Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
In this Issue MidWinters 2012 | 3
Young adult volunteers | 6
The debt crisis | 21
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PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGI C AL
Theodore J. Wardlaw
Board of Trustees
Cassandra C. Carr, Chair Karen C. Anderson Thomas L. Are Jr. Claudia Carroll Elizabeth Christian Joseph J. Clifford James G. Cooper Marvin L. Cooper James B. Crawley Consuelo Donahue (MDiv’96) Jackson Farrow Jr. Elizabeth Blanton Flowers G. Archer Frierson Richard D. Gillham Walter Harris Jr. Roy M. Kim James H. Lee (MDiv’00) Michael L. Lindvall Catherine O. Lowry Blair R. Monie Lyndon L. Olson Jr. B. W. Payne David Peeples Jeffrey Kyle Richard Cynthia L. Rigby Teresa Chávez Sauceda (MDiv’88) James C. Shaw Lita Simpson Anne Vickery Stevenson Karl Brian Travis John L. Van Osdall Sallie Sampsell Watson (MDiv’87) Carlton Wilde Jr. Elizabeth Currie Williams
Volume 127 | Number 1
A new generation is called to serve the world By Randal Whittington
8 Cover: Twelve current students served as long-term volunteers prior to entering seminary—back row: Stephen Cottingham, Mary Ann Kaiser, Alex Cornell, Brittany Harvey, Sudie Niesen, and Allie Utley; front row: Amy Wilson-Stayton, Layton Williams, Molly Atkinson, and Brad Watson. Not pictured: John Stanger, Becca Weaver; currently serving: Kristi Click. Photography by Jody Horton.
Stephen A. Matthews John McCoy (MDiv’63) Max Sherman Louis Zbinden
AYAVA House at Austin Seminary
Growing a generation of leaders
Hospitality & the church By Wayne Meisel
By Allie Utley
By Britta Dukes
seminary & church
twenty-seventh & speedway
faculty news & notes
alumni news & notes
teaching & ministry
back cover live & learn
Austin Seminary Association (ASA) Board
Richard Culp (MDiv’93, DMin’01), President Judy Baskin (MDiv’02), Vice President Lynn Barton (DMin’96) Timothy Blodgett (MDiv’07) Valerie Bridgeman (MDiv’90) Alonzo Campbell (DMin’94) Jerry Goodridge (MDiv’02) Aquanetta Hicks (MDiv’08) Kathleen Hignight (MDiv’95) Karen Greif (MDiv’92, DMin’06) Ryan Kemp-Pappan (MDiv’08) Andrew Parnell (MDiv’05) Nancy Mossman (MDiv’88) Nancy Taylor (MDiv’05) Leanne Thompson (MDiv’06)
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Editor Randal Whittington
Contributors Jack Barden Laura Harris Sandy Knott Gary Mathews Nancy Reese Lana Russell Kristy Sorensen Allie Utley
Windows is published three times each year by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Austin Seminary Windows Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 100 E. 27th St. Austin, TX 78705-5711 phone: 512-404-4808 e-mail: email@example.com fax: 512-479-0738 austinseminary.edu ISSN 2056-0556; Non-profit bulk mail permit no. 2473
from the president |
President’s Schedule December 18—Preacher, Westlake Hills PC, Austin January 19—Speaker, Presbyterian History Center Banquet, Atlanta January 21-22—Preacher, Global Missions Festival, First PC, Tuscaloosa, Alabama February 12—Preacher, First PC, San Angelo, Texas March 4—Preacher, Westminster PC, Dallas March 8—Partnership Luncheon, Austin March 20—Evening with the President, Little Rock March 29— Partnership Luncheon, San Antonio April 15—Preacher, First Presbyterian Church, Palacios, Texas May 10—Evening with the President, Oklahoma City
hen people ask me to characterize our students at Austin Seminary, I reply that, when compared to students of earlier generations, they are on average younger, edgier, more informed and passionate about things that matter in the world, more interested in serving God than building a career path, and, quite simply, more global. This set of attributes is not coincidental, but due, in great measure, to the statistically impressive presence of persons entering seminary fresh from such programs as AmeriCorps, Teach for America, and—most significantly—a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-sponsored ministry called Young Adult Volunteers. “YAVs,” as they are called, are dispatched all over the world to serve in a variety of mission settings; and, during their time of service, many YAVs discern a call into fulltime ministry or service to the greater church. Consequently, over recent years, Austin Seminary has welcomed more than its share of former YAVs interested in taking the next step in that call process. In this issue of Windows, you will meet and hear from a number of these students and alums. You will also meet a remarkable Presbyterian minister named Wayne Meisel. A graduate of Harvard University and Princeton Theological Seminary, Wayne is a nationally known advocate for youth-led organizations and community service, and one of the architects of the AmeriCorps Program. Long associated with the Bonner Foundation based in Princeton—a national philanthropic organization focusing on anti-poverty issues—Wayne is now also on the staff of the Cousins Foundation and remains deeply invested in the transformational possibilities that issue from selfless commitment to service opportunities that enlarge one’s horizons. You will also learn of a new initiative here on campus, the AYAVA House—an intentional community, made up of Austin-based YAVs and AmeriCorps volunteers, that is committed to a spiritual discipline and living simply. There is much food for thought, and for inspiration, in the pages that follow. Join me in giving thanks to God for the people answering the call in these days to give their lives to a cause bigger than themselves! Faithfully yours, Theodore J. Wardlaw President
webXtra: We are happy to unveil the new look of AustinSeminary.edu! Our new design introduces our theme “Weaving of Faith,” a metaphor that draws on the biblical story from the reed basket that saved Moses, to the woven baskets that held the loaves and fishes, to the linens that wrapped the body of Christ. Weaving also represents the concept of many elements, too weak to work on their own, woven together for strength. The strength of Austin Seminary is formed from the diverse perspectives and gifts of our students, faculty, staff, and friends. We invite you to explore our new site. You will see that many of the features you rely on for information on the Seminary remain the same. We have added two new sections, “Beyond the Walls,” which has information on our continuing education offerings of workshops and lectures, and “Community Life,” where you’ll get glimpse into the life of students here on our campus. We hope you appreciate our fresh look and streamlined navigation! Happy surfing! 2 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
MidWinters, Jan. 30-Feb. 1, to engage conversation on church’s future
Tom Are Jr.
ach year at MidWinters, Austin Seminary welcomes pre-eminent professors and scholars as “the church hears from the academy.” During the upcoming three-day event, January 30February 1, 2012, the “academy will hear from the church” as we feature some of the most thoughtful and noted pastors in the country concentrating on the pastoral life and the life of the church in these extraordinary times. The theme for this gathering is “Listening to the Church: A Time to Break Down and A Time to Build Up,” and it features The Reverend Tom Are Jr., The Reverend Dr. Craig Barnes, and The Reverend Dr. Lillian Daniel. Tom Are, senior pastor of The Village Church in Prairie Village, Kansas, will speak on the changing landscape of the mainline church in his lecture series titled “The Church Ain’t What It Used to Be: Confessions of a Pastor.” Are is this year’s Thomas White Currie Lecturer, a lectureship established in 1952 by the Thomas Currie Bible Class of Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, and permanently endowed through a gift of the Currie family. He will give three lectures on theological resources that guide us in hope rather than anxiety; the purpose of theology; and the work of the church to the world. Lillian Daniel, senior minister of First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn (Illinois), will examine the important role of the church in “Spiritual but Not Religious?
