Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
In this Issue Senior fellowships | 4
Archives | 6
Alumni awards | 18
Preparing leaders for Christâ€™s church
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PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGI C AL
Archives 6 Austin Seminary Archives:
Theodore J. Wardlaw
Board of Trustees
G. Archer Frierson II, Chair James C. Allison 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 Bobbi Kaye Jones (MDiv’80) Keatan A. King Steve LeBlanc J. Sloan Leonard, MD Sue B. McCoy Matthew Miller (MDiv’03) W. David Pardue 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 David F. White Carlton D. Wilde Jr. Elizabeth C. Williams Michael G. Wright
Volume 134 | Number 2
6 Cover: This portrait of one of the workers who built Shelton Chapel was taken by William H. Foster Jr., a 1942 graduate of Austin Seminary. Foster’s papers, which document his education and ministerial career and include many other photographs from his time on campus, are part of the Austin Seminary Archives.
A Brief History
By Kristy Sorensen
My Journey with the Rachel Henderlite Papers By Bill Brock
Memory and Hope
seminary & church
twenty-seventh & speedway
15 faculty news & notes 18 alumni news & notes 20 live & learn 21 teaching & ministry
Trustees Emeriti B. W. Payne Max Sherman Louis Zbinden
Barrett Abernethy (MDiv’13), President Sheila Sidberry-Thomas (MDiv’14), Vice-President Josh Kerr (MDiv’14), Secretary Denise Odom (MDiv’99), Past President Sarah Allen (MDiv’07) Kennetha Bigham-Tsai (MDiv’03) David Gambrell (MDiv’98) John Guthrie (MDiv’06) Paul Harris (MATS’10) Melinda Hunt (CIM’16) Carl McCormack (MDiv’95) Noemi Ortiz (MATS’15) Valerie Sansing (MDiv’00) Rita Sims (DMin’15) Paul Sink (MDiv’00) Ayana Teter (MDiv’06) Michael Ulasewich (MDiv’05)
Editor Randal Whittington
Selina Aguirre Jacqueline Hefley Usama Malik 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 May 6 Host, Austin Area Alumni and Graduating Seniors Reception, Austin, Texas May 9 Partner Lunch, Albuquerque, New Mexico September 15 Preach and Teach, First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, Louisiana October 3 Coffee with the President, Austin, Texas October 5 Speak, 200th Anniversary Celebration of The Presbyterian Outlook, Richmond, Virginia
n this issue of Windows we’re paying attention to the archival collections in Stitt Library. The word “archives” has cropped up a good bit recently in our discourse here. A beautiful archival display of our African American history was a fitting backdrop to the recent Days of Memory and Hope as we rehearsed that narrative—both celebrating and critiquing it. The Reverend Daryl Horton (MDiv ’15)—our preacher for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. worship service—based his sermon on “the archives,” meaning the formative narrative of our faith that we are forever sifting through. In that same service, the Reverend Sharon Risher (MDiv’07), when lifting up the witness of her mother, Ethel Lance—martyred at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church by a white supremacist shooter—said that it might take some time to find that humble lady in the archives of our faith heroes, but added with assurance, “Nonetheless she is there.” In such ways as this, we have been preoccupied recently with the profundity with which people of faith can reference the word “archives.” An effective archive rehearses and reflects a wide-ranging and non-defensive memory. It does not gloss over or touch up a figure in history, but strives to capture as much as possible from what is often a great expanse of time. The Reverend Dr. Robert Lewis Dabney is a case in point. One of 19th-century America’s most profound Presbyterian theologians, Dabney’s greatest theological contributions came during his long professorship at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. Staunchly orthodox, he taught and inspired generations of future pastors and scholars. An accomplished architect, he designed a couple of handfuls of antebellum Presbyterian churches which still stand today. A committed churchman, he served as one of our communion’s moderators. He was also a slave-owner and served during the Civil War as chaplain and aide-de-camp to General Stonewall Jackson. When that war was over, Dabney wrote and spoke, often with bitterness, about the end of slavery, and he even promoted a project which encouraged a number of Southern planters to move their plantation economy and “indentured servants” to Brazil. Some of his writing was dedicated to making a biblical-theological case for the rightness of one race enslaving another. Late in his life, Dabney moved to Austin where he taught at the University of Texas and also, with the Reverend Richmond K. Smoot, taught theology on the apprenticeship model to a generation of U.T. grads who aspired to be Presbyterian clergy. Though he died a few years before this Seminary was formed by the Synod of Texas, Dabney is often regarded as a progenitor of this place as he shaped some of our earliest professors. Decades ago, his family gifted to the Seminary a large and handsome oil portrait which has sat in a prominent spot in our library alongside a curated collection of writings by and about him. At its meeting in early February, our board of trustees voted unanimously to relocate that portrait and display to the archives. These artifacts will be handled carefully and made available for anyone to visit them. I hope that, for years to come, historians and other scholars will investigate and glean perspective from Dabney, and, perhaps, also reflect on the inherent messiness of history—his history and our histories. In a good archive, history is simply laid bare—both to inspire us with its great moments, and to instruct us with its more shameful moments. Eventually, that now-bare space in the library will showcase some other figure or moment of our ongoing history. Life goes on, after all, and we are forever making room for new displays, new glimpses of our ongoing memory and hope.
Theodore J. Wardlaw President
2 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
community notes |
Photo of Bill Powers by LBJLibraryNow
William Powers, Austin Seminary Trustee (2004-2010) died on March 10. The former president of The University of Texas at Austin was Austin Seminary’s Heyer Lecturer (2003) and the first Constitution Day speaker. Erica Knisely (MDiv’14), director of programs for Education Beyond the Walls, has been elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Association of Leaders in Lifelong Learning for Ministry. Knisely and Mónica Tornoe, project associate for Education Beyond the Walls, were selected to participate in Leadership
Education at Duke Divinity School’s Foundations of Christian Leadership program. They joined the 2018 cohort of rising leaders across various Christian institutions to explore the concepts of traditioned innovation and transformative leadership and have brought a combined $10,000 in grants to the Seminary to fund smallscale innovation. Staff member Martha Lynn Coon is a graduate of the program. Every ten years Austin Seminary undergoes an extensive self study under the guidance of two agencies responsible for accrediting higher education and theological institutions, the Association of Theological Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This spring both agencies completed on-site visits. The final results will be announced by the end of the calendar year, but Dean David Jensen received an outstanding preliminary report at the conclusion of the visits. v
Photo by Randy Hobson
A group of Austin Seminary students, led by Professors Gregory Cuéllar and Jennifer Owens-Jofré, created a “Wall of Welcome” on the Texas- Mexico border in December. They were joined by representatives from Mission Presbytery, the Synod of the Sun, and the PC(USA) Office of the General Assembly, including the stated clerk and co-moderator.
