En novembre 1949, Lucien Rimbault, professeur de théologie pratique se rend à l’Union Theological Seminary de Richmond (UTS) en Virginie.
L’extrait sonore ci-dessous est l’enregistrement d’époque d’un extrait du discours de Lucien Rimbault lors de la cérémonie de remise du Doctorat Honoris Causa par celui-ci au professeur Ben Lacy, président de l’UTS. Cette cérémonie a eu lieu le 16 novembre 1949 à Richmond. Le professeur Lucien Rimbaud était professeur de théologie pratique à Montpellier et avait été envoyé pour délivrer ce doctorat en remerciement pour les fonds collectés pour les étudiants de Montpellier qui ont permis la construction du Centre universitaire protestant (CUP).
Transcription du discours réalisée par les étudiants en cours d’anglais de la Faculté en 2019 (M. Vidal) :
« (Doctorate) in Theology Honoris Causa and in conferring it not to a student whom we should have elected as entitled to receive it but to a man whom the student body of this seminary had elected to be its president. Moreover we decided to ask the president of the student body to transfer this honorary degree from year to year to his successor in order to have always in your midst a graduate of our seminary. This renewal proceeding will show you that in doing this we are not too much concerned with academic traditions. As a matter of fact we stand for a part only on the ground of academic rights, we should rather stand on the basis of Christian fellowship and Christian fellowship surpasses any academic honor. These honors are nothing but a sign of a deeper reality. In giving you the best we could afford as an academic body we simply mean to tell you that our best in our hearts and lives is yours. We are anxious to tell you this and if you receive this statement at the very end of my stay on this campus you will perhaps accept and understand better from a man who is no longer a stranger to you and who has had a share in your life. I wish you would understand that the meaning of this convocation is only the answer of Christian love. Yours was the first expression, let us make the second. Doctor Lacy you were the first when at the end of the war you granted one of our student’s scholarship in your seminary’s name. Members of the faculty, members of the student body you were the first to receive Jean Abel in your community and to make this house his home. You were the first to ask him questions about the life in the post-war times in our seminary and beyond Jean Abel you were the first to realize that the brethren in Montpellier were members of your community and the first to give them a share in your prayers, the first also to undertake this marvelous effort which relieve them in their need. We shall never forget the visit of your president, Dr Lacy, in Montpellier. He was at our seminary in a time when the students were on a vacation. But even in these empty classrooms he realized the meaning of our work and we knew from that time that our seminaries would work together. It seems to us as if we had been seized by a strong fraternal hand and by all the hands of the many boys and girls who live on this campus. Certainly God was at work in that time and is working in us not only on this campus as it is now, but in different parts of your country, everywhere I have met with men or women who participated in this action for Montpellier for some of them I saw only for a few minutes and I did with Russel XXX, or Ray XXX or Jane Anderson or Catherine XXX, I had the feeling that I met with old friends whom I had known a long time because we had already met each other… »