Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
In this Issue Graduate fellowships | 4 Chaplains: Making it personal | 8
Alumni awards | 19
Preparing leaders for Christâ€™s church
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PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGI C AL
spring 2018 President
Theodore J. Wardlaw
Chaplains: Making it Personal 8 Introduction
Board of Trustees
G. Archer Frierson II, Chair James C. Allison Margaret Aymer Janice L. Bryant (MDiv’01, DMin’11) Claudia D. Carroll Katherine B. Cummings (MDiv’05) Thomas Christian Currie Jill Duffield (DMin’13) Jackson Farrow Jr. Beth Blanton Flowers, MD Stephen Giles Jesús Juan González (MDiv’92) Walter Harris Jr. John S. Hartman Rhashell D. Hunter Bobbi Kaye Jones (MDiv’80) Keatan A. King Steve LeBlanc J. Sloan Leonard, MD Sue B. McCoy Matthew Miller (MDiv’03) B. W. Payne David Peeples Denise Nance Pierce (MATS’11) Mark B. Ramsey Conrad M. Rocha Matthew E. Ruffner Lana E. Russell Lita Simpson Martha Crawley Tracey John L. Van Osdall Carlton D. Wilde Jr. Elizabeth C. Williams Michael G. Wright
Volume 133 | Number 2
By Phil Helsel
Parachuting into Unknown Territory
Educating for Chaplaincy
By Chris Dunn, Miranda Fontaine, David Watson, Catriona Broadway, and Cathy Reed
By Trace Haythorn
Cover: Called to the scene of a crime in New Orleans, Chaplain David Watson (MDiv’15) confers with the victim’s mother. Read about David’s experience working with the NOPD on page 11. Photograph for The Times Picayune by Michael Democker.
seminary & church
twenty-seventh & speedway
faculty news & notes
alumni news & notes
live & learn
Max Sherman Louis Zbinden
Denise Odom (MDiv’99),President Matt Miles (MDiv’99), Past President Barrett Abernethy (MDiv’13), Vice President Josh Kerr (MDiv’14), Secretary Kennetha Bigham-Tsai (MDiv’03) David Gambrell (MDiv’98) Paul Harris (MATS’10) Melinda Hunt (CIM’16) Sandra Kern (MDiv’93) Carl McCormack (MDiv’95) Daniel Molyneux (MDiv’86) Noemi Ortiz (MATS’15) Valerie Sansing (MDiv’00) Sheila Sidberry-Thomas (MDiv’14) Rita Sims (DMin’15) Ayana Teter (MDiv’06) Caryn Thurman (MDiv’07) Michael Ulasewich (MDiv’05) Kristy Vits (MDiv’98)
Editor Randal Whittington
Selina Aguirre Jacqueline Hefley April Long Gary Mathews Alex Pappas Alison Riemersma Sharon Sandberg Mona Santandrea Kristy Sorensen
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 AustinSeminary.edu ISSN 2056-0556; Non-profit bulk mail permit no. 2473
from the president |
President’s Schedule April 19: Partner Lunch, Dallas, Texas April 26: Coffee with the President, Houston, Texas May 1: Austin-area Alumni Gathering, Austin, Texas May 9: Coffee with the President, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma October 11: Partner Lunch, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma November 15: Partner Lunch, Houston, Texas
his issue of Windows focuses on what Trace Haythorn calls “A Field Coming of Age.” It serves to remind us that seminaries prepare people for vocational service not just in parishes but also, for example, in chaplaincies equipping students for a range of ministries—military chaplaincies, hospital chaplaincies, police chaplaincies, college and university chaplaincies, hospice chaplaincies, retirement home chaplaincies, corporate chaplaincies, and on and on. The essays in the pages ahead focus on this particular vocation, and draw not just from Haythorn’s insights, but also from Professor Phil Browning Helsel and alums Tina Broadway, Chris Dunn, Miranda Fontaine, Cathy Reed, and David Watson. Their stories will help illuminate the broad texture of chaplaincy as a growing pastoral specialty. Elsewhere in this issue is a story about “Shelter From the Storm.” The Seminary, in an effort to reach out to pastors and churches impacted by Hurricane Harvey in early fall of last year, has created a two-weekend program on campus that enables a cohort of pastors from both New Covenant and Mission Presbyteries to process matters of grief and trauma and exhaustion in the context of community. Our first weekend, in February, was a great success by all accounts, and our second weekend, in May, will focus on the experience of trauma in the various communities in which these pastors serve. We are grateful for the courage, compassion, and resilience shown by these pastors who have been continuing to serve their congregations and communities in such trying conditions. We are also grateful for the benevolence of both the Board of Pensions and the Texas Presbyterian Foundation for their support of this program. Finally, I call your attention to the story in the pages ahead that reflects on the life and witness of the Reverend Dr. Robert M. Shelton—beloved professor and dean, and the eighth president of Austin Seminary—who died on March 4th. A number of us from the Seminary attended his funeral at First Presbyterian Church in Dallas on March 7th, and an additional memorial service in Witness to the Resurrection will be held for the extended Seminary community in the Robert M. Shelton Chapel on our campus at 11:10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1. If you are able, we would be pleased to see you among those gathered on that day to give thanks for his ministry.
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2 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Faithfully yours, Theodore J. Wardlaw President
twenty-seventh speedway Shelter from the Storm
Seminary offers recovery weekends for pastors affected by Hurricane Harvey
ustin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, with assistance from The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and the Texas Presbyterian Foundation, developed “Shelter from the Storm: Telling Our Stories, Finding God,” a two-weekend retreat for pastors in the Houston area who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the coast of Texas, resulting in the flooding of Houston and the surrounding areas. Harvey caused over $125 billion in damages, affecting 13 million people and damaging more than 200,000 homes. In an effort to support ministers who were affected by the storm, Austin Seminary developed a weekend retreat in mid-February, to be followed by a second retreat in May. Thirteen pastors from the affected areas participated in the February retreat and more may be added for the May event. Conversations among Seminary President Ted Wardlaw, Lynn Hargrove (MDiv’01), from New Covenant Presbytery, and Phil Helsel, assistant professor of pastoral care, resulted in retreat models that include elements of body, mind, and spiritual care. Austin Seminary then invited The Board of Pensions and the Texas Presbyterian Foundation to support this creative and therapeutic program, and both organizations agreed to provide financial assistance for the two retreats. Frank Spencer, of the Board of Pensions, says, “We wanted to assist members of our Benefits Plan by giving them the freedom to participate without additional costs in a time of dislocation and economic hardship.” Participants were offered an invitation to the retreat based upon recommendations from the affected presbyteries’ moderators and on the “triple threat” scenario of damage to one’s home, damage to one’s church, and damage to the homes of many members of the congregation, with priority given to those pastors who experienced all three. The February retreat consisted of structured conversations, open time for practicing self-care, shared
meals, and a worship service. The Reverends Suzanne Malloy and John Cheek from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance led conversations on mindfulness, prayer, and mental health after disaster. Also on hand was Dr. Andrew Reichert, a local therapist; Professor Helsel and President Wardlaw led the group in worship. The Reverend Laureen Suba (MDiv’14) spoke about the many ways in which taking the time away from her situation in Houston to spend in conversation with other ministers will help her when she returns. “This is a place that is dear to my heart. I felt positive joys coming through, and that to me is what this retreat is about. It’s the aspect of not feeling like you’re alone.” Suba continued, describing the connectional community that formed over the weekend, saying, “This morning at breakfast we were talking about taxes. One of the ministers here is a former tax accountant, and I ended up talking to her about how to tackle our rising insurance costs. There is a community here, true colleagues, with experience and wisdom that we can share with each other.” v
DeChard Freeman (MDiv’08) was the guest preacher this year for the Martin Luther King service on February 13.