Mabee Foundation offers $1 million challenge grant for library
he J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has issued a challenge grant of $1 million to Austin Seminary toward funding of the Mary and Robert J. Wright Learning and Information Center. The terms of the grant require the Seminary to raise all remaining funds for the comprehensive renovation project by January 8, 2020. The new Learning and Information Center will maintain Stitt Library’s essential beauty while undergoing a thorough rehabilitation to attend to the 21st-century needs of a variety of learners. The original 1950s building will be updated with new technology including a distance learning center and media lab. The forty-year-old addition will be razed and replaced by a new wing that will be fully accessible, promote flexibility through adaptable study spaces, and offer a large gathering hall for lectures and other presentations. All of these changes will enhance learning by providing more opportunities for collaborative work, improved spaces for archival material, better support for personal technology, and facilities for more targeted instruction, especially with digital resources. v
Certificate program affirms Jewish-Christian relationship
ustin Seminary has developed a third certificate program, The Certificate in JewishChristian Relationship. The goal of the program is to foster deeper connections between Christians and Jews through close readings of sacred texts and an increased familiarity with each tradition’s history, theology, liturgy, and ethics. To earn the certificate, students will complete one course in each area (sacred texts, history and theology, justice and ethics, and worship). The courses will be offered online, and some may include a face-to-face component, such as a service project or site visit. The first course will be offered in Fall 2019, and one course will be offered each fall, winter, and spring on a biannual rotation. Students may earn an advanced certificate by completing three additional courses. Instructors in the certificate program include Austin Seminary faculty, area clergy from both Jewish and Christian communities, and faculty affiliated with the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Examples of course titles include: “Heschel and Niebuhr,” “Reading Exodus in the Synagogue and the Black Church,” and “From Mt. Sinai to Jon Stewart.” For more information and to register for the fall, please visit AustinSeminary. edu/CJCR. v Spring 2019 | 3
Senior students recognized for excellence
ach year one of the most exciting features of the Alumni Association Banquet is the announcement of fellowships awarded to graduating seniors. These fellowships recognize outstanding academic achievement as well as Christian character and promise for ministry. They include: The David L. Stitt Alumni Association Fellowship, The Pile-Morgan Fellowship, The Janie Maxwell Morris Fellowship, The Alsup-Frierson Fellowship for Excellence in Biblical Exegesis and Hermeneutics, and The W. P. Newell Memorial Fellowship. Meet the 2019 Fellowship winners here and learn why their professors or Supervised Practice of Ministry (SPM) internship supervisors found them worthy of the awards.
Caroline Barnett | Prairie Village, Kansas David L. Stitt Fellowship | $18,000 prize
“Caroline has consistently demonstrated her passion both for learning about her faith and for living into it. Her work exemplifies an outstanding combination of scholarship and praxis, a willingness to enter into complex conversations and to interface with the whole people of God. I have no doubt that she will be a gift to whatever community of faith God calls her, bringing with her the best of her energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.” –Professor Margaret Aymer
April Long | Austin, Texas Pile-Morgan Fellowship | $8,000 prize
“During her time at Austin Seminary, April has become known among her peers by her kind spirit, humble demeanor, and finely tuned intellect. I first came to know her in a Jan-term course on Religion and American Public Life. There, April distinguished herself with gracious interaction with her classmates, seeing them both as minds capable of enlightenment and hearts deserving of a Christ-filled ethics of care.” –Professor Asante Todd 4 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Angela Williams | Rock Hill, South Carolina Janie Maxwell Morris Fellowship | $5,000 prize
“I have been moved by the exuberance with which Angela approaches her academic and ministerial work. Consistent in sharing her passion for justice work throughout our Latinx Theology course, Angela initiated a student delegation to McAllen/Brownsville, Texas, in December. I am increasingly convinced that Angela will be a force to be reckoned with in the PC(USA).”
–Professor Jennifer Owens-Jofré
Andy Gerhart | Austin, Texas Alsup-Frierson Fellowship for Excellence in Biblical Exegesis and Hermeneutics | $3,500 prize
“Andy is a joy for a professor because he so clearly delights in learning. It is easy to take joy in his open fascination with new topics, ideas, and perspectives, in his intellectual rigor and creativity, even in his sometimes extremist attention to detail. Andy is passionate about learning and research that will make the world more loving and just and that will help all creation flourish. These are qualities we can celebrate in so many of our students here at Austin Seminary, and Andy manifests them in glorious abundance.” –Professor William Greenway
Ezequiel Herrera | Yonkers, New York W. P. Newell Memorial Fellowship | $3,000 prize
“We sent Ezequiel to the Valley, where he drew on his background in immigration law to research the situation for migrants. By the end of his SPM, he had helped Texas Impact establish “Courts & Ports,” a border immersion program that is drawing participants from across Texas and other states with support from our national denominations. Ezequiel is a passionate, authentic advocate for justice and a legal scholar, but he’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and do what needs to be done.” –SPM Supervisor Bee Moorhead Spring 2019 | 5
The Austin Seminary
By Kristy Sorensen
Images in this article are all part of the Austin Seminary Archives. They come from the Austin Seminary records, the William H. Foster Jr. papers, the Heinz Joachim Held slides, the Presbyterian Photographs collection, and the Texas-Mexican Presbytery records. Enlarged images on pages 8 and 9 include: construction workers building Shelton Chapel in 1941 with the UT tower in the background; Professor Eugene McLaurin and library director Norman Dow in the late 1950s; Professor Stuart Currie visiting at a reception in the 1960s; and The Mexican Legion marching with their instruments during the inauguration parade for Allan Shivers as Governor of Texas (taken by ecumenical student Heinz Joachim Held in 1953). 6 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
he Austin Seminary Archives encompasses boxes, shelves, paper, photographs, PDFs, folders, labels, and drawers. But it also contains memories, evidence, missing pieces, stories, facts, secrets, impressions, myths, and promises. Last year, we answered 102 reference requests, scanned 838 documents and photographs for researchers, expanded fourteen collections and added three new ones, and brought our total of inventoried, and ready-for-research collections to about 370 linear feet. The Austin Seminary Archives had a great 2018, but our story (like the story of any good archives) reaches far back into our institutionâ€™s past. The first archival materials came to the library at Austin Seminary starting as early as the 1930s, but the collection really began to grow under library director Norman Dowâ€™s tenure from 1955-1965. Dow deliberately gathKristy Sorensen is associate director of the Stitt Library and head of archives and record management at Austin Seminary. She holds the MLIS from The University of Texas at Austin, and is the founding organizer of the Austin Archives Bazaar. She has served in leadership positions with the Society of Southwest Archivists, the Archivists of Central Texas, the Academy of Certified Archivists, the Texas Historic Records Advisory Board, and the Breaking Library Silos for Social Justice Collective.