Reflections on the Bland Majority.” Says Daniel: In a culture of narcissism and the ability to instantly communicate our every thought and personal opinion, the church matters more than ever as a place that calls us to something larger than ourselves. But how do progressive Christians articulate a case for digging deeply into the tradition in a culture that says spirituality is all about you and the here and now? The Jones Lectureship was established in 1949 by the Women of the Church of First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth, Texas. Also speaking is Craig Barnes, the Robert Meneilly Professor of Leadership and Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and senior pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In his series “The Pastor as Minor Poet,” Barnes will address the changing role of pastors in the 21st century drawing insights from the biblical and historic vocation of poets. Barnes is the 2012 E.C. Westervelt Lecturer, a lectureship established in 1949 by Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Flato of Corpus Christi, Texas, in honor of Mrs. Flato’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Westervelt. Providing leadership for two worship services is The Reverend Richard Spalding, chaplain to the College and
facts & figures | • Tom Are is a sixthgeneration Presbyterian pastor who presently serves one of our denomination’s largest congregations. He has preached and taught widely throughout our denomination—in such venues as the Sprunt Lectures of Union Presbyterian Seminary, the Montreat Youth Conference, the Massanetta Bible Conference, and the “Reclaiming the Text Conference” at Montreat. He is presently an organizing leader of the NEXT Church Conversation. • Craig Barnes has written several books and articles that center on the struggle of contemporary people making sense of God’s grace. His published books include Yearning, When God Interrupts, Hustling God, Sacred Thirst, Extravagant Mercy, Searching For Home, and most recently, The Pastor as Minor Poet. • Lillian Daniel is the author of Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony and This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers (co-authored by Martin B. Copenhaver). She is an editor at large for The Christian Century Magazine and her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, Books and Culture, and The Journal for Preachers.
Continued on next page Winter 2012 | 3
twenty-seventh Coordinator of Community Service at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Spalding was educated at Yale College, Yale Divinity School, Union Theological Seminary NYC, and Hartford Seminary. He has served Presbyterian churches in the northeast and was on the campus ministry staff at Harvard. The Austin Seminary Association (ASA) Banquet and Annual Meeting, on Wednesday, February 1 (reservations and $15 ticket required), features President Wardlaw’s “State of the Seminary” address and the 2011 Distinguished Service recipients, Ruben Armendariz (MDiv’61) and Judith Henderson (MDiv’98). Austin Seminary alumni are invited to a special event on Tuesday, January 31—a free luncheon (registration required by Jan. 17) where architectural renderings and plans will be unveiled regarding the new library expansion and new student housing. During the luncheon we will also have a drawing for an iPad2 to be given to one lucky alum who has opted in to our new online alumni directory. For all guests, there are reduced-rate rooms at the Drury Inn & Suites North (800-325-0720) and LaQuinta Austin Capital (800-7533757); use group name “Austin Seminary” for both. Discounts at both hotels end January 4, 2012. Take advantage of our improved online registration at austinseminary.edu/ midwinters2012.
Cathy Sautter, long-time registrar, dies
atherine Sautter, Austin Seminary registrar from 1958-1990, died on September 18, 2011; she was 88. Professor John Alsup presided over the memorial service on October 4. According to James Currie’s book, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary: Completing a Century of Service, the 1989-90 Catalogue was dedicated to her with these words: Over the years, Cathy Sautter and the Seminary Catalogue have become synonymous. For twenty-five years she has served as the editor and given it birth each year. Hours and hours have been spent gathering, typing, arranging, and proofreading diverse materials … Indeed, it may not be too much to say that of many persons, Cathy Sautter and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary have become synonymous over the past three decades. Surely her commitment to Austin Seminary and her commitment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are unsurpassed. She was not an employee of the Seminary; she was a part of it. She always wanted the best for its students, its faculty and its programs. She has been fiercely loyal to the institution, an indefatigable worker, an unfailing advocate for the Seminary, and a faithful
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servant of the church. She has been a counselor of students, a confidante for faculty, and a reliable resource for the constituency. Affectionately known as “Sarge,” Cathy endeared herself to generations of Austin Seminary students and staff alike. “No one loved Austin Seminary more than Cathy Sautter, who cared deeply about students, staff, administration, and faculty,” says Joe Turner (MDiv’61) who, as former director of admissions, had the perspective of both student and colleague. “Her office was the hub for everyone.”
Theological Education Sunday
Thirty seven students, faculty, and members of the administration traveled to congregations as near as Salado, Texas, and as far as Babylon, New York, on September 18, to celebrate the partnership of the local church and seminaries as they prepare men and women for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Left, student Lindsay Conrad helped to lead worship with pastor Clint Regen (MDiv’00) at Wimberley (Texas) Presbyterian Church.
staff news | Rev. Kristy Forbes Vits (MDiv’98) is the new Houston-based development officer, responsible for establishing and stewarding relationships with churches and friends in the area. Since her graduation from Austin Seminary, Kristy has served churches in St. Louis, Missouri, Belleville, Illinois, and was interim associate pastor for St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston. She and spouse, Logan Vits (MDiv’98), are parents to Nathan, 6.
Seminary welcomes new masters-level students
orty-four masters-level students began coursework at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary this term on Tuesday, September 6, including two students who are pursuing dual degrees with The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. This class represents ten denominations, thirteen states, and Korea. Among the entering class is Cynthia A. Eschliman from Hutchinson, Kansas, who is a recipient of the Fund for Theological Education Congregational Fellowship and of the Apollos Scholarship given by The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. This year’s entering Master of Divinity students are 51% Presbyterian, 23% United Methodist, and 20% are racial ethnic minorities. The Reverend Dr. David White, the C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Associate Professor of Christian Education, delivered the opening convocation address, “Teaching for Beauty: On Re-enchanting Education,” a
Austin Seminary encourages personal and spiritual growth. You are known within a faith community committed to learning, ministry, & service.
President Wardlaw and Professor White after Convocation, September 6. focus of his recent research. Professor White’s newest book is Desire, Compassion, Joy, and Responsibility: Cultivating the Impulses of Youth for Vocation (forthcoming, 2012). Other works include Awakening Youth Discipleship in a Consumer Culture (Cascade, 2007, coauthored with Brian Mahan and Michael Warren), Practicing Discernment with Youth (Pilgrim Press, 2005), and the chapter “Welcoming the Vernal Season of the Heart: Discoveries in the Youth Discipleship Project” in Encountering the Mystery: Discovering God with Young People in a Secular World (edited by Dr. Paul McQuillan, YTC Press International, 2009).
See for yourself.
Feb. 17-19, 2012
To confirm your place, call our Office of Admissions at 800-241-1085 or email Jack Barden, admissions@ austinseminary.edu
The new Seminary Receptionist and Event-Facilities Coordinator is Jessica Boston. She recently earned a Master of Science in Social Work from U.T., Austin. She trained service dogs as an undergrad and serves as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, representing clients in the foster care system. Kimberly Rutherford is the new director of advancement services, responsible for the Seminary’s database. Formerly with the Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services, Kimberly and her husband, Michael, are parents to five children. Winter 2012 | 5
Send me! A call to service unites young adult volunteers
by Randal Whittington
ike many young people, Sudie Neisen graduated from college with no real idea of what she wanted to do with her life. Serving a year in southern India with the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program helped her
Sudie Niesen, far right, spent her YAV year in India teaching English; she also tutored in the Dalit (Untouchable) community.
discern her call to ministry. “I delved into my passion for social justice during college, but put my faith on the back burner,” she says. “Being a YAV helped me see how
deeply connected my faith and this passion were. My site coordinator, an ordained pastor, helped me see that seminary was the way to go for me.” More than a dozen current students participated in long-term volunteer programs, mostly as YAVs, prior to coming to Austin Seminary. It’s a clear trend: since the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) program began in 1994 (funded in part by the denomination’s Pentecost Offering), roughly one-third of the more than 1000 YAVs have gone on to seminary after their year of service. Stephen Cottingham and Amy Wilson-Stayton served together in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Amy’s experience in youth ministry motivated her YAV placement in The Link Family and Community Centre in nearby Newtownards. The center was a gathering place for youth and teens and “through mentoring and relational ministry we got to know their needs,” says Amy. The experience clarified her vocation and pointed her toward Austin. “I want to work with youth in the non-profit arena, so the dual degree [with the University of Texas School of Social Work] at Austin Seminary appealed to me. This is what I care about.” Stephen worked part time in a Belfast church. “I had an opportunity to preach, to lead a youth group, to lead an adult Bible study, to help with a program for newcomers to Christ, to do some pastoral care. You name it, I got to see the human life from the cradle to the grave in the Christian faith, and I got to see the church through the weekdays. I saw how much the staff did for people all through the week and it really became, for me, the church that you read about in the Bible.”