Spring 2018 | 3
Senior fellowships recognize ministry potential At the finale of the Austin Seminary Association Banquet on January 31, five Master of Divinity students, who had been elected by the faculty for their academic excellence and promise for ministry, received fellowships. Meet them here and learn why their professors or internship supervisors found them worthy of the awards.
Ibhar “Jasiel” Hernandez | Cuidad Mendoza, Veracruz, Mexico David L. Stitt Fellowship | $18,000 prize
“I joke with Jasiel that he is everywhere. I walk into chapel; he’s there—beadling, handing out bulletins, canting. I go to a fundraising lunch; he’s there—up at the podium, testifying to the value of residential theological education. I go to my church; he’s there—leading our kids’ youth group. And I go into class and he’s there: prepared, curious, respectful, but always pushing to see who and what has been overlooked. Jasiel exemplifies what Paul must have meant when he said we should be ‘all things to all people,’ and not only because he is ‘everywhere,’ but because he participates fully everywhere he is.” –Professor Cynthia Rigby
Erica Nelson | Ogden, Utah Pile-Morgan Fellowship | $8,000 prize
“Erica has been a great gift to the worship life of Austin Seminary. As a chapel beadle, she has served with insight, commitment, organization, and a collaborative spirit. As a singer, she has been a dedicated and expressive voice in worship. In the chapel life of the school, she has brought together a love of beauty, an instinct for ritual, and a passion for justice.” –Professor Eric Wall 4 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Adam Anderson | Columbus, Ohio Janie Maxwell Morris Fellowship | $5,000 prize
“I think Adam enjoyed every challenge that was placed in front of him: there was never a conversation about worship that bored him; no theological nuance too small to deserve his attention; no worship preparation that was too insignificant to receive his care. Adam was always eager to learn and reflect, and yet never took himself too seriously even as he took seriously the tasks we put in front of him.” –Carol Steele Vice President for Program, Montreat; SPM Supervisor
Hierald Osorto | Washington, D.C. Alsup-Frierson Fellowship for Excellence in Biblical Exegesis and Hermeneutics | $3,500 prize
Hierald Osorto, right
“Hierald is a disciplined thinker, avid reader, and theoretical risk-taker. His commitment to critical theory, coupled with a genuine empathy for the human ‘Other,’ has generated some of the most provocative and cutting-edge exegetical papers that I have received—[they] could rival current published commentaries in the field of biblical studies.”
–Professor Gregory Cuéllar
Tyler Henderson | Wichita Falls, Texas W. P. Newell Memorial Fellowship | $3,000 prize
“Tyler has shown a steady commitment to serving the church and living out this commitment in community. While in seminary, he has built upon his gifts of collegiality and kindness to create a sense of hospitality for those around him, allowing this community to help shape his own formation for ministry.” –Professor Carolyn Browning Helsel Spring 2018 | 5
Looking Back: Reflecting on three decades at seminary As Professor Lewie Donelson prepares to retire after thirty-five years on the faculty, Windows invited him into conversation with long-time staff members Jacqueline Hefley, assistant dean and registrar (thirty years), and Rodrigo Rosales, maintenance staff (twenty-eight years) to reminisce about their lives at Austin Seminary. What drew you to Austin Seminary? Why did you stay?
Tell us about something unexpected.
LEWIE: I was at the end of my interview here and I had kind of decided I wasn’t going to do this. The prospect of a career as a professor, there were things about it that were attractive to me, but there were other things in life I was interested in ... and the last thing that happened is, I met with students. There was a little gathering of about five to eight students on the patio of Lubbock Hall. And they started asking me about the New Testament, and they began treating me like I was a teacher. So, I was trying to figure out how to be in that position and talk to them in that way. We talked for an hour and a half. And at the end of that I walked out and I thought, that was really interesting and I like what happened in that space and I liked who they were in that space and who they were asking me to be in that space. And I thought, well, maybe I can do this. And of course, I never did figure out how to teach, but I remain curious about it and I still enjoy it. I just didn’t know I was gonna be here forever …
LEWIE: Stan Hall’s coffin. That was probably an unusual thing. And not just a coffin—it was his coffin, the one he was going to be buried in. It was upright and so you would walk into his office, and it was as if you were a mummy or something, and you were standing in it.
RODRIGO: I had a good chance to make more money because I was offered a job in Chicago. But I thought about my mom and my dad, and I thought, If I take this job in Chicago I’m going to be making more money but in case something happens, it will take me so long to go from Chicago to Texas or straight to Mexico, that I decided, no, Austin is the best place for me.
What has changed in your time here?
JACQUELINE: I started out as the assistant to the director of admissions, and the day I showed up, there was no desk in the office. I had a telephone with Ida Forbes’ cigarette burns on it—the whole office was just covered with tobacco stains— and a chair and one of those tiny little end tables. After a few days, Herman [vice president for business affairs] took me to Barker Furniture to buy a desk. And I’ve been here since.
JACQUELINE: There was Ida Forbes’ gun. She brought it in so that Jack Hodges [head of maintenance] could adjust the sight. It was a rifle and it stayed in her office propped up behind some stuff. I think she kept it just to irritate people. LEWIE: There was a circle of students who each told me they went in to Herman Harren and said, I can’t make this work, I need some money, something broke down and I don’t know what to do. And Herman would say, No, and they would go back mad, and then a few days later, they would get a check, a personal check from Herman to pay for it. So he wouldn’t spend the institution’s money on that, but he would then give the money himself. So, that was Herman. LEWIE: One thing that seems a little different to me now is that students will more readily say what they really think. You could always get them to do that, but sometimes you had to kind of build up a conversation. But now the students come ready to be full in the structure of the class and the content of the class, and I think that’s a very positive change. Technology is the most significant change in the classroom and the way we think about the library. It’s magical what you can do with the cloud. You can go on the internet and show students ancient Greek texts. Before, all you could do was try to describe it, and even then, you wouldn’t know— unless you traveled to libraries around the world—what it really looked like. And now it’s just all there. That’s amazing for me. Photos by Usama Malik
6 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
What about the students?
What event have you enjoyed participating in?
RODRIGO: In the last few years, it’s like they appreciate more what we do for them. I’m not saying in the old days they didn’t care about us, but for a few years now they have been paying for a breakfast for the maintenance department. And they don’t have to, honestly. That’s a nice thing. I really appreciate it and my coworkers feel the same.