a brief history ered together catalogues, bulletins, photographs, and faculty papers documenting the first five decades of the Seminary’s work, including the collections of Arthur Gray Jones and Samuel King. He greatly expanded the collection of “Presbyteriana,” including synod and presbytery minutes, the O.K. Rumbel Communion Token collection, and a large group of records documenting the Texas-Mexican Presbytery. Dow also oversaw an extensive in-house microfiliming project that included photographing session minutes from Texas congregations. In 1964 a renovation converted the third floor of the library from classroom space into library space. This included the addition of library shelving and the conversion of the two classrooms on the north side of the building into rare books and archival storage, which brought all the archival material together in one location. Although there was no archivist on staff at the time, the librarians provided access to the collection to trusted researchers, including R. Douglas Brackenridge and Francisco O. García-Treto, who used the archives extensively in their research for Iglesia Presbiteriana: A History of Presbyterians and Mexican Americans in the Southwest (1974, 1987), and Thomas White Currie Jr. (MDiv’51) for his book Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary: A Seventy-fifth Anniver-
sary History (1978). In the mid-1980s, the archives moved to the basement of the library. While this was a less-than-ideal location for the preservation of materials and prominence of the collection, the need for space for an audio-visual center and the Mission Presbytery Resource Center made the move necessary. In 1986, Thomas W. Currie Jr. approached library director Calvin Klemt about depositing the records and proceedings of the Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest (PHSSW) in the Stitt Library. This partnership led to the creation of the John and Millicent McCoy Historical Research Center, funded by the Reverend John M. McCoy Jr. (MDiv’63), in honor of his mother and father. The McCoy Center coordinated the preservation of materials documenting Presbyterianism in the region, including helping local congregations deposit their materials with the Presbyterian Historical Society and providing access to microfilmed materials in the library. In 1992, under the direction of library director Valerie Hotchkiss, the Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest and the Stitt Library at Austin Seminary combined forces to seek funding to renovate storage spaces, purchase equipment and supplies, and hire a professional Spring 2019 | 7
archivist to combine the complementary collections of the McCoy Historical Research Center and the archives at Stitt Library into a center for research on all aspects of Presbyterianism in the Southwest. In the spring of 1993, the Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest voted to donate $50,000 in support of the joint archives project of the McCoy Historical Center and the Stitt Library. This funding supported hiring a temporary archivist, along with necessary supplies and equipment to continue the work of improving preservation and access to Stitt Libraryâ€™s archival holdings. Austin Seminary alumnus William E. Brock Jr. (MAâ€™93) began his work as the first professional archivist at Austin Seminary on May 23, 1993, having previously served as the archivist at the Tarleton Law Library at The University of Texas at Austin. Brock immediately began appraising, cataloging, and improving the preservation of the existing collections. New additions to the collections, including the Robert Gribble Papers and a substantial addition to the Rumbel Communion Token Collection, also began to come through the door. Under the direction of library director Timothy Lincoln, the archives project was jointly funded by the PHSSW and Austin Seminary before being permanently incorporated into the Austin Seminary budget in 1997. Bill Brock continued in the position, adding records management duties (that is, the management of current Seminary records) to his archival work. The McCoy Center for Historical Research was fully incorporated into the work of Stitt Library at this time, and the scope of the Austin Seminary Archives included documenting 8 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
both the history of Austin Seminary and the Presbyterian Church in the region. After seven years of building up the archives at Austin Seminary, Brock left for the Montreat Historical Society in the spring of 2000 (and would later go on to the Presbyterian Historical Society, where he currently serves as the collections management archivist). He left a strong foundation for the next archivist and records manager, Kris Toma. Toma came to the Seminary right as planning for the 2002 Centennial Celebration began to take off, and her dedicated work resulted in a substantial series of exhibits and presentations promoting the history of Austin Seminary and the collections in the archives. Toma also conducted a records inventory across all departments in the Seminary to support her development of an official records retention schedule. In 2006, Toma left to become the university archivist at Texas State University in San Marcos, and I started as the archivist and records manager. My work has emphasized access and promotion of the Seminary collections, including creating a web page for the archives (www.austinseminary.edu/archives), standardizing the format of the collection inventories (or finding aids), putting all the finding aids for processed collections on the website and in the library catalog, and contributing finding aids to the state-wide consortium, Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO). In addition, I have collaborated with institutions like the Portal to Texas History and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image to digitize selected images, documents, and films from the Austin Seminary Archives
to make them available online. In 2015, with the support of the administration, the Austin Seminary Archives added “web archiving” to its portfolio, and we are currently working to archive both the official Austin Seminary website and other pages and sites that relate to the Seminary and its faculty, students, alumni, and staff. In 2010 the Austin Seminary Archives moved from its less-than-ideal basement location back up to its former home on the third floor of the Stitt Library where visitors and researchers are welcomed today. The collec-
How Can You Access the Archives?
tions in the archives are generally open to the public for research—just take a look at the inventories on the website and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a research appointment. Space is limited, but we are always interested in discussing potential donations. We are particularly interested in material that documents student life on campus (including documentation of student groups, photographs, personal reflections, and other material). If you have a document or a collection that you think might be a good fit, let us know! While the official archives program at Austin Seminary is a mere twenty-six years old, the dedication to collecting, preserving, understanding, and sharing our history has been with us since the beginning. As new voices tell (and retell) our stories, the Austin Seminary Archives will continue to serve the community as a storehouse for the evidence of our work, our faith, and our shared experiences. v
The Austin Seminary Archives is open to the public by appointment and available for in-person or long-distance research. You can find inventories of our material on the “Our Archival Collections” page on the Austin Seminary Archives website (www.austinseminary.edu/archives). When you find something that interests you, contact the archivist (email@example.com or 512-4044875) to make an appointment or request further information. For long-distance researchers, scans can be sent of most materials. You don’t have to be physically present at the archives to access some of the collection. Selected materials have been digitized and made available for viewing anytime through the archives website. www.austinseminary.edu/archivesonline Our newest project is the Austin Seminary Digital Collection (austinseminarydigital.org). The collection includes lectures and sermons recorded on campus, selected photos and documents from the archives, and curated topical exhibits. The platform, officially launched in January, provides a user-friendly way to search, find, and share Austin Seminary material with alumni and the wider community. A recent addition is the online exhibit created to augment the “Austin Seminary and the African American Experience: Toward Beloved Community” event on February 19 and 21. The exhibit features relevant photographs and documents from the archival collection.