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“Being a YAV helped me see how deeply connected my faith and passion were.” —Sudie Niesen
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Winter 2012 | 7
“I saw how much the church staff did for people all through the week and it
really became, for me, the church that you read about in the Bible.” —Stephen Cottingham
Stephen Cottingham met Amy Wilson-Stayton when they were both assigned to their YAV year in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Now they take classes together at Austin Seminary.
That vision of the church resonates with Becca Weaver who said, “During my time with the YAV program I was able to see the church actively serving the world in the way that it is called to. This reminded me of the good things the church is doing and how God is actively involved. Being able to heal from a previous bad experience with the church led me to seminary!” Without fail, these young people are stretched through the YAV program’s emphasis on three key elements: simple living, leadership development, and spiritual growth. Because volunteers live among the people they serve and are given only a small stipend, “you learn how not to be selfish,” says Molly Atkinson. “You barely have enough money to eat, certainly not for entertainment … it taught me how to live simply. I’ve had this privileged life; those others have to experience this every day.” “It makes you see what you really need,” agrees Amy. Becca discovered gifts for leadership during her placement on the Gulf Coast in 2006-07 doing Hurricane Katrina clean up. “I was surprised at how I matured during my year,” she says. “I was put in charge of a camp, which was more responsibility than I had ever had. It forced me to be a leader. I was able to try new things which was a good way of developing my gifts and discerning my call to ministry.” The year following his YAV experience, Stephen was placed in charge of an AmeriCorps team. There he implemented a strategy his YAV site coordinator used in Belfast: one-on-one counseling to tackle issues before they became problems, to combat loneliness, and to provide resources that encourage spiritual growth. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of their volunteer experience for these young adults was realizing the limits of their personal capacity to save the world. “I definitely had ‘Superman Syndrome’ and was going to save the day and change these children’s lives,” says Molly, who spent a year in Miami working in an after-school program for at-risk children. “After a while, you see it’s a greater problem: a problem with the
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schools, a community problem. You realize that while you’re making some kind of difference, there’s so much more to be done. That was hard.” “Once you get past the honeymoon phase, you realize you’re still in real life,” agrees Stephen, “but that’s coupled with knowing you’re in a place where you signed up to learn about your faith and to be stretched and to grow. By necessity, things that stretch and grow you are not always comfortable.” Most of the students say that their YAV year was instrumental in their decision to attend seminary. Stephen says his experience showed him “that’s where I want to be in my life. I want to be involved somehow in the life and workings of the church. Hand in hand —Molly Atkinson with that, I need to learn more about my own faith. I think I’m in the right place for what I wanted.” Connection to their home churches and denomination sustained these young adults. Each of the YAVS received support—monetary, prayer, emotional—from churches, presbyteries, schools, and individuals. Brad Watson, who served in the Peace Corps before entering seminary, was commissioned by his home church, St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Hurst, Texas. “Their prayers and care packages were awesome,” he recalls. Other students concur: “I received generous financial and prayer support from my home church, University Presbyterian in San Antonio,” says Alex Cornell, and John Stanger says “I received significant contributions from Bethel Presbyterian in West Columbia, Texas, First Presbyterian in Junction, Texas, and First Presbyterian in Harper, Texas.” “I am in awe of the support I received,” says Sudie. “I went before [Giddings-Lovejoy] presbytery and sent a letter to every church in the presbytery. I had churches who can’t even afford a pastor send me money. A youth group followed me all year. Churches collected an offering to support me. It was amazing to feel that connected—an entire presbytery considered me ‘their’ YAV!”
Molly Atkinson is among four first-year students who spent a year in voluntary service prior to enrolling at Austin Seminary.
“It taught me how to live simply.”
Winter 2012 | 9
Hospitality, the church, & young adults Claiming hospitality as our Christian identity By Wayne Meisel
Mary Elizabeth Prentice- Hyers (MDivâ€™11) Resident Minister at First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan YAV: Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2004-2005
y generation (Gen X) and the generation that follows (Gen Y) heartily seeks to find common humanity among each other. We are a generation that takes seriously our commitment to the earth and the world around us. We want to make a difference. We want to be relational. We want to be relevant. The YAV program can introduce you to the way the church is relational, relevant, and making a difference in the world today.
rowing up the son of a Presbyterian preacher, the aspect of my life I remember the most was the number of people in our house. Some nights it was Christy Wilson, the well-known missionary from Afghanistan, who would carry only a toothbrush as he moved around the world. Many nights college students flocked to the manse for free food. International students stayed in our home and used whatever we had as if it were theirs. It was no surprise that when I had my own home, the door was never locked and it became a place where strangers and friends alike could come for a bowl of soup, a glass of beer, or a place to stay. I realize in practicing the kind of hospitality the New Testament claims, I felt closest to Christ and became more aware of the gospel at work in my own life. And while hospitality, even radical hospitality, is not limited to Presbyterians, let alone Christians, I have come to realize that it is what has defined my faith and given meaning to my denominationâ€™s traditions. Because I was brought up in the Presbyterian tradition, I hold the art of hospitality to be a value and a practice of our community of faith. So just as Quakers are known and respected for their commitment to peace and their practice of consensus; so, too, Presbyterians ought to be known for our welcome, our engagement, and yes, indeed, our hospitality.
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The intersection of faith and service There is a powerful movement in our culture calling young people into active involvement in the community, engaging in issues of justice, poverty, and the environment. Each year nearly 100,000 young adults graduate from college and move throughout the country to serve in local communities in such programs as AmeriCorps, Teach for America, and City Year, partnering with local or national non-profit or federal agencies. Unlike the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program, most of these programs do not have a faith component to them. In fact the current service movement has, for the most part, separated faith and service. Very few of these young activists will seek out a church when they arrive in their new communities. Although many of these young adults grew up in a faith community, they see little connection between their passion for service and the life and practice of the church. My experience with young adults tells me that at least 50% of these 100,000 volunteers want to engage in some type of spiritual exploration, and out of that group, many are interested in faith formation and vocation discernment. So, I wonder what would it look like for our communities of faith to reach out and connect with this idealistic, passionate, and talented group of young people and treat each one of them as if they were our own childrenâ€”because they are.