JACQUELINE: That would have to be the outdoor chili cook-offs.
LEWIE: The world’s changed because church has changed a lot. So, student expectations about what might happen to them when they graduate and the role of the Seminary and the role of the church, they just look at that differently, and so the conversations are different. But in some ways, students are the same. They are almost overwhelmingly really wonderful people, and they’re kind to each other, they’re kind to the faculty, they are committed to good things in the world, and they’re admirable people. And they were that way when I arrived and they’re still mostly that way. The way that gets articulated is sometimes different, and the way we conduct our discussions is a little different. But I can remember from the beginning just thinking, these are neat people. And I came out of class yesterday and thought, man, those are neat people, those are really, really amazing people in that room. JACQUELINE: I am always appreciative hearing about students who might have had problems with me but who excel in another context. And that’s what made me realize that, you know, just because they just don’t register well doesn’t mean they’re not going to be good ministers!
What have you learned from someone? JACQUELINE: Bob Shelton, as academic dean, had such a knack for the administrative. I didn’t come in here with any specific experience as a registrar. But he taught me everything that I needed to know—and I’m still trying to keep everybody in line. He paid attention. I’ll still find old memos and think, “That was spot on, that was really good.” And Bill Hedrick. This was when I was in financial aid, and I was once writing a memo to students trying to get them to write thank you notes to their donors. And he changed a couple sentences and said, Always try to frame something positively. I know my e-mails don’t speak to this necessarily, but to this day, I remember that and it’s helped—just shift your sentence and look at something from the bright side. Things aren’t bad. Is the glass half empty? That has stuck with me for thirty years and I really appreciated that.
RODRIGO: I love MidWinters because I have a chance to interact with former students. And they always come up and say, You’re still here? I say, Yeah, I’m still here. So, that’s nice. LEWIE: One of the things that I will take with me forever has to be the trips. I went to Turkey ten times with students. There are thousands of stories from those trips. I keep telling faculty, If you go with students on a trip like that, they’re never just students anymore, you just have a different kind of relationship with them. And so whatever tiny hierarchy there is in my classrooms evaporates when you go on these trips and you just see people in a whole different way.
What do you think people will remember you for? How would you like to be remembered? JACQUELINE: I figure that people are going to remember me as a curmudgeon, and maybe it’s because registrars often do this job forever, and anybody who stays in a job this long gets kind of curmudgeonly at the end. I think it’s more just the nature of registrars’ work and doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results yet trying to come up with better ways. Honestly, I would like to be remembered as funny and clever. RODRIGO: Well, I hope a long time after I leave this place, people can remember me because I did my best to keep the campus beautiful. You know, we are neighbors with the University of Texas and they have resources, they have manpower, but I feel we have a better campus. And I’m very proud that I did my part to keep the campus beautiful. I hope that’s going to be my legacy a long time after I leave this place. LEWIE: I have no idea, really. I mean, I don’t know, I want the friendships to persist and I want to remember that we were friends. That’s really kind of it.
Final thoughts? RODRIGO: I remember I came for my job interview the day after Memorial Day. I was twenty-two and I didn’t speak English—there was a translator. And [facilities chief] Jack Hodges asked me, Do you know anything about gardening? And I said, No. Then he asked me, Do you know anything about lawn mowers? Again I said no. And after awhile he said, You know, I’m going to hire you. I’m going to take a chance on you, because I have a feeling you’re going to stick around. v Spring 2018 | 7
Chaplains Making it Personal By Phillip Browning Helsel Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care
hen I was a hospice chaplain, one of my colleagues said we were parachuting into unknown territory each day. Operating outside the church’s walls, you quickly learned to discern contexts without asking too many questions. Chaplains hear a story—and they may be the only ones in their institutions who can. In a hospital or hospice setting, the chaplain’s presence helps the patient feel remembered by God, giving life a sense of sacredness again, gesturing toward grace. I am a pastoral theologian because of my experiences in chaplaincy. When I was a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) resident on the US/Mexico border, I met many people who died alone under Immigration and Customs Enforcement. These individuals perished without identity cards and without family. I thought that these deaths were harder to witness since they occurred without any community. They made me wonder about the meaning of life. Since then, I have dedicated myself to making it less likely that people would have to die alone, which is why I teach pastoral care. I try to show my students how to create community around those who might otherwise die alone, how to surround them with stories, showing them how, bidden or not, God is present. v
8 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
By Chris Dunn (MDiv’13) Dell Children’s Medical Center Austin, Texas
s a chaplain, I have been taught that it is not necessarily my role to have answers for folks when they are grappling with theological questions. But of course, there are always exceptions. One such exception happened when I attended a Care Conference for a child with a critical diagnosis. Our medical team met with the family to explain that there were no further surgical interventions, no additional drugs, and no reparative therapies remaining for which there were any reasonable expectations of efficacy. The team of doctors—consisting of a specialist, a surgeon, a pediatric ICU physician, and a palliative care doctor— shared this news, answered questions, and made their recommendation that the plan of care shift to comfort measures and that artificial ventilation be discontinued. The family was devastated, as you would imagine. It was a heartbreaking meeting for everyone in the room. At this type of meeting I am mainly present for emotional and moral support (for both the family and the staff). I tend to do much more listening than talking, so I think everyone in the room was caught off guard when the mother had one final question before the meeting ended and it was for me. She wanted to know if her child “was saved” despite not having been baptized. So much of my pastoral care training whispered the correct reply into my ear—“Well, what do you think?” Thankfully what echoed much louder in my head and in my heart was a message from Cindy Rigby’s sermon at the 2012 Baccalaureate service, that sometimes people desperately want and frankly need us to know things and to speak with authority rather than equivocate into a sea of—nobody really knows for sure. So, without reservation I stated emphatically “[Your child] is beloved by God and nothing will ever change that fact. The sacrament of baptism is what we refer to as an outward sign of inward
Photo by Kallie Pitcock
grace. It is not a prerequisite for salvation, but instead it acknowledges what we already know to be true. We belong to God, and the sacrament of baptism celebrates our incorporation into Christ’s body, the church.” Having said that, I offered that if having their child baptized was something that would be meaningful to them I would be honored to do that for them. But regardless of their answer, I assured them that God’s heart was breaking, too, and nothing we did or did not do would change God’s loving eternal embrace of their child. Bolstered by theology and practices taught to me by Cindy Rigby, K.C. Ptomey, Jen Lord, David Johnson, and so many others from Austin Seminary, I celebrated the sacrament of baptism for this young saint while hymns of praise were sung by a grandparent. And since God is better than any Hollywood screenwriter, as I left work that day with tears streaming down my cheeks, there was a giant rainbow in the sky to remind me of the covenant between God and all the earth. v Spring 2018 | 9