Spring 2019 | 9
My journey with
The Rachel Henderlite Papers By Bill Brock or Rachel Henderlite, 1965 was a momentous year. Not only did she become the first ordained woman minister in the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), she also participated in the March to Montgomery and became professor of Christian education at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, making her Austin Seminary’s first woman to serve as full professor. I moved to the capital of the Lone Star State in January 1976, ten years after Rachel, and Austin would be my hometown for the next twenty-four years. Now, twentyfour years after I first saw this pioneering woman’s personal papers in her home garage, I have finished processing the collection. Now at the Presbyterian Historical Society and officially known as Record Group 504, the nearly fifty cubic feet of material contains vital historical documentation such as correspondence, subject files, and audio-visual recordings. The collection illuminates Rachel’s life, work, and ministry, including the contributions she made through her teaching, ecumenical work, and support for social justice causes such as the Civil Rights Movement. Processing Rachel’s papers brought me to the end of a long and gratifying journey that has followed the same path as the collection, including stops in Austin, Montreat, and Philadelphia. As so often with endings, this one harkens back to the beginning. I can look inside the boxes and folders and see names and faces of Presbyterian ministers and educators I initially encountered as a student at Austin Seminary and later as the Seminary’s first archivist. Rachel’s papers Bill Brock (MA’93) is collection management archivist for the Presbyterian Historical Society. He served as Austin Seminary’s first archivist (1993 - 2000). This article first appeared in the Presbyterian Historical Society’s newsletter, Presbyterian Heritage, Fall 2018 edition (https://bit.ly/2MOFX5L), reprinted with permission.
10 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
connect me with my materials and rehousown past and remind ing items into nearly a me that history is a subthousand folders, and ject best explored at the then building to the inprimary source. tellectual challenge of I first examined writing the collection the largest portion of guide. A guide serves as Rachel’s papers when a collection’s roadmap. I they were packed into wanted this one to effifour filing cabinets in ciently steer researchers her ranch-style house in toward an understandAustin. That was March ing of Rachel’s years in 1994, almost three Austin and, before that, years after her death. In Richmond, Virginia, reporting back to Semiwhere she worked at nary President Jack the Presbyterian School Stotts, I informed him of Christian Education that I found corresponand served as an active dence indicating Ramember of All Souls chel’s intent to donate Presbyterian Church, her papers to the PCUS the predominantly AfHistorical Foundation Far left: Professor Rachel Henderlite in her Austin Seminary office (Austin rican American congrein Montreat, North Car- Seminary Archives photo). Top: Bill Brock stands in front of part of the gation where she was Rachel Henderlite collection at the Presbyterian Historical Society offices olina—her home state. ordained. in Philadelphia. Inset, Bill during his Austin Seminary archivist years. The papers trav I hope that the proBottom: Incoming Consultation on Church Unity (COCU) President eled to Montreat later Rachel Henderlite greets outgoing president, AME Bishop Frederick D. cessed collection aids that year, along with Jordan of Los Angeles (Courtesy of Presbyterian Historical Society). researchers in explordocumentation that ing the life and legacy included photographs and a brief invenof an amazing human being—not only tory I had made of the filing cabinets. what Rachel thought and felt, but what I followed in 2000, taking the posishe did to make the world a better tion of collection management place. Visitors to the PHS building archivist at Montreat. Before my can explore the extensive colarrival, staff created a box list lection Rachel created and first for Rachel’s papers, but the colcollected in those garage filing lection required further work cabinets. Remote visitors can and processing before being access the guide through the made available to researchers. PHS website—www.history. In 2002, I transferred to Prespcusa.org—and explore digibyterian Historical Society (PHS) tized content using the Society’s in Philadelphia. A little more than online archives, Pearl: digital.hisfour years later, when the Society’s tory.pcusa.org. office in Montreat closed, it was the paI am particularly pleased that the Rapers’ turn to follow me! chel Henderlite Papers became available During my first fourteen years in Philadelto researchers in 2018, the twenty-fifth anniphia, I never forgot about the work remaining to be done versary of the Austin Seminary Archives, an institution I on Rachel’s papers. When the opportunity arose last helped organize. If “you can’t go home again,” as another year, I approached the processing in stages—beginning Presbyterian from North Carolina once wrote, archival with the physical challenges, such as weeding duplicate collections can sometimes get you closer. v Spring 2019 | 11
Memory & Hope merging from reflection by the President’s Commission on Diversity, Dean of Students Sarah Gaventa and Professor Asante Todd (MDiv’06) spearheaded a two-day event “Austin Seminary and African American Experience: Toward Beloved Community,” on February 19 and 21. The first day was dedicated to reflecting on the experience of African Americans at Austin Seminary and began with a panel discussion. Invited guests included Rev. Sharon Risher (MDiv’07), 2017 Distinguished Alumna; Mr. Daniel Clark, the first African American student at the Seminary, who enrolled in 1950; Dr. Stephen Reid, the first African American member of the faculty (1990-2003); and Ms. Sharon Alexander, the first African American 12 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
to serve in the administration, as secretary to Dean Prescott Williams (1969-1978). The Reverend Daryl Horton (MDiv’15) preached for the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Worship Service featuring music by the HustonTillotson University and the Austin Seminary choirs. After lunch Hierald Osorto (MDiv’18) gave a presentation based upon his research in the Seminary archives on the early history of African American students. His talk was augmented with a display of material curated by archivist Kristy Sorensen and her archives assistant, Rodrigo Leal. The second day focused on the future. It began and ended with worship, one service around the Ethel Lance Memorial and the other in the McCord Community Center. Alumni, students, and staff created art and filled a time capsule reflecting their hopes and dreams. v
WebXtra: Listen to the MLK Day sermon by Daryl Horton (MDiv’15), “The Significance of the Archives” here:
AustinSeminary.edu Look for “Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service 2019” under “featured media” Spring 2019 | 13
A Future for the Archives
... and now for the object which traveled farthest to make the collection One of the most unusual items in the Austin Seminary Archives is our “Moon Bible,” a microform version of all 1245 pages of the King James Bible that has been on the surface of the moon! This story begins in the work of the Apollo Prayer League, founded by NASA scientist and chaplain (and Austin Seminary graduate), Rev. John M. Stout (MDiv’57) in 1968 in reaction to the deaths of his friend Edward White II and two other astronauts during the Apollo 1 fire at Cape Kennedy. The mission of the Apollo Prayer League included forming a prayer network for the safety of astronauts and other NASA employees, engaging in humanitarian efforts, and working to land a Bible on the moon. The packet of 300 microform copies of the King James Bible arrived on the lunar surface, tucked into the spacesuit of astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, during the Apollo 14 mission on February 5, 1971. Our collection contains a certificate with the mounted microform Bible (above), signed by John M. Stout and including the seal of the Apollo XIV mission (Apollo Prayer League collection: www. austinseminary.edu/apollo 14 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