Houses of hospitality I would like to suggest that churches consider establishing “houses of hospitality” where four to six young adults live together in a house or apartment. In these church-sponsored housing accommodations, young adults can live in an intentional community under a rule of community life founded on Christian principles of simplicity, spiritual practice, and communal living (see “AYAVA House,” page 12). If identifying and supporting a specific house or apartment is not feasible for logistical or financial reason, a congregation could reach out to members who may be empty nesters or who otherwise have bedrooms in their own homes where these young people could live during their year of service. While such a strategy doesn’t offer the same type of experience for community life that a designated house does, it still offers an opportunity for hospitality and connection to the church. Food, fellowship, and theological discussion Even when a church chooses not to offer housing opportunities for young adults serving full time in the community, it can still be active and supporting by offering weekly meals and a structured conversation based on a year-long curriculum designed to connect their service with their faith journey. Currently a curriculum is available online that a congregation can use as a starting point or in its entirety. When possible, the church could also organize an orientation as well as mid-year and year-end retreats that will strengthen the community and enrich the experience of the volunteers. Hospitality as a priority, not a line item As Christian leaders consider how to extend hospitality
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Eric W Valentine
Meeting their needs: housing, fellowship, and discernment One of the biggest challenges that these young adults face is finding affordable housing. Most receive very limited stipends and find themselves scrambling to find roommates and establish a community life that is safe, affordable, and affirming. Because most of these young adults are new to the community, they are likely to only know the people where they serve, and, given the work they are doing and the challenges they are facing, many can feel overwhelmed and under supported as they encounter complex societal issues, such as poverty, in intimate ways.
Keith Hudson (MDiv’09) Co-pastor, First Presbyterian Church of La Grande, Oregon YAV: Sitka, Alaska 2001-2001 Laura Hudson (MDiv’09) Co-pastor, First Presbyterian Church of La Grande, Oregon YAV: Guatemala, 2000-2001 & Tucson, Arizona, 2002-2003
aura: My YAV years taught me about being intentional in how I do things, of living faithfully and well, but also that my choices reveal the kinds of values and beliefs that are central to my life. Ministry is not something I do in one part of my life, but how I live out the whole of it. Among other things, this led to my choice to be a co-pastor with my husband, Keith, rather than for both of us to seek full-time ministry calls. I actually see myself as “bi-vocational,” in that my roles as spouse and parent are also vocations, and living them faithfully and well is a kind of ministry. Living with my host family in Guatemala and living with other volunteers in Tucson played a major part in shaping my values and the ways I intentionally attempt to practice them at home and in our congregation. I believe we need to be very intentional about the ways we create “home” for ourselves and for our congregation, so that we can all “walk lightly on the earth.” Winter 2012 | 11
Austin Seminary provides young adult volunteers a room … with a view toward vocation By Allie Utley
Ryan Kemp-Pappan (MDiv’08) Host of UNCO (unco. us <http://unco. us> ), writer, LGBTQ Advocate, & the forthcoming blog Being RKP (beingrkp.com <http://beingrkp. com>) YAV: Kenya 2004-2005
y service as a YAV has invited me in to a ministry in the margins. I live my life as if I am a missionary to my community. I seek to live simply and hope to use my life as a witness to the goodness Jesus the Christ offers all. It has also taught me that context in ministry matters. You must minister from your context.
ach Sunday night, members of the AYAVA House gather in their home on Austin Seminary’s campus to be together. Sitting in a circle on the living room floor, they share a meal of spaghetti and meatballs. This simple meal, this simple space, reflects their commitment to simple living. Observing this table fellowship, one can see their commitment to vocational discernment, service, theological reflection, and spiritual practice: they discuss their work tutoring children, plans for the future, and debate the policies and practices of education. This is an intentional community, a choice to be connected to spiritual support and exploration as one of their highest values. A $10,000 start-up grant from The CF Foundation enabled Austin Seminary to create this opportunity. AYAVA, an acronym for Austin Young Adult Volunteer/ AmeriCorps, is an intentional community for young adults engaged in a year of service in this community through programs such as PC(USA)’s Young Adult Volunteers, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and City Year. Service opportunities for young people abound in this day and age, but the opportunity to combine that with living in a faith-based intentional community is unique. Jack Barden, who wrote the grant for the program, noted that, “Austin Seminary, located in the heart of a vibrant urban area, is uniquely equipped with the resources to
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support young adults engaged in service opportunities. We can challenge these young people to integrate their faith and values with their life and career choices. Our role in the preparation of imaginative Christian leaders enables us connect them to colleagues in ministry and service who will nurture them for a lifetime, wherever their vocational path might lead.” This year the AYAVA House is hosting six AmeriCorps volunteers who work with literacy among adults and children. In the future, Austin Seminary hopes to house volunteers from several organizations and provide a variety of service opportunities. Local congregations and non-profits such as iAct/Refugee Resettlement, Care Communities, Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, Easter Seals, and Grassroots Leadership have expressed interested in providing young adults with a meaningful and informative volunteer experience. Most importantly, Austin Seminary is dedicated to facilitating theological reflection and vocational discernment in the midst of the service learning. Yearlong service in social justice-oriented agencies can be difficult. So can the transition back into the “real world.” Under the leadership of staffers Jack Barden and Martha Lynn Coon, the AYAVA community meets on Wednesdays to work through issues that arise through the week of work. The service learning, theological
Jason Cashing (MDiv’06) Pastor, Franklinville Presbyterian Church, New York YAV: Petersburg, Alaska, 2000-2001 & West Yellowstone, Montana, 2001-2002
AYAVA House members, including Kat Rendson and Liz Pfaff, have made gardening part of their communal life on the Austin Seminary campus.
reflection, and vocational discernment are nurtured through a commitment to a life of faith through spiritual practice and simple living. Liz Pfaff, a current AYAVA resident from Seattle, Washington, shared her reason for seeking out this community, saying, “I find comfort in people of faith after having worked in a church-run community center last year. I wanted to have a faith-based community in which I could participate since my work is secular.” Austin Seminary, through AYAVA House, meets their housing need, and in so doing provides an intentional space and place for young adult volunteers to explore service, vocation, and faith. Meeting this need, creating this space and place, blesses the Seminary with an opportunity to build relationships with these young adults who are seeking to connect their passion with the world’s need.
y spiritual journey is richer for this program, and that has a direct effect on my ministry where I am now. This is perhaps the most concrete and visible outcome of spending time between my undergraduate and graduate academic work. During these two brief years, I spent time in small, rural churches (very similar to where I am now), learning by experience (trial-and-error) what it is to live in relationship with the people that comprise these communities, walking with them through good and bad, sharing the exciting and mundane of life. But most of all, I learned to simply be present with them. I used to think that ministry was all about finding the right combination of programming to meet the needs of the people, and that once you put those pieces of programming together correctly—viola! You had successful ministry! It took living through failure in this model (more than once) to learn that ministry has almost nothing to do with programming, and almost everything to do with relationship—sharing Christ with one another, walking with one another, recognizing that you impact others and are impacted by others. I would not realize this now had I not been a YAV.
Allie Utley is a middler student who served as a YAV in New Orleans in 2009-2010. Her father, Carl Utley (MDiv’84) is an Austin Seminary graduate. Winter 2012 | 13
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Kate Loveless McGee (MDiv’10) Associate Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian in Topeka, Kansas YAV: Liverpool, England, 2006-2007
ecause of my YAV year, I realized that I was indeed called to ministry. In my current call, I continue the work I began in Liverpool by continuing to focus on the areas of mission and youth ministry. During my YAV year I gained confidence in my skills as a potential pastor, as well as tried out new ways of doing ministry. God opened my heart during that year to those who are in need, forever shaping my calling as a Christian and as a pastor.
through housing, fellowship, food, and faith formation, it might be easy to be overwhelmed. By focusing our energies, by being creative, and by keeping things simple, we can make a profound impact on an important population; we can breathe new life into the church and offer hope for the world. Many of those we encounter will feel engaged in our communities of faith and will be the people who attend and provide the leadership of the church for the next fifty years. Some will find in their heart a call to professional Christian ministry and will commit their lives and be a prophetic witness to the gospel and seek to live it out every day in their service to the world. These approaches offer us a chance to
respond to the Gospel call to hospitality. It also offers us, as Christians, the opportunity to relate our passion for service and justice to the same passion that these young adults feel. And I believe the energy and inspiration of this group will reawaken something in us and call us to be more relevant to society and more true to our call and ourselves. Wayne Meisel is director of faith and service at the Cousins Foundation. Named by Time magazine as “One of the Top 50 Leaders in the United States Under 40,” he was appointed by President George H. Bush to serve on the Commission for National and Community Service and was instrumental in the founding of AmeriCorps and Teach for America.