Photo by Usama Malik
bout twenty years ago, I took a Greek exegesis [critical interpretation] class on the book of Revelation and was overwhelmed. Professor John Alsup remained after class to help with some remedial teaching. Somehow, we started talking about never letting ourselves feel forgiven. The time I remembered was ten years earlier when I had made a mistake in my job at the Lighthouse in Shreveport, Louisiana. As I “confessed” the mistake to John, he said, “Let’s pray.” It had not been the norm to pray one-on-one with my professors. He prayed and asked that I might encounter that torrent of grace and forgiveness that had already been poured out on me. John also “confessed” to me an issue that still worried him, and I prayed for him. My prayer was not so beautiful; it was heartfelt and full of anxiety—how could I pray for a professor? This moment changed me. After all those years, my own self-judgment began cracking away. The release allowed space for God’s grace via the love from a professor to begin my long-needed healing. And, I began to learn how to pray for people who are more intelligent and powerful than I by doing it, my way: heartfelt, with much anxiety. As a chaplain, I remember John as I am invited to hear patients and families talk about their most personal confessions. Because John prayed with me, I understand
By Miranda Fontaine (MDiv’00) Hospice Austin Austin, Texas 10 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
that visceral feeling of release that grace shared can bring. Another teachable moment of grace happened in a pastoral care class taught by Professor Ralph Underwood. In the class, we were divided up to listen in groups of three. I went to Ralph because one of the three of our group would not listen—the person would only give feedback and talk. Frustrated, I didn’t think it was fair. Ralph listened carefully to the problem and said, “Why don’t you stick it out a little longer?” The non-listener did not change, but I learned to listen more. How much that extra practice at listening has helped me! Even now, if I would always listen two times more than I do, I would be in chaplain nirvana. Today, I see a patient who reminds me of those seminary moments. She has lived a good life filled with love, trauma, and the loss of loved ones and pets. Yet, she chooses to live as her best self with joy. When I visit her, I try to listen twice and pray my heartfelt and anxious prayer: “Amen sister, you have done your work, may you feel that torrent of healing grace now and forever more.” What I learned in seminary, and am reminded daily from patients, friends, and family, is that these teachable moments of grace are here for us, each of us. My calling as a chaplain is to notice the moments and point them out to those I serve and in the world. I wonder if living life is to simply notice grace and listen? v
or the past year and a half, since my graduation from Austin Seminary and a chaplain residency program at Seton Medical Center in Austin, I have been working for a non-profit organization in New Orleans called Baptist Community Ministries (BCM). BCM has numerous departments that contribute to different needs throughout the community. One way they meet community needs is to staff the city of New Orleans with the majority of professional chaplains throughout the area. Most are assigned to area hospitals and retirement communities, but there are four of us who are assigned to serve as chaplains for the New Orleans Police Department. Last fall, in the middle of the night I was awakened by a phone call from a command desk operator informing me that an officer, a detective, had suffered a major heart attack and was being rushed to the hospital in critical condition. I arrived before the ambulance and police escort, and I checked in with the trauma personnel as we all took our places in the trauma bay awaiting what would come through those doors. A few minutes later I heard the sirens draw near as the bay doors swung open. The chaotic environment of a dying officer was one that I had only heard about, but had not yet seen.
The team worked hard to save the detective’s life. As the trauma team continued compressions, I comforted some of the responding officers. Unfortunately the detective could not be resuscitated and a few minutes later was pronounced dead. There are few things in this world that I have experienced that are more horrible than the declaration of death in a trauma bay, and I believe one of the most important roles of a chaplain is to bring the love and comfort of Christ’s presence into all situations, especially in difficult times like this. As is customary during occasions like this, the Superintendent of Police accompanied the family to a private room where the attending physician delivered the news of the detective’s death. I have learned through my experience as a chaplain that death is such a jarring reality that less is more when it comes to the care I offer. In this traumatic time I remained present and open to the family members to express their grief and served as a safe space for them to seek comfort. A few days later I received a phone call from the detective’s eldest daughter. She asked if I would preside over her father’s funeral. I was honored that she would ask me to be a part of such a significant event in the life of Continued on page 15
Photo by Joe Cull
By David Watson (MDiv’15) Baptist Community Ministries New Orleans, Louisiana
Spring 2018 | 11
am daily grateful for my seminary education. I feel that much of what I was taught deeply informs why and what I do. Systematic Theology, with Professor Rigby, changed forever how I view people. Her comment that after ascending to heaven, Jesus is still enfleshed helped me grasp in a way I had not previously that every one of us is given great dignity by this: Jesus is flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. I therefore remember that all our patients are people first, endowed with dignity who happen to be living with mental illness. If it were not for Professor David Johnson’s suggestion that taking a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education might be helpful to me in my search for a job, I would not now be in the place I am today. That one unit turned into five and a vocation. I serve as chaplain in a psychiatric hospital that helps patients return to baseline. Some patients stay four or five days, others two to three weeks or more. Some people can be deeply ill, hallucinating and hearing voices. Others are dealing with bipolar mania. Some are struggling with major depression or addiction. Often a person of faith can feel very removed from God at such a time. As a chaplain I am called to serve all, whatever the person’s faith or belief. So, one of the classes I am very glad that I took was world religions with Professor Whit Bodman. It has helped me greatly! Visiting a mosque and praying with the women there was an experience I will never forget. I also learned that for a Muslim every Quran is in itself holy and to be treated with respect. I have a “find Mecca” app on my phone; this shows which way one must face to pray towards Mecca as a Muslim. Professor Bodman mentioned this app in class. Patients are both grateful and surprised that a nonMuslim chaplain would have such a thing on her phone. On request, I will look up and print out prayers from a patient’s faith tradition in whatever language is needed to help them. We also have many religious books from different faiths for the patients to use. One of our Qurans is a beautiful but heavy, hard-backed book. It is given to the patients with the understanding that it will be kept in the nurse’s station when not in use, and it will be read
By Catriona Broadway (MDiv’12) Seton Shoal Creek Hospital Austin, Texas 12 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Photo by Usama Malik
under the nurse’s watch. This is a safety precaution to protect patients from someone who might use the heavy object as a weapon. To see Muslim patients overjoyed to have this holy book in their grasp and to see smiles where there was deep sadness is profoundly moving. Giving a Quran is an affirmation of personhood and faith. It is help in a time of great distress. These are some of the reasons why I do what I do and why I am so very grateful to the Seminary for my education. v
By Cathy Reed (MDiv’99) Ludlum Measurements Inc. Sweetwater, Texas
As we go out into the world, let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord ...