he Austin Seminary Archives space in the new Mary and Robert J. Wright Learning and Information Center has been fully funded by a generous donation from Molly and Jim Crawley of Norman, Oklahoma, who said, “We think archives are important because they often provide information that is not in the normal stream of what is available to a researcher.” The archives will shift from the north side of the third floor of the historic 1950 library structure to the south side. The new space will include additional secure archival storage with environmental controls, office and workspace for the archivist and student staff, and ample room for students, faculty, and outside researchers to use the collections. There will be a large archives conference room that can be used to orient small classes or groups of researchers to the archives and as a meeting space. The expanded and enhanced spaces for the archives will allow the Seminary to continue our mission of collecting, preserving, and providing access to materials documenting Austin Seminary, the work of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and the history of Presbyterianism in the region. v
faculty news notes
faculty notes |
Professor Whit Bodman retires
rofessor Whit Bodman, who has taught comparative religion at Austin Seminary since 2002, retired from teaching in December. That hasn’t slowed him down much: he gave a paper on “The Conspiracy Theory of the Muslim Brotherhood Takeover of America” in Pamplona, Spain, in December. He became co-convenor of the National Council of Churches Muslim-Christian Dialogue in February. Oh, and he was given the Gülen Peace Award from the Dialogue Institute of Austin in March. A scholar of the Qur’an, Bodman is author of The Poetics of Iblis: Narrative Theology in the Qur’an (Harvard University Press, 2011). A devoted advocate for interreligious dialogue, he currently serves as president of Texas Impact, an interfaith legislative advocacy organization based in Austin, and he has been involved in Austin Interfaith and the National Council of Churches. In both his classrooms and travel seminars, Whit is known for encouraging a deep encounter with persons of other faith traditions; he was instrumental in Austin Seminary’s admission of its first Muslim student into the master’s-degree programs. Bodman's passion for justice was nuanced by a playful sense of fun that endeared Whit to his colleagues. A loving tribute to Professor Bodman is found in the Spring 2019 issue of Insights: the Faculty Journal of Austin Seminary. We look forward to Whit’s contributions for years to come. v
During her sabbatical year, Margaret Aymer (New Testament) joined the Fetzer Institute as a consultant on Virtue Ethics and the United Nations Self-Development Goals, including filming for a MOOC (massive open online course) with other faith leaders from around the world. She will be the 2019 Selley Series Preacher at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church in New Orleans on April 28, 2019. She will participate in the Jude 3 Courageous Conversations on “Paul’s Sexual Ethics,” August 1-2 in Atlanta. Aymer has been involved in the revision of the NRSV, contributing to changes in the English translation of the Letter of James; she has edited two volumes of Horizons in Biblical Theology. Bridgett Green (New Testament) and Cynthia Rigby (theology) will speak at the Women in Charge at Church conference at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin, April 25-26. The event is cosponsored by Austin Seminary and Princeton Seminary. Gregory Cuéllar (Old Testament) had an essay, “Channeling the Biblical Exile as an Art Task for Central American Refugee Children on the Texas-Mexico Border,” published in Latinxs, the Bible and Migration (Palgrave, 2018). Carolyn Helsel (homiletics) will serve as Faculty in Residence at the Engle Institute for Preaching at Princeton Seminary, June 9-14. On August 14 she will be a guest speaker for Backstory Preaching.
Whit had the last laugh at his retirement party, December 4, when he surreptitiously substituted a portrait of President Wardlaw for his own going-away gift.
While on sabbatical, Phil Helsel (pastoral care) continues research on bi-vocational ministry in Mission Presbytery through his fellowship with Villanova University’s Church Management Program. He was part of the New Directions in Pastoral Theology group in Lake
Tahoe last fall, honoring the legacy of Lewis Rambo. He also taught a group of eleven thirdgraders and their parents who were trying to memorize the books of the Bible, something he considers his “most challenging and rewarding audience recently.” Paul Hooker (associate dean) had two poems published in the January 24 issue of the Presbyterian Outlook; his poem “Drift” was published in Outlook Online January 25. He will be respondent to Co-Moderator Cindy Kohlmann’s keynote addresses at the Oklahoma TriPresbytery Event, May 30-31, in Oklahoma City. Jennifer Owens-Jofré (constructive theology) will speak at the Catholic Theological Society of America Conference, June 7-8, in Pittsburgh. She had an article, “Walking with Women Who Walk with La Virgen: Lessons for Catechetical Leadership,” published in Catechetical Leader in December 2018. Last fall she was an invited speaker at the Catholic Women Speak Symposium in Rome. Cynthia Rigby (theology) led a women’s retreat at First Presbyterian Church, Stillwater, Oklahoma, in February and the Spirit of Stewardship Conference for the Presbytery of Northern Kansas in March. David White (Christian education) has been chosen as the editor-in-chief for the International Journal of Youth and Theology. David is also the general editor for a book project on “Youth, Joy, and Flourishing,” sponsored by the Templeton Foundation. He spoke at University United Methodist Church, Austin, on March 17 on the status and future of theological education. He also spoke to retired United Methodist clergy on contemporary approaches to Christian formation in April. v Spring 2019 | 15
faculty news notes
Books receive top awards from Academy of Parish Clergy
t its annual meeting in February, The Academy of Parish Clergy announced that the 2018 Book of the Year Award was given to Preaching about Racism: A Guide for Faith Leaders and Anxious to Talk about It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully about Racism, both written by Carolyn B. Helsel, assistant professor of homiletics (Chalice Press, 2018). The Book of the Year Award is given to the book—in this case books— published in the prior year that best speaks to the needs and interests of parish clergy. The Academy also presented the Reference Book of the Year Award to Connections: A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship edited by Joel B. Green, Thomas G. Long, Luke A. Powery, and Cynthia L. Rigby. The committee reviewed the first volume—Year C, Volume 1: Advent through Epiphany—published by Westminster John Knox Press in collaboration with Austin Seminary, recognizing this first volume, but also the potential value of the entire series. Dr. Rigby, The W.C. Brown Professor of Theology at Austin Seminary, is one of four general editors of this series. Austin Seminary faculty who serve on the editorial board include Gregory Cuéllar and Suzie Park (Old Testament), Carolyn Helsel and Jennifer Lord (homiletics), William Greenway (theology), and, until his death, Blair Monie. v
16 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Upon the publication of his new book, Professor Phil Helsel poses for the traditional “cheers” photo during the January faculty meeting.
