Felix Theonugraha to Lead Western Theological Seminary

Date Posted: 
Monday, March 11, 2019
Felix-Theonugraha, 12th president of Western Seminary

Dr. Felix Theonugraha has been appointed the 12th president of Western Theological Seminary (WTS) in Holland, Michigan, one of two seminaries affiliated with the Reformed Church in America.

“I’m very excited for the appointment of Dr. Felix Theonugraha as the next president of Western Theological Seminary,” says RCA general secretary Eddy Alemán, who served on the search committee.

“His love for the gospel, his passion to equip women and men for the work of ministry, his capable administrative skills, and his long-term commitment to the RCA make him the ideal candidate to lead WTS into the future.”

Theonugraha’s journey to Holland started in Indonesia, where he was born. Due to his father’s work as a pastor, the family moved to Taiwan when Theonugraha was nine, then to Central California when he was 12. Around the time he left for college, his father took a call with an RCA church, which was Theonugraha’s first exposure to the denomination. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (B.A.) and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.Div., Ph.D.).

About the time he was graduating from seminary, his father was going through a difficult season in ministry. The classis of which they were a part surrounded them with care and concern, and that struck Theonugraha.

“If I’m going to be ordained in a denomination,” said Theonugraha in a video interview for WTS, “these brothers and sisters, fellow pastors, who have cared for my father, are exactly the kind of people that I want to be doing ministry with. It was at this moment that my call in the RCA was solidified.” He was ordained as a minister of Word and sacrament in the RCA in 2008.

Theonugraha most recently served as vice president for Student Life and University Services at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. He has also led the enrollment team, chapel, athletics department, alumni office, and student life division. He has served on the President’s University Leadership Team and the Gender Equity Task Force, co-chaired the Racial Reconciliation Implementation Team, and taught courses in the Master of Arts in Leadership program.

“I love the mission of Western Theological Seminary to prepare women and men called by God to be God’s church in mission,” says Theonugraha in the video interview for WTS. “Also, [I love] the commitment of the seminary that we are to preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with love and boldness, to pursue justice for the poor and the oppressed, to care for God’s creation as faithful stewards of the world that he has created. I hope that I can bring my church experience as well as my theological education experience to bear on WTS to build on what is already here.”

“Dr. Theonugraha represents the growing racial ethnic diversity in the rapidly changing landscape of North America,” says Alemán. “His personal experience in this regard has equipped him well to lead in a multi-ethnic and multi-racial context. We in the RCA join the many voices of congratulations for the WTS family and for Dr. Felix Theonugraha and his family.”

Theonugraha will begin his work as president on July 1, 2019. He will be replacing Dr. Timothy Brown, who has served in the role for 11 years and is retiring as president; Brown will continue in the classroom as Henry Bast Professor of Preaching.

Theonugraha is married to Esther, and they have two children, Isaiah (12) and Nora (10).

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