Photo by Joe Rivera
hese are words that I have heard and said countless times as a charge to the people when we conclude worship and prepare to go out into the world. As we leave worship on Sunday mornings we carry God’s love with us, hoping to make peace happen as we serve the Lord in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our places of work. It is with great joy that I am called to live this charge out as my vocation. As the corporate chaplain for a family-owned business that designs, manufactures, and sells radiation de-
tection instruments and technologies, I provide pastoral care for the 350 employees in our Sweetwater, Texas, facilities. Our employees come from many different educational, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I provide pastoral care for assembly line workers and maintenance crews, engineers and accountants, physicists and artists, just to name a few. Many of our employees are people of strong faith who are active in local congregations. Some have never had a faith relationship. Others have had a faith crisis that has led them to leave the church and/or reject God. On many occasions I have walked alongside employees as they have wrestled with various issues, and I have witnessed God do amazing things in their lives. One such occasion began with a hospital visit to Ruth, an employee who had undergone some cardiac testing. The test results showed that Ruth’s physical heart was fine. Some time later, though, after thinking about her health scare and then dealing with the death of a family member, she realized that her spiritual heart was not fine. Ruth began coming by my office frequently to talk about issues she was having trouble resolving, because of grief she was experiencing. She brought up some very challenging theological issues in our talks. Ruth had never had a personal relationship with God. In fact she was quite the skeptic. Over time she began dancing around the idea of what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and eventually she came to know and accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Soon after, she became a very active member of a local congregation. It was a very humbling experience for me to be used by God in her life and to witness her transformation. In every aspect of my work with Continued on page 15 Spring 2018 | 13
Educating for chaplaincy by Trace Haythorn Changing American Religious Landscape On May 12, 2015, the Pew Research Center published new data showing the rapidly changing religious demographics of the United States: “Between 2007 and 2014, the Christian share of the population fell from 78.4% to 70.6%, driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics. The unaffiliated (aka the “nones” or “spiritual but not religious”) experienced the most growth, and the share of Americans who belong to non-Christian faiths also increased” (Pew Research Center, http://pewrsr.ch/1JkQbE5). In some ways, this report is a mile-marker on a road we have been traveling for decades. In others, it is perhaps a clarion call for new forms of religious leadership, those that can meet the spiritual needs of people regardless of their tradition, especially in moments when they are most vulnerable. Chaplaincy: A Field Coming of Age Enter the chaplain. While historians trace the origins of chaplaincy to the fourth century CE, the profession is only now coming into the kind of maturation that is needed to address these changes. For decades, chaplaincy has been a kind of step-child to parish ministry. It was a place where those who could not receive (or would not be appointed to) parish positions could still practice meaningful ministry. Today, chaplaincy is growing in a variety of contexts. Many people are familiar with chaplains in hospitals and hospice. Others may be familiar with military or prison chaplains. Less familiar are those who serve as chaplains of seaports and airports, those who serve in business and industry, those who work with the police and fire departments, and even those who serve on cruise ships. One of my favorite contexts is an urban neighborhood, which, after experiencing what one might call “salvation fatigue,” i.e. they have grown weary of all the store-front churches and ministries that have come into the neighborhood to “save” them, chose instead to hire someone from the neighborhood for ten hours a week as their community chaplain, a member of the community who checks on latch-key kids and older adults, a trusted friend who is committed to the
well-being of the neighborhood. As people seek to have their spiritual needs met, I have no doubt we will see continuing innovation in chaplaincy. This growth has created demand from theological education for programs to equip this emerging group of leaders. The Rise of Academic Programs In 2017, George Fitchett (Rush University/ACPE), Wendy Cadge (Brandeis University), Beth Stroud (ACPE), and I received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to map the ways theological institutions are educating chaplains. We have identified more than eighty different programs, ranging from a course or two that explore chaplaincy to majors in a specific context of chaplaincy (e.g. military or healthcare chaplaincy). Of those, eight are specifically doctor of ministry programs. Each of these programs seem to be working to reshape the idea of formation for ministry. For many years, education for chaplaincy has been an “add-on” to many master of divinity (MDiv) degrees. Today, a chaplaincy focus is becoming one of the ways seminary students are being formed for ministry. The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) has partnered with several of these programs, working to integrate meaningful Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) placements as a part of these degrees. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary has taken a leadership role in innovation for chaplaincy education, offering a new focus in the doctor of ministry (DMin) degree. The program is designed to build on the caregiving skills of parish clergy while also offering courses that advance the practice of chaplains and CPE educators. As executive director of ACPE, I see two important aspects of these programs. First, the intentional focus on formation for chaplaincy is long overdue. Military programs have done this well for decades, though often in service to a particular denomination. Today, those programs are offering more of a multi-faith formation that recognizes the pluralism of the American context as an asset. Second, with the decline in sustainable parish positions, students need more options for the practice
The Reverend Dr. Trace Haythorn is executive director of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) and an adjunct professor in Austin Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program. Educated at Syracuse University, Princeton Seminary, and Austin College, he has been an executive (Frazer Center and the Fund for Theological Education in Atlanta), professor (Hastings College), and pastor (Westminster Presbyterian Church, Nashville). 14 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
of ministry in contexts where they can thrive (not just survive). My colleagues and I hear of more and more clergy who are seeking board certification as chaplains even as they seek to serve a parish. In many contexts, they may find a part-time parish position and a parttime hospital or hospice position. The result is not only a sustainable income but also a ministry that has greater impact because of the opportunities to engage in different but complementary contexts. Emerging Research While we need a great deal more research into spiritual care and the practices that make it most effective, there is an emerging body of findings coming largely from healthcare. The Transforming Chaplaincy Project (http://www.transformchaplaincy.org/), a pioneering partnership of Rush University, Brandeis University, and the Joint Research Council, is teaching research literacy, supporting new research, and cataloguing existing research as a means of advancing and integrating contemporary scholarship into practice. While some publications are beginning to appear from military and marketplace chaplaincy research, we need many more studies in the other contexts cited— perhaps fodder for some good Austin Seminary DMin research projects! Conclusion In 1990, I attended a midwinter gathering of interns at my seminary. I was mid-way through a one-year CPE residency at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. A senior administrator from the seminary asked us each to take a moment and talk about our experiences. I shared my sense of deep privilege of walking with children, their families, and the staff in the midst of such devastating moments in their lives. Even today, when I tell the stories of those experiences I feel a deep sense of connection with those people and that place. After I finished speaking, the administrator asked me why I would waste my gifts for ministry in chaplaincy. I was shocked and wounded, though I think he meant to compliment me. Neither of us knew how drastically the religious landscape of the United States would change over the next three decades. Today, I hope he would say, “The church and the people of God need more people like you to pursue such ministries.” Austin Seminary recognizes it, along with eighty other seminaries. It is time for us to grow our models of ministry to serve the emerging world, for God seems to be leading us to just such a calling. v
Continued from page 11 their family. As I met with the family and began planning his funeral, I put into practice many of the things that I learned during my time in seminary. One of those things is the value and importance of worship, particularly when it comes to services like funerals. The words of Professor Jen Lord echoed in my head, “Remember that a funeral is not just a celebration of someone’s life, but that the central focus should be on the witness to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As various family and friends arrived at the daughter’s house, I listened to story after story about a man who loved his family, his colleagues, and the work that he did serving and protecting the people of New Orleans. I was reminded of the importance of storytelling in worship, and here I got the chance to tell not only this man’s story, but to also weave it in to the story of God’s redemption of the whole of creation. The funeral was not only a moment for the detective’s family to come together and grieve, it also was an opportunity for the officers to mourn the loss of a brother in blue. It was a chance for me to preach the gospel to a diverse group of people who needed to hear hope in the midst of sadness and death. And that is ultimately what I am privileged to do as a chaplain, I get to preach the gospel of hope every day in simple acts of presence, comfort, and steadfast relationship. v
Cathy Reed Continued from page 13 Ruth, I leaned heavily on things I learned as a student at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Most of the people that I work with simply want to know that someone is there to listen. Ruth needed much more than a listening ear. She needed to work through her thoughts in a safe environment where she could challenge and be challenged. I remember being one of Cindy Rigby’s students and how she challenged me to broaden the scope of how I think theologically. In the years since then I have indeed broadened the breadth and depth of my thinking. Because of that, I am able to provide not only a ministry of presence and a listening ear, but also a safe spot for theological reflection and ongoing conversation for the people I work with. v Spring 2018 | 15
faculty news notes
Carolyn Helsel tackles hard conversations about racism in new book
his spring, Chalice Press published a new book by Professor Carolyn Browning Helsel, Anxious to Talk about It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Racism. According to the publisher, “Professor and pastor Carolyn Helsel draws on her successful experiences with white congregations to offer us tools and practices to explore the anxious feelings that can come up when talking about racism. Move through the anxiety and learn to join the hard conversations with less fear, more compassion, and more knowledge of self, others, and the important issues at stake.” Walter Brueggemann of Columbia Theological Seminary says, “This book is spot-on for the kinds of conversations we need to be having. Carolyn Helsel offers ready access to approach the hard issues of race without being adversarial. Her writing is deeply personal, reflecting her own path of growth. At the same time it is acutely informed by developmental theory and is pervaded by a generous pastoral sensibility.” Dr. Helsel is assistant professor of homiletics and has served on the faculty since 2015. Her teaching focuses on preaching and storytelling, as well as engaging congregations in conversations. Helsel is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). She has served on the Synod Work Group on Race for the Synod of the Northeast. This is her first published book. v
A book signing at Austin’s BookPeople in February introduced the city to Professor Helsel’s new book, Anxious to Talk About It.