Two new faculty books for 2019
he past year has seen a flurry of new books coming out of Austin Seminary, including the first two volumes of Connections, the lectionary commentary series from Austin Seminary and Westminster John Knox Press. Now two new books have been released since the beginning of the new year: Pastoral Care and Counseling: An Introduction and Christian Understandings of Christ: The Historical Trajectory. Pastoral Care and Counseling (Paulist Press, January 8) by Philip B. Helsel, associate professor of pastoral care, demonstrates how ministers can care for systems in arenas such as health care, education, and employment. Even traumatic events such as abuse and suicide are linked with social factors like unemployment, so understanding the impact of systems on pastoral care is an essential part of ministry in the twenty-first century. This book combines theological reflection, psychological insights, and social science research with accessible case studies to provide an indispensable introductory text for seminary students and experienced ministers alike. The book shows how human life is a journey lived out in relationship to God; students reading this text will have tools to reflect theologically on practices of pastoral care and counseling. Christian Understandings of Christ (Fortress Press, April 2) was written by David H. Jensen, professor in The Clarence N. and Betty B. Frierson Distinguished Chair of Reformed Theology and Austin Seminary’s academic dean, and edited by Denis R. Janz. The publisher describes the book as offering an engaging tour through more than two millennia of thought on Christ. From the earliest portrayals to contemporary christologies, Jensen outlines the myriad beliefs, developments, and questions encompassing the attempts to understand Christianity’s most central—and most mysterious—figure. “Magisterial in scope and highly accessible in both its prose and theological explication,” says reviewer Darby Ray, The Donald W. and Ann M. Harward Professor of Civic Engagement at Bates College, “this book offers a refreshing account of Christian understandings of Christ. In Jensen’s hands, the insights and innovations of both well-known and lesser-known thinkers from across the centuries and continents are generously and astutely rendered. This is christology come alive.” v
Professors receive research grants
good reads |
Nancy J. Duff, Making Faithful Decisions at the End of Life Nashville:
t is highly unusual for two members of the same faculty to receive grants from the Louisville Institute in the same year. However, Austin Seminary Professors David Jensen and Gregory Cuéllar both received 2019 Project Grants for Researchers this year. Dean Jensen’s grant is for a project that will help mainline seminaries learn from Jewish and Catholic communities. The grant given to Cuéllar, associate professor of Old Testament, will enable him to research and write a book on the current immigrant detention crisis along the southern U.S. border. v
Theological insights inform mentoring book
he book Mentoring: Biblical, Theological, and Practical Perspectives (Eerdmans, 2018), edited by Dean K. Thompson and D. Cameron Murchison, features contributions by an eminent list of scholars including Austin Seminary President Ted Wardlaw, Professor Cynthia Rigby, and alumni Tom Currie (MDiv’73) and Jill Duffield (DMin’13). Reviewer Shannon Johnson Kershner of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, calls it “an amazingly rich, diverse collection of perspectives on the skills and gifts of both being a mentor and receiving that kind of guidance.” v
Westminster John Knox Press (2018)
remember when I realized that talking with someone about their death was talking with them about their life. I was sitting in a hospital room with Sam, asking him what hymns he would like sung at his funeral. He was blinking hard, pointing out–every few minutes–that he would likely die soon, so we had better get the funeral details planned. I, for my part, swallowed the urge to tell him there might still be a miracle; something else the doctors might figure out that would prolong his life. If I had read Nancy Duff’s book, I would have been better prepared to help Sam. Duff encourages us to plan our funerals, draw up living wills and update them periodically, and talk with our loved ones about what to do with our bodies. The wonderful thing is that she doesn’t simply throw all these things-to-do at us, leaving us to figure out where to begin. Rather, she talks details, and in doing so takes whatever obstacles she can out of the way so we can focus on making faithful decisions. Like a pastor who sits alongside of us, helping us think through what comes next, Duff walks us step by step through (for example) where we can find living wills, where and when to fill them out, why and how we should update them, and what politics underlie certain questions we need to know about when framing our wishes. Most importantly, Duff engages wholeheartedly and thoroughly the controversial matter of hastening death, making a strong theological case for how and in what circumstances it can, in fact, be consistent with living faithfully as a
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Christian. She does this by engaging fairly and with respect multiple views taken by thinking people, including people of faith. She represents the positions of others so well that I am convinced even those with whom she disagrees will believe they have been given a fair hearing. Another strength of the book is that Duff draws very effectively from contemporary news stories that have served to shape cultural values, debates, and changing policies about end-of-life care, such as the well-known Terri Schiavo case (2001) and the questionable methods of Jack Kevorkian. Duff clearly believes—and I think she’s right—that Christians are eager to address the complexity of contemporary scenarios they read about in the news from a position of faith. Duff helps her readers to do just that, both so that they can strengthen the voices they use in public discourse and so they can decide and act with more confidence in their own lives. At every turn Duff’s considerable acumen as a theological ethicist shines light on the guidance she extends to her readers. Each word she writes is an extension of her passionate commitment to the truth that human beings belong to God “in life and in death.“ This book has helped me more than any other to see my death as part of the gift of my life. I recommend it to all people of faith, particularly to pastors, elders, and deacons who visit with people who are dying and who are committed to helping others live faithfully until life in this world comes to an end. v —Reviewed by Cynthia L. Rigby, The W.C. Brown Professor of Theology at Austin Seminary
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alumni news notes
Austin Seminary Association Awards for Service
Eighties alumnae honored with 2019 ASA Award The Reverend Dr. Patricia Tull (MDiv’85) is A.B. Rhodes
Professor Emerita of Old Testament at Louisville Seminary. After graduating from Austin Seminary she served a church in Illinois before earning the PhD in Bible and Preaching from Emory University (1996) and joining Louisville Seminary’s faculty, where she taught Hebrew Bible and led the Middle East Travel Seminar. The author of Inhabiting Eden: Christians, the Bible, and the Ecological Crisis (WJK, 2013), Tull was program director of Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light from 201417. She has published six other books and is currently writing volume 2 of a commentary on Isaiah for Smyth and Helwys. She is general editor of Essentials of Biblical Studies for Oxford University Press and writes a column on ecological aspects of lectionary texts for Working Preacher. Since retiring, she has been preaching, leading retreats, and lecturing nationally, exploring creation care in light of Scripture and our current environmental crises.
Family and friends gathered to support Patricia Tull on her big day, February 6.