To find where young adult volunteers are serving in your area: YAV sites may be found here: http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/yav/sites/. For more information contact Shannon Langley at Shannon.Langley@pcusa.org; 502-569-5024 City Year has contact information for each city site here: http://www.cityyear.org/dynamic_ektid140.aspx Teach for America http://www.teachforamerica.org/ has a link on their home page called “where we work.” If you click on your city you can find the name of the director and the contact information for each site. AmeriCorps has a map here: http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/role_impact/state_ profiles.asp. Click on your state and you will get a PDF of all the current agencies hosting volunteers. When contacting these groups, make it clear up front that you are not reaching out to evangelize, rather stress your interest in welcoming these young adults and your commitment to help them find housing, fellowship, and community. The leaders of these agencies are very concerned about the health and well being of their volunteers in part because they care about these important new organizational members, but also because part of the way they are evaluated for future funding is the retention of their members and the percentage of students who complete their designated term of service. Be prepared for the fact that there may be some initial hesitancy on the part of some of the people you encounter. People may be weary of church leaders coming to be hospitable without any other agenda. But persistence and purity of heart will prevail. Hopefully, you will be given access to the volunteers, either through electronic communication or be invited to be present at an orientation. By offering your church basement as a place where newly arrived young servants can crash as they look to establish their new life during this time of transition, the church can serve as the point of entry and welcome for dozens of these young adults. —Wayne Meisel
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YAVALUMNI Growing a generation of leaders Reflections from a YAV site coordinator By Britta Dukes
n my opinion, the Young Adult Volunteer program has been one of the great success stories of our denomination in the last couple of decades. An initiative to ensure leadership for future generations has resulted in just that … a myriad of young adults who have given a year (or more!) of their lives to serve God and others in a variety of settings while living a simple lifestyle in intentional Christian community. The typical result of this particular combination of factors is a young adult who leaves the program with a deeper sense of self, a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, and a deeper understanding of what it takes to be an effective leader in the church and world today. Personally, I observed the transformation of hundreds of young adults during my time with this program. As a site coordinator, I witnessed their maturation as they struggled with cross-cultural challenges, confronted marginalized populations, accepted roles and responsibilities that stretched them outside their “comfort zones,” etc., etc. In fact, it was quite common when we interviewed candidates to hear their ideas of the “perfect” volunteer site. We would then assure them that they would not be receiving this site even if it did exist because one of the purposes of the program is to stretch volunteers beyond what they already know they can do. They are sent, and in the process, they receive. It’s about affirming the Godgiven gifts and skills they already know they have while helping them discover additional ones. In doing so, they depart with new realizations, experiences, skills, and coping abilities that results in greater confidence in what they can do and achieve as leaders. This, in particular, is one of the strengths of the program, and is perhaps why Young Adult Volunteers feel equipped to serve in ministry long term once they’ve completed their volunteer year. It’s a story I’ve seen repeated over and over and over, and why I believe so deeply in both the program and the young adults who participate in it!
Britta Dukes (MDiv’05) was a YAV field officer in Great Britain (1995-1999) and a site coordinator in Miami, Florida (1999-2001). She is associate pastor of families and children at Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, Austin.
Shane Webb (MDiv’11) Mission Associate at IEP Peruvian Evangelical Church in Peru YAV: Peru, 2011-2012
have had a call to mission since my first experience abroad in 2001 as an exchange student in Venezuela. I am serving two churches in the Northeast corner of Lima. Although I am trained in the finer arts of ministry, my main role in these churches is a ministry of presence. One of the churches, named Iglesia Evangelica Peruana (IEP-Evangelical Church of Peru) Km. 18, serves about 200 children a warm meal every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. During these days, I serve food, teach English, coach soccer, make visits, and form relationships with the church staff who work for the Compassion Program. In the other church, IEP Km. 11, I have more typical pastoral roles. I teach Sunday school, lead adolescent and youth groups, make pastoral visits, and occasionally preach, but much of what I “do” is showing love to the people and learning from them. Before starting my YAV year with my wife, Sarah Webb, I had expectations of being a solo pastor in a small church. The reality is I am more like an associate pastor and church assistant. I am learning from some wise Peruvian pastors and a congregation that has courageous faith in God. Thus far, it has been an enriching experience that is expanding my abilities in crosscultural ministry and challenging me to slow down in order to more fully enjoy life in community. God had sent me not to “do” but rather to “be” in loving relationship with my Peruvian neighbors. Winter 2012 | 15
Faculty publish books on Qur’an, parenting; books on grief and boys’ spirituality recognized as excellent resources
r. Whitney S. Bodman, associate professor of comparative religion, has published The Poetics of Iblís: Narrative Theology in the Qur’an (Harvard Theological Studies, 2011). This text explores the origins of the story of Iblís, who in the Qur’an refuses God’s command to bow down to Adam and is punished by eviction from heaven. Bodman utilizes reader-response tools to help analyze distinctive characteristics of the narration and how it contributes to the theme in larger context. The Poetics of Iblís shows that the earliest version of the Iblís story presents him as a tragic, not evil, figure, an elder sibling of Adam, unjustly displaced from God’s favor. Subsequent renderings of the story present an Iblís increasingly more hostile to humility and then, in later versions, Iblís becomes an incidental figure in the extended story of Adam.
Dr. David H. Jensen, professor of constructive theology, has published a new book, Parenting (Fortress Press 2011), in which he writes of the challenges and opportunities joined to parenting in a globalized world. He observes that “parenting is not essential to Christian life but it is a gift that can change one’s understanding of faith and what it means to live in this world.” Building on this observation, he shares personal stories and insights relating to both the joys and trials of parenting. He also draws on reflections from theologians such as Martin Luther and Horace Bushnell to make his own case for parenting as a spiritual task, one that remains necessarily tied to typical everyday life experiences and routines. Parenting is the seventh book in the Compass series, for which Jensen serves as editor. The series considers everyday practices as opportunities for theological reflection on the Christian life. As Jensen notes, through “everyday practices, we can glimpse classical Christian themes—redemption, creation, and incarnation—in new light.” The Congregational Resource Guide (CRG) has named Good Mourning: Getting Through Your Grief (Westminster John Knox Press, 2008), written by Allan H. Cole Jr., academic dean and professor in the Nancy Taylor Williamson Distinguished Chair, and Losers, Loners, and Rebels: The Spiritual Struggles of Boys (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007), co-written by Cole, Robert C. Dykstra, and Donald Capps, among the best resources for congregational leaders. The CRG mines available resources for congregations and their leaders over six areas— Care, Engage, Discover, Manage, Lead, and Worship. The guide notes that in Good Mourning “Cole discusses the roles that faith and prayer can play in productive grieving, helping people move away from cycles of endless suffering.” Losers, Loners, and Rebels was said to be especially helpful to pastoral caregivers and those involved in youth or family ministry. 16 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
faculty notes | On November 7, John Alsup attended a celebration at the University of Munich honoring the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Leonhard Goppelt, the organizing dean of the Protestant Theological Faculty there. Alsup, who wrote the biographical entry on Goppelt’s life and work in Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, was among an entourage of Goppelt’s former teaching assistants and doctoral students on hand for the occasion. Alsup holds the D. Thomason, First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, Chair in New Testament Studies.