On December 31, John Alsup, The First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, D. Thomason Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies, far right, added another title: Pastor Emeritus. For thirty years, he has been pastor to the congregation at Sunrise Beach Federated Church on Lake LBJ. Over time, he has introduced generations of Austin Seminary students to the church, and they have become partners in his ministry. One of the last of those, Kevin Henderson (MDiv’16), center, was ordained on February 4 as the new pastor of Sunrise Beach. Along to celebrate both occasions were: Michele Goff (MDiv’15), Layton Williams (MDiv’14), and Professor Jennifer Lord.
faculty notes | Whit Bodman (world religions) will be participating in the National Council of Churches Jewish-Christian dialogue in Providence, Rhode Island, April 30-May 1. He will keynote the Men’s Retreat at Mo-Ranch, May 3-5, speaking on “The Roots of ISIS: The Torsions and Distortions of Islam.” Carolyn Browning Helsel is on the road—from Austin to Boston—engaging with audiences around her new
book. Look for her at Austin’s University United Methodist Church on April 29 and the Festival of Homiletics in Washington, D.C, on May 22.
Proclamation Has Gone Out Into All the Earth: An Account of the Aural Iconography of Orthodox Church Bells” for Proceedings (December 2017).
Philip Browning Helsel (pastoral care) wrote “Comics and In-Between Kids: Using Graphic Novels with Second Generation Adolescents,” for Pastoral Psychology (April 2018).
Blair Monie (pastoral ministry) will preach for the Grace Presbytery meeting on May 19, at First Presbyterian, Richardson, Texas, on June 10, and in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, on August 12.
Jennifer Lord (homiletics and liturgics) led Jan-term students in an intensive immersion experience with Eastern Orthodox Christianity in San Francisco. She wrote “Their
16 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Melissa Wiginton (research / Methodist studies) presented on a panel at the Lilly Endowment Gathering of Young Adult Innovation Hub
Leaders in March. In April, she will present “Places and Spaces of Theological Education: The Story of Austin Seminary” for The University of Texas Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. In January Phil WingeierRayo (evangelism and mission and Methodist studies) presented the paper, “Devolution: The Dilemma for Bible Women in India” at the conference Currents, Perspectives, and Methodologies in World Christianity, hosted by Princeton Seminary. v
good reads | C.E. Morgan, The Sport of Kings; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (2016)
his book is not about theology or homiletics, or anything else academically religious. Neither is it what I would call “a beach book”—a light confection like the ones I read in the summertime when my toes are dug into the sand of Edisto Island. Truly, this book is somewhere in between. It is entertaining, sometimes provocative, and deeply thoughtful. Its prose is often so deliciously wrought that I want to weep. Spoiler alert: it is ridiculously long at 545 pages, and it desperately needs an editor. Nonetheless, there are whole sections that are gorgeously written, and my internal wordsmith remained engaged enough by such sections to finish the book. Moreover, in this fraught time of raw racial inequities and perhaps the possibility of our culture’s climbing together toward new and redemptive ground, the storyline is both compelling and instructive. It centers on several generations of both a Kentucky dynastic family eventually transitioning their large and noble farm from traditional agriculture to horse-racing, and the descendants of their slaves. In the current generation, a prized Thoroughbred named Hellsmouth—sired by Secretariat and a contender for the Triple Crown—brings together Henrietta, heiress to the horse family’s fortune, and Allmon, the horse’s chief handler and, eventually, the father of their child who is destined to inherit the horse farm. C.E. Morgan is a relatively new writer in her early forties who grew up in Kentucky. She went to Berea College, famous for offering a tuition-free education for poor and working-class Appalachians in exchange for students’ labor while they are enrolled. After graduating from Berea, Morgan also earned a degree from Harvard Divinity School. Still —Reviewed by Ted Wardlaw, president of Austin Seminary
breaking out, she has already earned a number of book awards and, with this book, was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. One hears in The Sport of Kings much evidence of both Morgan’s lived experience in Kentucky and her years in divinity school pondering matters philosophical and theological. Honestly, in my judgment, the book is a reflection on Original Sin across the centuries separating the farm’s being carved out of virgin forest from the times we are living in now. Its most obvious religious commentary is spoken from the mouth of Allmon’s grandfather—known as “The Reverend”—an African-American preacher who runs a halfway house in Cincinnati, and the most important male figure in Allmon’s life. Consider what The Reverend says in answer to a profound question from Allmon—still a child and years away from the circumstances that lead him to the Kentucky horse farm—having to do with where Jesus is in the absence of justice. “Jesus ain’t gonna force your hand,” the Reverend replies. “He just lives in you like a hope and shows you what he looks like every day, and you get to decide if you’re gonna make your life look like justice, even though you can’t see him nowhere, or if you’re gonna make your life look like fame or fancy things or money and whatnot. Now most people, they choose fancy things and money, because you can see all them, you can hold all them in your hand. But all them things you can’t see is what matters most. They live in the mind and the heart. The perfect things, like justice.” Then, without warning, the Reverend was praying, “Dear God, look at this child growing. Being a man is a heavy, heavy burden. Help his heart, Lord Jesus. Help him not be afraid. Help his heart to justice, even if the road gets rough and he’s got to drag a cross to Calvary. Bless all the little children, even the ones that don’t know you yet, Jesus. Amen.” It is the fervent hope for just this sort of justice that threads through the book, from start to finish. I recommend it. v
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Certificado en Ministerio El Antiguo Testamento y Exegesis Plantación de Iglesias y Evangelismo Spring 2018 | 17
Former Seminary President Bob Shelton dies
