Pfaff, Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina.
The Most Rev. Martín Barahona, is Bishop of El Salvador and the former Anglican Primate of Central America. Consecrated in 1992, he has served as a leader in growing the vibrant parish life of the diocese and has been an historic advocate for the rights of women, LGBT persons and those in economic distress. He has served as president of El Salvador’s National Council of Churches and enjoys broad ecumenical respect, having formed deep bonds with his colleagues, especially the Lutheran Bishop of El Salvador. Despite an assassination attempt in 2010, Bishop Barahona remains deeply committed to his ministry and his people. He stated shortly after the attempt on his life, “I have learned several things from this, that I love my people more and more, I won’t stop being a bishop, and I love God.”
David Booth Beers, Esq. is a noted attorney and Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop. He is of counsel to the law firm Goodwin Proctor where he has an extensive national and international practice in the non-profit sector. He has led the legal effort of the Episcopal Church to safe guard the rights and property of the church, dioceses and parishes from the plans of those who have broken away from the church and yet attempted to take church property with them. He has worked closely for many years with the Church History faculty of the Seminary in his support of the church and enjoys wide and deep respect. He is an active layman in St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Washington.
The Rev. Canon Carl Gerdau has served as canon to two Presiding Bishops, having served the Most Rev. Frank Griswold in his tenure and the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori during her transition into office. He has a particular interest and expertise in seminary education, and served as Chair of the Board of Bexley Hall Seminary. Having served the Church Pension Fund and numerous boards and committees during some of the most challenging times, he is an extraordinary leader and example for the Seminary’s students.
The Rev. Dr. Richard Pfaff is Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina. A deeply accomplished scholar, his research and teaching interests center on the ecclesiastical, cultural and historical aspects of medieval England. Widely published and respected, he has focused on liturgical manuscripts and monastic scriptoria, architecture, hagiography and the Church Fathers. Having devoted four decades to the study the study of medieval liturgy, his landmark work, The Liturgy in Medieval England: A History, was published in 2009 by Cambridge University Press. Equally noteworthy was his 1970 study, New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England. Dr. Pfaff is a 1966 alumnus of GTS.