elective course “Growing Churches and Making Disciples.” In addition, he has been supervising the final projects of several doctor of ministry candidates. David Jones, director of the doctor of ministry program and assistant professor of congregational care, gave a pre-presbytery workshop: “Building Healthy Congregations—A Systems Approach,” for Mission Presbytery on October 28 in Victoria, Texas. Jennifer Lord, The Dorothy B. Vickery Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgical Studies, was the conference preacher for the 55th annual Omaha
webXtras: W. C. Brown Professor of Theology Cynthia Rigby is featured on the blog Texas Faith, published by the Dallas Morning News, each Tuesday. Read what she and others have to say about theology in the public sphere here: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com Professor David Jensen gave a theological response to the Fall 2011 Heyer Lecture on sex and marriage. Read “Sex and the Christian Body,” here: AustinSeminary.edu/jensenresponse Whit Bodman, associate professor of comparative religion, gave a paper at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) on Iblis in modern literature in November. He also recently completed a three-session course on world religions at Oak Hill United Methodist Church and another course at Westminster Presbyterian Church, both in Austin. Pete Hendrick, professor emeritus of mission and evangelism, is teaching the
Seminary Foundation School for Pastors in Hastings, Nebraska, July 6-13, and preached for First Presbyterian Church in Hastings. Lord was a keynote speaker at the Preaching Pastor’s Retreat, Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe, August 14-19. She was voted into membership of Societas Liturgica (an International Society for Liturgical Study and Renewal) and attended their annual meeting in Reims, France, in August.
good reads |
mmigration has yet again emerged as a topic of intense debate in the current race for president of the United States. Much to my dismay, the current political debates on immigration are often centered on a 700-mile border fence and not on the human element in the immigration dilemma. For many mainline Protestant urban churches, immigration is an inevitable and unavoidable reality. Indeed, in an increasingly globalized society, inner-city pastors confront rapidly changing neighborhoods wherein traditional racial-ethnic boundaries are obscure yet fluid. Rather than vacate once cherished and flourishing churches, how can religious leaders construct a theology of immigration that acts with compassion and calls for their congregations to establish healing and empowering covenants with the ‘Other’? For ministers seeking to forge new relationships with the Latino/a immigrant community, Juan Gonzalez’s Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America (New York: Penguin Books, 2011 Revised Edition, ISBN10: 0143119281, $18) provides a provocative introduction to the history of Latino/a immigration to the United States. From colonial to contemporary times, Gonzalez charts succinctly the various political and economic forces that have contributed to the territorial displacement of many South Americans, Central Americans, Hispanic Caribbeans, and Mexicans. For those seeking a more biblically and theologically informed approach to the immigration debate, M. Daniel Carroll Rodas’ Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008, ISBN: 9780801035661, $17) is an easy-to-read primer. In a nonacademic tone, Carroll carefully expounds
those passages in the Old Testament and New Testament in which there are clear references to immigration. Proceeding on these lines, Daniel Groody’s insightful book, Border of Death, Valley of Life: An Immigrant Journey of Heart and Spirit (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, 2007, ISBN 0742558909, $23) orients readers to the spiritual life of Latino/a migrants, particularly those who journey northward through dangerous desert terrain. While these books are useful in providing readers with a preliminary point of entry into the complex and multifaceted issue of immigration, they are not the definitive word on the subject. Indeed, the material culture and expressions of the popular imagination can be equally helpful, in that they provide a different view of immigration. By reading the published literature alongside cultural modes of expression, readers are empowered to reject prejudicial or stereotyped representations of specific groups and individuals, while affirming positive ones. The affirmation of immigrant folkloric tradition can give way to recognizing and exposing oppressive relationships of power in mainstream society.
—Written by Gregory Cuéllar, assistant professor of Old Testament
board actions | Austin Seminary Board of Trustees took the following actions with respect to faculty at its fall meeting: Promoted Kristin E. Saldine to the position of associate professor of homiletics, effective July 1, 2012. Accepted the sabbatical proposal of and approved a sabbatical leave for John E. Alsup, The D. Thomason, First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, Professor of New Testament Studies, from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013. Accepted the sabbatical proposal of and approved a sabbatical leave for David F. White, The C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Associate Professor of Christian Education, from February 1, 2012, through July 31, 2013. Accepted the sabbatical proposal of and approved a sabbatical leave for William N.A. Greenway, associate professor of philosophical theology, from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014. With reference to other matters it also elected The Rev. Dr. John M. McCoy (MDiv’63), Austin Seminary alumni and former trustee as Trustee Emeritus. Winter 2012 | 17
then & now Frank Hall Wright (1860-1922) was an evangelist in the western United States. He was born January 1, 1860, in Oklahoma (then considered Indian Territory) to a father who was a chief of the Choctaw Nation and a mother who was a
Presbyterian missionary. He graduated from Union College in 1882 and then from Union Theological Seminary in 1885. After his ordination, he traveled the United States preaching as an evangelist and missionary to Native Americans. The Frank Hall Wright sermons at the Austin Seminary Archives consist of twenty-four sermons preached by Rev. Wright as part of a two-week series of evangelistic meetings held at the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio in January 1916. A complete description of the collection is available online, including links to scanned versions of all of the sermons and related newspaper clippings and correspondence: AustinSeminary.edu/ frankwright
Hope Presbyterian Church, Austin, establishes scholarship fund to honor retiring pastor
amily, friends, peers, and church members can testify to the blessing The Reverend Dr. Fred Morgan (MDiv’71) has been in their lives. In September, more than 400 such folks gathered at Hope Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas, to celebrate Fred’s retirement. Fred’s decades of ministry includes Professor John Alsup, left, represented Austin Seminary at Fred Morgan’s retirement party. leading the Hope congregation for the last eighteen years. He also has strong ties to Austin Seminary. After receiving his Master of Divinity from Austin Seminary in 1971, he served as director of admissions and has also served many years as an adjunct professor, teaching polity. It was only fitting, then, that the Hope congregation decided to recognize Fred’s retirement by establishing an endowed student scholarship fund in his name. The congregation not only raised more than $30,000 for The Reverend Dr. Fred Morgan Endowed Scholarship Fund, they also all managed to keep the gift a surprise until the celebration event. Fred explained why the gift was significant for him, “First, it was a complete surprise. Second, during my years as director of admissions at Austin Seminary, one of my other assigned duties was that of financial aid administrator. I know how important financial assistance is to every student. The endowed scholarship is a perpetual gift that will financially assist countless students in the future. Third, I have included Austin Seminary in my estate plans for the future. The endowed scholarship is a gift that can continue to grow and is a lasting legacy to my commitment to pastoral formation.” Fred also noted that Hope Church will benefit in the long run. He said the congregation has, “enjoyed a close association with Austin Seminary. The pastors of Hope have, for the most part, been Austin Seminary alums, and the church members have enjoyed the various ‘teaching church’ student interns as part of their Supervised Practice of Ministry experience.” One of the stipulations of the scholarship is that in the future any member of Hope who is a student at Austin Seminary will be given preference for this scholarship. “Therefore,” Fred said, “there is a lasting encouragement for Hope members to consider ministry as their vocational call knowing that financial assistance is a real possibility.” As he begins retired life, Fred believes that other churches will also find great benefits in establishing endowments to honor someone in their church. He emphasizes, “I believe we are ‘blessed by God to be a blessing in the life of others.’ The honor of such a scholarship is a blessing, not only to the one honored but more importantly to those who are future recipients of the scholarship. It is truly a lasting tribute.”
webXtra: to see the map showing where Austin Seminary graduates are serving and to find your regional rep, go to: AustinSeminary.edu/alummap
18 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
class notes | 1950s Floyd Kinser (MDiv’52) and his wife, Dorothy, recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. He volunteers and serves on the boards of Meals on Wheels and Guardianship Services Inc, regularly holding chapel services at James L. West Special Care Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Eugenia Zavaleta (MDiv’57) is deeply involved in immigration issues, working with DREAM Act students in Tempe, Arizona.