he Reverend Dr. Robert M. Shelton, Jean Brown Germany, Asia, and Latin America to conduct and Professor Emeritus of Homiletics and Liturgics and attend various seminars and retreats; in 1970 he was a former President (1996-2002) of Austin Presbyterian delegate to the World Alliance of Reformed Churches Theological Seminary, died in Dallas, Texas, on March 4, in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1993, during the only sabbatical 2018. year he ever took while serving on the Austin Seminary Shelton, who joined faculty, Shelton was the Austin Seminary elected and served as faculty in 1971, was moderator of the 163rd named the Jean Brown General Assembly of the Professor of Homiletics Cumberland Presbyterian and Liturgics in 1982. Church. He served as academic Shelton earned a BA dean for fifteen years from Maryville College, and as president for a BD from Memphis six years until his Theological Seminary, retirement in 2002. and a ThM and PhD from Shelton’s presidential Princeton Theological leadership steered the Seminary. He authored Seminary through its two books, A Changing Centennial Celebration Universe, An Unchanging in 2002, implemented a God and The Use of culture of institutional Things, though he will planning, and guided be remembered most the Seminary’s first for his reflections on comprehensive the “theology of Willie fundraising campaign. Nelson.” Upon his “Across Bob Shelton’s retirement from Austin long tenure at Austin Seminary, the Board Seminary, he was a of Trustees named the steward of the Seminary’s Seminary chapel—to Bob Shelton delivered the 2007 commencement address to a class interests, in ways both which he was especially heralded and unheralded, in which his wife, the Reverend Frances Tilton Shelton (MDiv’93), devoted—in his honor. received the Doctor of Ministry degree. at many critical Following retirement, junctures,” said Austin Shelton served in interim Seminary President Theodore J. Wardlaw. “During his pastorates for First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, years at the Seminary, he had a huge, formative impact First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, and NorthPark, upon many grateful students and colleagues.” First, and Lake Highland Presbyterian Churches in the Ordained in the Cumberland Presbyterian tradition, Dallas area. Shelton came to Austin Seminary after teaching Bob is survived by his wife, Fran Shelton, their for three years at Memphis Theological Seminary children, Tammy, Jim, Omi, and Sarah, and five and serving as pastor to Park Avenue Cumberland grandchildren. A service of Witness to the Resurrection, Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. From Wednesday, March 7, at First Presbyterian Church, 1963 to 1969 he served as pastor of First Cumberland Dallas, was presided over by Austin Seminary alumni Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Tennessee, and prior to Ken Peters (MDiv’83), Rebecca Chancellor Sicks that he served churches in New Jersey and Tennessee. (MDiv’08), and Walker Westerlage Jr. (MDiv’81). He was president of the Council of Southwestern On Tuesday, May 1, the greater Austin Seminary Theological Schools, treasurer of the Presbyterian community will gather in Shelton Chapel at 11:10 a.m. Association of Musicians, and served on numerous for a Service in Witness to the Resurrection and in committees and boards of the Presbyterian Church gratitude to God for the life and legacy of the Reverend (U.S.A.). He served the church abroad, traveling to Dr. Robert McElroy Shelton. All are welcomed. v 18 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
alumni news notes
Austin Seminary Association Awards for Service
Two scholars honored with 2018 alumni award The Reverend Dr. Valerie Bridgeman (MDiv’90) is a biblical scholar who has
taught at Memphis Theological Seminary, Lancaster Theological Seminary, and Methodist Theological School in Ohio where she is also interim dean. Bridgeman is the founding president and CEO of WomanPreach! Inc.—a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring preachers to full prophetic voice. Bridgeman earned a BA in communication and religion from Trinity University, an MDiv from Austin Seminary, and a PhD from Baylor University. Her accomplishments include cochairing the American Academy of Religion’s steering committee of The Bible in Racial, Ethnic, and Indigenous Communities; serving on the Society for the Arts in Religious Theological Studies steering committee (2011-2014); and serving as the co-chair of African American Biblical Hermeneutics and Women in the Biblical World Section for the Society of Biblical Literature. She was inducted into the Society for the Study of Black Religion in 2007 and into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars and Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2010. She is currently on the Y. A. Flunder Foundation Advisory Board, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Board of Trustees, the Black Theology Journal editorial board, and the Journal for the Bible and Transformation editorial board.
The Reverend Dr. David Gambrell (MDiv’98) is a
poet, musician, and liturgical scholar who currently serves as associate for worship in the office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). A prolific hymn writer, Gambrell is co-editor of a new edition of the Book of Common Worship (WJKP, 2018) and an advisory member of the committee that developed the 2013 Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God. He served as coordinator of revisions to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Directory for Worship, liturgist for the Summer Worship Series at Montreat Conference Center, faculty member of spirituality for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Board of Pensions CREDO program, adjunct faculty for Austin Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry Program, and representative to the Consultation on Common Texts. He has also served in many capacities for the Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM) Worship and Music Conferences at Montreat Conference Center. He earned a BA in anthropology from Louisiana State University, an MDiv from Austin Seminary, and a PhD in liturgical studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2013. He served on the staff of Austin Seminary and was ordained in 2003 as associate pastor for St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Austin.
Spring 2018 | 19
alumni news notes
class notes | 1970s
Ronnie Holloman (MDiv’76) and Paul Thompson (MDiv’77, DMin’77), were honorably retired by Grace Presbytery on December 31, 2017.
Steve Plunkett (MDiv’80), was honorably retired by Grace Presbytery on December 31, 2017. Sam Stocks, husband of Karen H. Stocks (MDiv’85), died on Nov. 23, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas.
Kris Crawford (MDiv’94) is serving as minister of spiritual direction at Grace Presbyterian Village in Dallas, Texas. Kathy Anderson (MDiv’97) is serving as chaplain and director of programs at Presbyterian MoRanch Assembly, Hunt, Texas. Holly Hasstedt Hoppe (MDiv’99) was installed as designated co-pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church, Round Rock, Texas, on February 11, 2018. Cindy Kohlmann (MDiv’99) and Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri
are running for co-moderators for the PC(USA)’s 223rd General Assembly.
Mary Street Wilson (MDiv’06) is a candidate for the US House of Representatives. She’s vying for the Texas 21st Congressional District.
Lee and Kate McGee (MDiv’10) have joyfully welcomed home their three adopted sons, Michael, Kamden, and Koen. Amy Wiles (MDiv’11) was named one of the “20 under 40” in the Waterloo/Cedar Fall Iowa area by the Waterloo/Cedar Fall Courier. Jim Christensen, who nominated Wiles for the award said, “She is an energizing force for building collaborations and fostering leadership in others.” Laureen Suba (MDiv’14) was installed on January 14, 2018, as designated pastor for St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas. Holly Swift (MDiv’14) is serving as chaplain with Brookdale Hospice in Austin, Texas. Cindy Eschliman Mood (MDiv’15) is serving as a social worker at Walnut Hills Nursing
webXtra: to nominate someone for a 2019
ASA Award, go to: AustinSeminary.edu/nominate or you can contact Gary Mathews, director of alumni and church relations, (gmathews@ austinseminary.edu; 512-404-4806) for more information.