The Reverend Dr. Sallie Sampsell Watson (MDiv’87) is
Sallie Watson fans were at the ASA Banquet to cheer on their favorite Austin Seminary alumna.
18 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
the general presbyter for Mission Presbytery, a position she has held since 2016. She has spent more than thirty years in ministry, leading presbyteries in Arkansas and New Mexico and congregations in Texas, California, and Utah. In addition to her Austin Seminary degree, Watson has a BA from Austin College and the doctor of ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary. Integrally connected to the governing structures of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Watson currently serves on the Committee on the Office of General Assembly; prior committee memberships include the Special Offerings Task Force, the Moderator’s Committee on Immigration Reform, and the Health Issues Committee for the 220th General Assembly. She served on the Austin Seminary Board of Trustees (2006-2015), the Presbyterian Outlook Board of Trustees, the Menaul School Board, and the Austin College Alumni Association.
class notes | 1960s Pat Turner, wife of Joe Turner (MDiv’61), died on November 20 in New Braunfels, Texas.
Jim Gill (MDiv’77, DMin’96) was honorably retired by New Covenant Presbytery, November 2018.
Jack Barden (MDiv’88) is now at Presbyterian Church of Lake Travis [Texas] as designated pastor. Craig Holstedt (MDiv’88) retired April 15, 2018. In 2018 he and wife, Susan, fulfilled a long-held dream to spend a summer living and working in Yellowstone National Park. They now live in Kansas City. In November 2018 Rob Morrison (DMin’89) coauthored with Ron Jackson Angels in Dark Places: CNAs Dealing with Love, Life, Death, and Diapers.
Clark Smith, husband of Joanne P. Smith (MDiv’90), died on November 30, 2017. Felicia Hopkins (MDiv’96) received an award for Outstanding Achievement/ Leadership from the AAAUW in Abilene, Texas. She has also been named district superintendent for Amarillo district of the NW Texas Conference for the UMC.
United Presbyterian Church.
Lynn Hargrove (MDiv ‘01) was installed as the new executive presbyter/stated clerk for New Covenant Presbytery. Joan Watson (MDiv’03) has been called to serve as interim pastor at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Boerne, Texas. In December 2018 Heidi Johnson (MDiv’06) earned a DMin from Aquinas Institute of Theology at Saint Louis University. Her dissertation was “Preaching as Suicide Prevention: A Pedagogical Experiment in Teaching Preachers to Engage the Topic of Suicide from the Pulpit.” She currently serves in campus ministry at Lee University. David Martinez-Solis (MDiv’06) took the oath of citizenship at a naturalization ceremony on Jan. 19, 2019, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In December 2018, Ayana Teter (MDiv’06) ASA board member, was named director of vocation and placement for Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Holly Smith (MDiv’09) and her family moved to Scotland where she serves the Church of Scotland in Aberdeen, on loan from the PC(USA). Holly will be inducted (installed) into a new call later this year.
Wes and Kristi Click Blankman (MDiv’14) welcomed daughter, Ava Lee Blankman, on September 25, 2018.
Barrett Abernethy to lead ASA Each year the Austin Seminary Association conducts its annual meeting during the ASA Banquet. The following officers were elected to the alumni board on February 6: Barrett Abernethy (MDiv’13), president; Sheila Sidberry-Thomas (MDiv’14) vice-president and president elect; Joshua P. Kerr (MDiv’14), secretary. Denise Odom (MDiv’99) is past president. Elected to the Class of 2021 were John Guthrie (MDiv’06), Paul Sink (MDiv’00), Ayana Teter (MDiv’06), Sarah Allen (MDiv’07), Denise Odom (MDiv’99), and Rita Sims (DMin’15).
John Harrison (MDiv’15) and wife, Michelle, welcomed Juniper Emily Bach Harrison (above) on January 8, 2019. Marsha D. Clarke (MDiv’16) is senior pastor at Bethel Church of God in Christ, International All Faiths Chapel, Austin, Texas. Ann Hartman (MDiv’17) was called as a chaplain for Auburn Medical Center in Auburn and Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington. Martin Osae (CIM’17) was examined and approved as commissioned pastor at the Ghanaian Fellowship Ministry of Woodhaven in Irving, Texas. Bonnie Canizaro (DMin’18) was called as designated pastor for Batavia [Ohio] Presbyterian Church. Karla Lara Maldonado (MDiv’18) and husband, Orlando, welcomed their second daughter, Emma, on Dec. 27. John Fowler, Derrick Jefferson, and Karen Ebling —all CIM’18—were recognized by Grace Presbytery on Feb. 23, 2019, for completing their Certificates in Ministry.
ordinations | Charlotte Inez Trafton (MDiv’06) was ordained by Mission Presbytery on Jan. 13. She serves as director of Children and Family Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas. Meagan N. Ludwig (MDiv’13) was ordained by Mission Presbytery on Dec. 15, 2018, and installed as designated pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Beeville, Texas. Molly Atkinson (MDiv’14) was ordained Dec. 23, 2018, by the Presbytery of Ohio Valley to serve as pastor for Laconia [Indiana]
Erica Knisely (MDiv’14) was ordained by Mission Presbytery on Nov. 11, 2018. She serves as director of programs for Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary. Eric A. Petersen (MDiv’15) was ordained by Mission Presbytery on November 18, 2018, to serve as director of spiritual life at the Pan American School in Kingsville, Texas. Sarah Shannon-Wildt (MDiv’16) was ordained on Dec. 30, 2018, by the Church of the Savior with an affiliation of the Alliance of Baptists. Karla Lara Maldonado (MDiv’18) was ordained by Mission Presbytery on November 4, 2018. She is pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Weslaco, Texas.
in memoriam | Joseph A. Slicker (MDiv’53, ThM’59), February 10, 2016, Dallas, Texas Earl C. Scott (MDiv’54), November 9, 2018, Mancos, Colorado William R. Wilson (MDiv’55), December 24, 2018, Dallas, Texas Ben H. Bateman (MDiv’57), December 31, 2018, Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas Clarence Prince Jr. (Cert’57), November 19, 2018, Austin, Texas F. Clark Williams (MDiv’61), January 1, 2019, Arlington, Texas Doyle M. Dunn (MDiv’63), May 24, 2018, San Antonio, Texas Joseph A. Rice (MDiv’65), June 1, 2018, Austin, Texas Ronald W. Cunningham (MDiv’66), November 25, 2018, Denison, Texas C. David Morgan (MDiv’78), August 1, 2018, Canton, Texas Joshua Grijalva (DMin’79), April 4, 2018, San Antonio, Texas Spring 2019 | 19
The College of Pastoral Leaders
upcoming from education beyond the walls
at Austin Seminary
“Some of us wear robes, others hiking boots, others jeans. Whether we are preaching at a bar, beside a lake, under a bridge, or in a sanctuary, we long to help new generations hear good news in a way they understand.” – SECOND WIND cohort
In a difficult and divisive age, it is counter-cultural to hope. Yet, as children of the resurrection that is precisely what we are called to do. That is why Education Beyond the Walls is focusing our 2019 programming around the theme, “We Rise: Honoring Creation. Celebrating the Body. Building Communities with Love.” We hope you will join us online and in-person for this journey. Together, we are the Body rising in hope.