Robert Phillips (MDiv’71) recently retired as pastor of First United and Pisgah Churches in Bridgeport, Illinois. Bill Poe (MDiv’72) retired as pastor of St. Phillips Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas. Faulder Colby (MDiv’73) is serving as an adjunct pastor in a United Methodist congregation in Clinton, Washington.
Andrew Waskey (MDiv’83), former pastor of Morton Memorial Presbyterian Church in Oglethorpe, Georgia, is recently retired.
Kim Milling (MDiv’62) retired after working twenty-five years as the director of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. He is actively involved in bereavement support services of the local hospice organization.
Katie Hopper (MDiv’84), former co-pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Danville, Illinois, is now senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the first female senior pastor in its 156-year history.
Charles R. (Chuck) Gibbs III (MDiv’63) retired as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Karnes City, Texas, on June 26, 2011.
James Andy Blair (MDiv’89) is serving as co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Palacios, Texas, and First Presbyterian Church, Collegeport, Texas.
John R. Evans (MDiv’68) was recently honored by Austin College at their “Each Moment Matters” Luncheon in Dallas, Texas. The event honors “servant leaders who demonstrate compassion, excellence, integrity, and honor through faithful service to make Each Moment Matter for others.” In other news, John volunteers with Grace Presbytery, First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, and the HIV-AIDS Resource.
1970s Fred Morgan (MDiv’71) retired on September 30 as pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas, and was honorable retired by Mission Presbytery at its fall meeting. He will continue serving as mentor in the Company of New Pastors program of the PC(USA), and teach Presbyterian polity in the spring term for Austin Seminary. (See story on page 18.)
Janell Blair (MDiv’90) is serving as co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Palacios, Texas, and First Presbyterian Church, Collegeport, Texas. Dennis Kitterman (DMin’92) has retired from the Air Force and serving as stated supply for Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church in Tampa, Florida. Roger Quillin (DMin’92) retired after thirty-three years as pastor of Northbridge Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas. T. Randall Smith (DMin’92) has retired after forty years of serving United Methodist congregations in East and Southeast Texas. He is now working part time as the director of the North District Center for Congregational Development. Shannon Kiser (MDiv’94), former associate pastor of
First Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Virginia, is currently serving as parish associate and director of the Training Center for Innovative Church Leadership in Sterling, Virginia.
Community Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Cindy Kohlmann (MDiv’99) is serving part time as the pastor of the Clinton Presbyterian Church in Massachusetts, while also serving the Presbytery of Northern New England as their resource presbyter.
Marvin (Trey) Hegar (MDiv’07) is serving as pastor, Purity Presbyterian Church in Chester, South Carolina.
2000s John H.G. Curtiss (MDiv’00) was installed as pastor of Community Presbyterian Church, Plainview, Minnesota, on November 16, 2011. Dixie Anders (MDiv’01) was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree in biblical preaching from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, in May. The title of her thesis was “Gathered and Sent: Biblical Preaching Toward an Apostolic Identity.” Kristin Galle (MDiv’01) has recently been called to serve as interim minister of Covenant Presbyterian Church in College Station, Texas. Ann Herlin (MDiv’01) wed Terrance “Terry” Staley on January 16, 2011, at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, Virginia, where she is associate pastor. Craig King (MDiv’03) has been called to serve First Presbyterian Church of Alvin, Texas, as their new pastor. Melanie Longoni (MDiv’03) is the new coordinator of the Children’s Church program at Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ in Scottsdale, Arizona. She blogs at cuccchildrenschurch.blogspot. com. Paul Andresen (MDiv’05) is serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Marshall, Texas. Kevin Downer (MDiv’06) has been called as the intentional interim pastor at All God’s Children Metropolitan
Michael Brundeen (MDiv’07) has been called to serve as pastor at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Boerne, Texas.
Deborah Hollifield (MDiv’07) is serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Guymon, Oklahoma. The ministry of her congregation was featured in the October 2011 issue of Presbyterians Today in the article, “Finding a Common Language.” Tracy Y. Julian (MDiv’07) married Rev. Bruce H. Williams, Commander U.S. Navy, Ret. on May 31, 2011, in Springdale, Arkansas. Ruth Jeanne Lutz (MDiv’08) has received a call to serve St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in El Paso, Texas, as Priest-inCharge. Caressa Holloman Murray (MDiv’08) is now serving as coordinator of Youth Ministries for the Presbytery of New Covenant. Pepa Paniagua (MDiv’08) is serving as director of Christian education, First Presbyterian Church in Garland, Texas. Chizason Chunda (Ecum’09) is serving as the parish minister of Lusaka West Congregation, Matero, Zambia, and the Moderator Elect of the denomination. Chizason also serves as an adjunct lecturer at Justo Mwale Theological University College. Megan Dosher (MDiv’09) is now director of Youth and Family Ministries at Brenham (Texas) Presbyterian Church.
Send your news to windows@ austinseminary.edu Winter 2012 | 19
Log into Austin Seminary Alumni Portal, update your information, and opt into the online alumni directory* by January 25, 2012, and you will be entered into a drawing for an
iPad 2 to be given away at MidWinters! * The amount of contact information you wish to make available to other alumni is customizable, but you must “opt in” to share your email address in the secure online alumni directory to be eligible for the drawing. You need not be present at MidWinters to win. Questions? Contact Lana Russell (alum@ austinseminary.edu; 512-404-4809)
Sarah Feltman Hegar (MDiv’09) is serving as temporary supply pastor, Uriel Presbyterian Church in Chester, South Carolina. Chris Kirwan (MDiv’09) is serving as pastor of Williamston (North Carolina) Presbyterian Church.
2010s Glenn Sampayan (MDiv’10) is now a U.S. citizen! Glenn serves as stated supply at Faith Presbyterian Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, and he is helping to start a Pilipino-American fellowship in Austin. Nikki Stahl (MDiv’10) has been called to serve as the associate of pastoral care at United Christian Church in Austin, Texas.
Celebrating Anna Rosales’ wedding to AleTracy Beadle (MDiv’11) is now serving as associate jandro Salazar on September 18, were Alyssa pastor, First United Methodist Church, Austin Texas. Payne (MDiv’08), Karolina Wright Williams (MDiv’09), and Josh Gahr (MDiv’08). Amber Reber (MDiv/MSSW’11) is serving as youth and family minister, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas. Charles (Brad) Slaten (MDiv’11) is serving as pastor, Bruceville-Eddy United Methodist Church, Eddy, Texas. Jenny Tucker (MDiv’11) is serving as pastor, First United Methodist Church, Iredell, Texas, and First Presbyterian Church, Cranfills Gap, Texas.
welcome … to Wyatt Sandahl, son of Becca Charles (Charlie) and Cody Sandahl (MDiv’09), born on September 14, 2011. Wyatt is the grandson of Scott Sandahl (MDiv’07).
ordinations Mari Lyn Jones (MDiv’11), ordained and installed on August 28, 2011, as pastor at First United Presbyterian Church, Paola, Kansas. Mari Lyn is participating in the Pastoral Residency Program “For Such a Time is This.”
On hand for Mary Elizabeth Prentice-Hyers’ ordination at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Dallas, were Seminary President Ted Wardlaw, Melissa Lopez (MDiv’09), Matt Falco(MDiv’10), and Robert Quiring (MDiv’10).