Denise Odom is new ASA president Each year the Austin Seminary Association conducts its annual meeting at the ASA Banquet. The following officers were elected on January 31: Denise Odom (MDiv’99), president; Barrett Abernethy (MDiv’13) vice-president and president elect; Joshua P. Kerr (MDiv’14), secretary. Matt Miles (MDiv’99) is past president. Elected to the Class of 2018 was Rita Sims (DMin’15); to the Class of 2019 was Melinda Hunt (CIM’16); and to the Class of 2020: David Gambrell (MDiv’98), Paul Harris (MATS’10), Carl McCormack (MDiv’95), Noemi Ortiz (MATS’15), Valerie Sansing (MDiv’00), and Sheila Sidberry-Thomas (MDiv’14). 20 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Above, Kate McGee (MDiv’10) and her fellas
and Rehabilitation Center in Austin, Texas. Alice Phiri, wife of Arnold Mlindakaya Phiri (MATS’16), died on January 4, 2018, in Mzuzu, Malawi. Josh Kerr (MDiv’14) presented a CIM certificate to Mike Dvorak (CIM’17) on December 24. Mike is a member of First Presbyterian Church, Perry, Oklahoma, where Josh serves. Jessie Light-Wells (MDiv’17) is serving as the Monie Pastoral Resident at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas. Meg Vail (MDiv’17) has been called as associate pastor for Christian education, youth, and young adult ministries at First Presbyterian Church, Logan, Utah.
ordinations | Sarah de la Fuente (MDiv’15) was ordained by Mission Presbytery on December 9, 2017; she is serving as pastor for A-Tribe, a 1001 Worshiping Community. Jim DeMent (MDiv’17) was ordained by New Covenant Presbytery as interim pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Victoria, Texas. Trey Haddon (MDiv’17) was ordained by Mission Presbytery on February 11, 2018, and installed as pastor for St. John Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas. Jean-Paul C. Marshall
(MDiv’17) was ordained in Grace Presbytery on January 14, 2018. He was installed as associate pastor for Christian education at Rye (New York) Presbyterian Church. Evan Solice (MDiv’17) was ordained at Hope Chapel, Austin, Texas, on February 25, 2018. Rebekah Tucker-Motley (MDiv’17) was ordained by Mission Presbytery on November 26, 2017; she serves as director of spiritual life for Pan American School, Kingsville, Texas.
in memoriam | Faries McDaniel (MDiv’50), February 2, 2018, Austin, Texas William “Bill” Hedrick (MDiv’65), January 6, 2018, Albuquerque, New Mexico W. Guy DeLaney (MDiv’66), November 17, 2017, Little Rock, Arkansas W. Franklin “Frank” Mansell Jr. (MDiv’66), December 22, 2017, Charleston, West Virginia Thomas “Tom” H. Schmid (MDiv’71), December 25, 2017, Santa Barbara, California Henry M. White (MDiv’88), February 14, 2018, Hempstead, Texas Suzanne Skipper Steves (MDiv’90), January 15, 2018, Austin, Texas Jane Johnson (MDiv’06), wife of Professor David Johnson, January 30, 2018, Austin, Texas
upcoming from education beyond the walls 787 STUDIO: “Ten-Minute Play Bake-Off” |Presented by the 787 Collective|April 26; $5|Need to refill your creativity reservoir? Stretch your imagination muscles? Try this. Local
Austin playwrights will combine ingredients from biblical history and theology, sift in humor, and add a dash of pathos, resulting in delectable insights through ten-minute plays. This is the second in a four-part series leading to a veritable feast of play readings. The 787 Collective will present a selection of plays in a staged reading format. Come get a taste of the collaborative efforts of theology and theater, and join in dialogue with the writer, readers, and fellow listeners.|Recommended for anyone interested in connecting head and heart and faith and art. Especially for
The College of Pastoral Leaders at Austin Seminary
congregations involved in the 787 Collective.
WEBINAR WEDNESDAY: “Young Adults and the Church” with Melissa Wiginton and Martha Lynn Coon|May 2, Noon - 1:00 p.m. (CT); $10 (online only)|Twenty-somethings in church are as rare as hens’ teeth. What’s going on? Through
the 787 Collective, we are working to find the stories of why, what matters, and what’s next. Join us as we present our best thinking and emerging insights. Bring your own knowledge, experience, insight, and questions for a lively hour together.|Limited to 25 participants.
EMERGING METHODIST VOICES: “Constructing a Narrative of Revitalization” with Donna Claycomb Sokol|Presented by The Wesley Connection| May 9; $60 (lunch and the presenter’s book included)|Led by a fresh voice in The United
Methodist Church, pastors will delve into stories of transformation to share practices, gain perspective, and find encouragement for new life. Pastors will reflect together as peers upon their experiences, and, with the leadership of Rev. Claycomb, co-construct narratives of God’s revitalization of the local church. Each participant will take away new ideas, strategies, and good questions, but also an experience of freshening hope in community led by a wise pastor with expertise in urban church revival. |For pastors of all denominations who are leading congregations experiencing or longing for renewal.
Announcing a screening and conversation with the director of
An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story April 24, 2018, 6:30 p.m., co-produced with UT’s Harry Ransom Center
AustinSeminary.edu/Niebuhr 787 Collective announces core congregational partners
he 787 Collective is a new innovation hub for congregations. Members of the 787 Collective learn together and experiment with new ways of responding to the lives of people in their mid-to-late twenties in and around Austin. Lodged in Education Beyond the Walls, this fiveyear project is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. The work will generate learning that can be shared broadly to support congregations who seek to engage young adults. Twelve congregations form the foundation of the 787 Collective, and each will receive a grant to fund innovation: Central Christian Church (Austin), Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church (San Antonio), First English Lutheran Church (Austin), Forest Hills Presbyterian Church (Helotes), Gateway Church South (Austin), Good Shepherd on the Hill Episcopal Church (Austin), Iglesia Conexiones (Marble Falls), Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry (Austin), St. David’s Episcopal Church (Austin), St. John’s United Methodist Church (Austin), The Office of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministry (Catholic Diocese of Austin), and Triumphant Love Lutheran Church (Austin).
“Resistance through Preaching and Song” is a cohort of pastors which has received a grant from the College of Pastoral Leaders.
“Our traditions all value the role of song in worship, and we believe that by creating new and countercultural songs in the style of Taizé we can help open people’s ears to hearing the gospel in a new way.” Application Deadline
May 15, 2018 AustinSeminary.edu/CPL
Learn more: www.787collective.org or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Spring 2018 | 21
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WebXtra: View a photo gallery or download or stream MidWinter lectures and sermons at: AustinSeminary.edu. Look under “Featured Media” on the home page.
Class reunion groups: 1998 (above) and 1988 (below)
The magazine of Austin Seminary. The Spring 2018 issue features stories from our alumni serving in chaplaincies.