April 24 | WEBINAR WEDNESDAY Guns, Gender, and Power | Professor Asante Todd
Join this webinar to discuss guns, gender, and violence from a Christian moral perspective. We will take a closer look at the stats and stories on gun violence. We will also engage questions about how faith leaders can respond pastorally. Cost: $10
May 21 | 787 STUDIO Emergent Strategy | Martha Lynn Coon
Written by adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Shaping Worlds presents a set of ideas and approaches that crossed our radar over and over again in 2018. So we’re creating space for anyone interested in discussing Emergent Strategy and how it applies to the work we do and seek to do at the intersections of change. All are welcome, regardless of your familiarity with the book. Cost: $5
June 15 | 787 STUDIO Community Experience | Fatima Mann
Fatima Mann is the founder and director of Community Advocacy and Healing Project and co-founder of Austin Justice Coalition and Counter Balance: ATX. Join us as we learn more about her approach to fostering dialogue and the power to heal in and through community. Cost: $5
July 8-12 | Preaching John and the Word Made Flesh: When Bodies Experience Hope | Karoline Lewis
The Gospel of John has been a perennial challenge for preachers, seemingly an “out-of-body” experience of Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Fourth Gospel insists that bodies matter and that faithful preaching tends to the entirety of what it means to be human. This course will focus on how to preach John’s unique voice in the canon, and in particular, how the incarnation matters deeply for a homiletic in our time. Cost: $450, meals and housing included
August 24 | HORIZONS BIBLE STUDY LEADER TRAINING Love Carved in Stone: A Fresh Look at the Ten Commandments | Eugenia Gamble
How can a fresh embrace of the Ten Commandments contribute to the restoration of ourselves, our communities, and the furthering of the gospel in the world? Join Eugenia Gamble, author of the 2019-20 Horizons Bible Study, for an exciting and inspirational dive into the Ten Words. Gain insights for leading this enriching study at your church. Cost: $60; $30 per person in groups 3+; lunch included
September 9-12 | Spiritual Memoir | Donna Johnson | In partnership with Collegeville Institute
May 15, 2019
This workshop teaches writing as a practice for shifting our narratives to make peace with our stories. In this week, we will use discussion, writing exercises, and centering prayer to break open our personal narratives so that we may begin to externalize our stories and experience a deeper compassion for ourselves and those who have loved and failed us. Cost: $350, meals and housing included
To see all programming and to register: 20 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Teaching toward “Beloved Community” By Asante Todd (MDiv’06), Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics
“There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance and our neglect. ‘The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.’ We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be [human]kind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
n recent times, Austin Seminary has been caught by a vision, the vision of “Beloved Community.” Following the thinking of Howard Thurman, Josiah Royce, and Martin Luther King Jr., it is the hope that a collective effort would propel us from racism and materialism toward a shared life of kinship, love, and justice. The “Beloved Community” notion is romantic enough—black and white holding hands; ebony with ivory, keys ringing in harmony. In the wake of an Obama-Biden triumph and the rise of the Trump-[Kanye] West alliance, the vision may alternatively be palatable for realists, pessimists, and cynics—beloved community as political strategy, cultural tactic, or as the next great “marketing craze.” Yet in its most real manifestations, the beloved community is a testimony to the conviction that all inhabitants of the globe are neighbors, members all of a great world house, and that we must find a way to live together in equality, peace, and prosperity. Such a vision always stands in danger of being oblivious community—oblivious to the actual present experiences of suffering and oppression that preclude beloved community’s realization. Thus beloved community and “our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant, and to face the challenge of change” (King). This is no simple task. It is a journey, a journey to make our loyalties ecumenical rather than sectional, to attend to the voices and situations of the poor and oppressed, and to connect to human and earthly creatures as a
whole in order to preserve the best in our individual communities. Yet there are signs of beloved community: for example, students recently led a (nonpartisan) delegation to the Texas-Mexico Border to present their bodies as a living “Wall of Welcome” for (im)migrants. This mission trip was itself framed by the student-created “Beloved Community Covenant,” the document itself a reflection of students’ living desire to be an inclusive, conversational, prophetic, and reconciliatory community. Another sign appeared during the recent Midwinter Lectures, where Dr. Miroslav Volf of Yale Divinity School, The Reverend Sarah Johnson of Dallas’s Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Dr. Robert M. Franklin Jr. of Emory University, and Ms. Katelyn Beaty of Brazos Press offered rich reflections on the topic of theological imagination and vision for church’s future. Still another sign was the recent “African American Days of Memory and Hope: Toward Beloved Community,” where former African American faculty (Dr. Steve Reid), staff (Sharon Alexander), and students (Sharon Risher [MDiv’07], Daniel Clark) shared their paradoxical experiences of both beautiful and burdensome moments at Austin Seminary. These conversations were combined with Spirit-filled worship experiences (led by Daryl Horton [MDiv’15], students Danita Nelson, Jackie Freeman, Rabert Shepherd, Hierald Osorto, and staffer Martha Lynn Coon) and archival development toward beloved community with the acknowledgment and addition of African American
histories and the subtraction of key public monuments to white supremacist ideology. We pray these practices become institutional paideia in the life of faith, one whose strength only grows with the questioning of tradition, repentance, redemption, repairing, and reconciliation of still-unacknowledged racist wrongs. We are still in search of the Promised Land. Yet there has been a freedom revolution, one similar to scientific and technological revolutions, and like fever, freedom is spreading to end exploitation of race and land. In this midnight hour, where racism and nationalism yield death-dealing chaos, we hope to be caught up by the Spirit of Beloved Community. It is this Spirit that reminds us that in the long struggle between good and evil, good eventually will emerge as victor, thus, as King said, “Good Friday must give way to the triumphant music of Easter.” v
WebXtra: To watch a video about Austin Seminary students’ “Beloved Community Covenant,” go here:
austinseminary.edu/ community Spring 2019 | 21
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WebXtra: See more pictures and listen to highlights of our 75th MidWinters: AustinSeminary.edu Look under “Featured Media” on the home page.
The magazine of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.