Paul Kucera (MDiv’11), ordained on July 31, 2011, to serve as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Delavan, Illinois. Deb Schmidt (MDiv’11), ordained and installed on November 27, 2011, to serve as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Wellington, Kansas. Shane Webb (MDiv’11), ordained and installed on July 10, 2011, as a mission associate at IEP Peruvian Evangelical Church in Peru.
in memoriam Fred Campbell (MDiv’59), San Angelo, Texas, October 23, 2011. Ernest Jackson Boyett Jr. (MDiv’76), Austin, Texas, November 30, 2011.
20 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Ruth Martin (MDiv’08) and President Wardlaw visit with Nolipher Moyo (MATS’01) and her husband, Professor Paul Moyo of Juste Mwale Theological College in Lusaka, Zambia.
Just a thought: re-imagining debt By Monya Stubbs, associate professor of New Testament
his summer President Barack Obama pleaded with Congress to raise America’s debt ceiling or the amount the nation is allowed to borrow. After World War I, Congress put a limit on federal debt. The limit was a part of the law that allowed the Treasury to issue Liberty bonds to help pay for the war. By the Treasury Department’s count, Congress has acted 78 times since 1960 to raise, extend or alter the definition of the debt limit. Although usually characterized by great drama, rarely have discussions on raising the debt limit evoked partisan dissension. But, this summer’s debate was decisively partisan and bitter. The extremist faction of the Republican Party tied the discussion of the national debt limit to reducing the national deficit. The coupling created a political climate defined by a deep ideological rift on the role of government in American life and how the role of government shapes how people imagine themselves in relation to each other. One side of the ideological divide considers that the role of government is to ensure that all citizens receive a basic distribution of the basic resources necessary to provide a standard of living that they have reason to value. Those persons who stand under this ideological umbrella hold to a private-enterprise economy. However, they recognize that markets are comprised of human beings who have different interests at play. The role of government then, is to organize these interests (regulate) and the positive power of markets so that they work for the common good and not become increasingly a tool for the concentration of power and privilege for the few. Taxes represent the linchpin issue in this debate. The government should eliminate the Bush tax cuts in order to address social inequities and provide a social safety net for those in need. The less affluent citizens of our society should not bear a more excessive
tax burden than our wealthier citizens. The other side of the ideological divide believes in a more limited role of government. Government’s role is to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. The free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise create the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all. Free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation. Therefore, lower taxes and a smaller government with limited power will improve the standard of living for all. Advocates of this ideological belief argue that lower taxes create more incentive for people to work, save, invest and engage in entrepreneurial endeavors. Ultimately, people have a right to keep what they earn and spend it as they see fit. Hence, “taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft—a tyrannical imposition on their liberty.” (http://www.nytimes. com/2011/01/14/opinion/14krugman. html?_r=2&src=ISMR_HP_LO_MST_FB “A Tale of Two Moralities” by Paul Krugman). Congressional leaders beholden to the latter ideological position are refusing any proposal on raising the national debt ceiling without a concomitant agreement to cut government spending on so called entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This national economic crisis is revealing to American citizens (and world citizens) the many ways debt shapes and defines the institutions that organize our lives. Moreover, the debt crisis is making us painfully aware of the integrated nature of the world in which we now live. But, when wedded to a national discussion on deficit reduction, the debt ceiling debate raises the question about how we as American citizens imagine ourselves
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in relationship to one another. Do we imagine government as an institution that expresses our primary concern for individual economic achievement with emphasis on community only to provide a social setting in which individual economic advancement can be supported? Or do we imagine government as a tool that allows us to fulfill a moral obligation to provide all our citizens with essential care? Whatever ideological position one takes and whatever concrete policies develop from the congressional debate, the fact that the current discussions have been framed by debt language forces each of us to imagine ourselves in an indebted relationship with our fellow citizens. The notion of debt/indebtedness challenges each of us to pause and reflect on the mindset out of which we think about human interdependence. Essentially, debt (in a way that makes us very uncomfortable) reflects the idea that people are obligated to give because they have received. Therefore, when we give to others we do so with awareness that they have given to us. We create jobs and invest in the educational, environmental, health and technological infrastructure of our country in order to assure that all citizens are afforded the opportunity to live lives they have reason to value. Job creation and institutional investment are forms of giving. Yet, we do not give based on the mindset that the provision of these resources are a “gift” provided by the “successful” to the “unsuccessful” who have failed in the social system to which we all are subject. Rather, the merging of conversations on debt, taxes, individual freedom and government responsibility pushes us into the best spaces of our American psyche and we encounter a great mystery: those to whom we give encourage us, empower us and enable us to participate in the common good. We give, because we receive.
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Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 100 East 27th Street, Austin, Texas 78705-5711
upcoming from education beyond the walls Sunday and Sacraments | February 25 | The Reverend Dr. Jennifer L. Lord, The Dorothy B. Vickery Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgical Studies at Austin Seminary | For people who lead worship—ordained or not—and want to develop or enhance their skills in presiding at the principal services of worship of a congregation, including leading prayer, public reading and celebrating the sacraments. 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. | Cost $25/person; $20 each for groups of 2 or more, lunch included | AustinSeminary.edu/sunday
Caregiving: Professional Training for Non-Professionals | March 3 | Ron Lovelace and Ken Ramsey, Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisors with Seton Family Healthcare | For pastors, Stephen Ministers, and other caregivers who want to improve their capacities to deal with grief, to convey empathy, and to embrace hope. 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. | Cost $25/person; $20 each for groups of 2 or more, lunch included | AustinSeminary.edu/caregiving In partnership with Seton Healthcare Family Clinical Pastoral Education Crossing the Border with the Bible and Theology | March 24 | The Reverend Dr. Javier Alanis, Director, Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, and The Reverend Dr. Gregory Cuéllar, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Austin Seminary | In this unique event, pastors and church leaders from both English-only and Spanish-only speaking congregations will experience reading the Bible through the context and experience of people crossing the borders of North America. Cost $12, lunch included | AustinSeminary.edu/borderlands In partnership with The Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest and Seminary of the Southwest The Barefoot Way: A Guide for Youth, Young Adults, and the People Who Walk with Them | April 23-25 | Keynote Speaker is Rev. Dr. Dori Baker, Scholar-in-Residence, The Fund for Theological Education with Aram Bae, Doctoral Candidate, Union Theological Seminary, New York | God spoke to Moses at the burning bush, essentially telling him to kick off his flip-flops and get ready to stand on holy ground. God speaks to us all today, asking us to follow a barefoot way—one which invites us to experience the Holy One who has a call on our lives. We will practice a method of theological reflection which will renew us in our callings, even as it challenges us to expand our roles as leaders who act from our own inner wisdom, and learn ways to invite children, youth, and adults in discerning their call to vocations of care for the earth, the church, and all of God’s people. Cost: APCE members $70; non-members $100 In partnership with the South Central Region of Presbyterian Christian Educators (SCRAPCE) Glory to God: A Preview of the New Presbyterian Hymnal | April 26-27 | Michael Waschevski (DMin’03) and Barbara Wheeler, members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, and Scott McNulty, Coordinator of Chapel Music, Austin Seminary Choir Festival | April 26 | Bring your choir and musicians for an evening of spirited singing of songs old and new that will be included in the new hymnal. Presenters will offer comments on why particular pieces were chosen and what they can add to Presbyterian worship. 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. | No fee but registration is required What’s In It for Me? | April 27 | A workshop for present and future clergy and educators that introduces church leaders and seminary students to the worship, liturgical, and musical resources of Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal. Presenters will also discuss how the collection was formed, the theological vision that guided the committee, and issues the committee considered along the way. 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. | Cost: $25 registration fee, lunch included Lear more and register for all events at AustinSeminary.edu/beyondthewalls