Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
In this Issue New Trustees | 14
Remembering 2020 | 4
All-Virtual 2021 MidWinters | 16
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PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGI C AL
Volume 136 | Number 1
Board of Trustees
Theodore J. Wardlaw
James C. Allison Lee Ardell Janice L. Bryant (MDiv’01, DMin’11) Kelley Cooper Cameron Katherine B. Cummings (MDiv’05) Thomas Christian Currie James A. DeMent Jr. (MDiv’17) Jill Duffield (DMin’13) Britta Martin Dukes (MDiv’05) Beth Blanton Flowers, MD G. Archer Frierson II Stephen Giles Jesús Juan González (MDiv’92) William Greenway John S. Hartman Ora Houston John Kenney Keatan A. King Steve LeBlanc Sue B. McCoy Matthew Miller (MDiv’03) W. David Pardue Denise Nance Pierce (MATS’11) Mark B. Ramsey Stephen Rhoades Sharon Risher (MDiv’07) Conrad M. Rocha Lana E. Russell John L. Van Osdall Michael Waschevski Teresa Welborn Elizabeth C. Williams Michael G. Wright
4 In 2020 Federico Archuleta painted this mural, which he calls “Praying/Washing Hands,” on a wall of an East Austin bar shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this issue, graduates of Austin Seminary reflect on the meaning of this year.
Austin Seminary graduates reflect on the events of this most unsettling year Cameron Allen (MDiv’07) Eric Gates (MDiv’12) Amy Litzinger (MATS’15) Randolph Knighten Jr. (MATS’18) Marta Zaborowski Ukropina (MDiv’06) Sheth LaRue (MDiv’20)
12 Windows asked our alumni,
“What would you put in a time capsule for 2020?” & departments
Austin Seminary Association (ASA) Board
Sarah Allen (MDiv’07, DMin’19) David Gambrell (MDiv’98) John Guthrie (MDiv’06) Carl McCormack (MDiv’95) Denise Odom (MDiv’99) Noemi Ortiz (MATS’15) Jean Reardon (MDiv’05) Valerie Sansing (MDiv’00) Rita Sims (DMin’15) Paul Sink (MDiv’00) Ayana Teter (MDiv’06)
seminary & church
twenty-seventh & speedway
15 faculty news & notes
Lyndon L. Olson Jr. B.W. Payne Max Sherman Anne Vickery Stevenson
Sheila Sidberry-Thomas (MDiv’14), President Melinda Hunt (CIM’16), Vice-President Josh Kerr (MDiv’14), Secretary Barrett Abernethy (MDiv’13), Past President
Nancy Benson-Nicol Bridgett Green Sylvia Greenway Gary Mathews Usama Malik Mikala McFerren Alison Riemersma Sharon Sandberg Mona Santandrea Kristy Sorensen
16 live & learn 17 alumni news & notes
Windows is published three times each year by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. To read prior issues, go here: AustinSeminary.edu/windows 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
seminary church “2020: Seriously??” couple of months ago, my colleague Heather Zdancewicz, vicepresident for finance and administration, sent me a video of a Coors beer commercial. It made me laugh out loud! It started off with a happy-go-lucky-fellow waltzing down an ordinary street on a blue-sky cloudless day. He was singing uproariously the song “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” and all around him nature was cooperating with his joyous mood. Birds sang harmony, squirrels up a tree did cute little dance routines to the beat of the music, raccoons ravaging someone’s garbage can interrupted their work long enough to dance as well, as the happy guy walked and sang and whistled his carefree way down the street. At one point, still singing, he picked up the morning newspaper from someone’s yard, and opened it up to see the banner-line morning headline: “2020: Seriously??” He tossed the paper back in the yard and then the scene shifted to him climbing gorgeous and colorful mountains—as if he was now on the classic set of “The Sound of Music”—and still singing, of course. But the beautiful daydream came to an abrupt end as the man remembered that, in reality, he was sitting in on a corporate Zoom meeting, and the imaginative reverie disappeared as the droning speaker could again be heard. “And now,” the speaker said, “let’s turn to financial slide number 256.” Somehow the spot ends by extolling Coors beer, as the man who had daydreamed his way into a magnificent mental escape settled back into the drudgery of virtual corporate life in 2020. “2020: Seriously??” This year—2020—has summoned from all of us the “doneness” we feel in this slow-burning and overwhelming pandemic, not to mention the fraught political climate and the economic uncertainty and the featureless daily landscape of “Groundhog Day” played and replayed and re-replayed on practically every new day into which we awaken. Were it not for the blessings of technology, masks, Netflix, take-out food, and those occasional socially distanced conversations on a patio with this or that “pod” of friends or family, 2020 would probably be unbearable. Here, though, at this point near the beginning of December, I do give thanks for the small (and sometimes large) glimpses I have seen of resilience in this year. I’ve seen it in so many churches, where people are marshalling the creativity to keep practicing worship and learning and community and discipleship—again, thanks to Zoom. I’ve seen it in the abiding support the Seminary is continuing to get from the generous people in its constituency. I’ve seen it in the pluckiness with which faculty and students have adjusted to the new pedagogies that continue to make learning possible. I’ve seen it in so many beautiful examples of tenacity. From another angle of vision, 2020 (“Seriously??”) may end up being the year that brought us unexpected gifts of courage.
Virtual “Lunch & Learn” Events for Prospective Students: 2021 January 14, 2021, noon-1 CT February 18, 2021, noon-1 CT
Theodore J. Wardlaw President
March 11, 2021, noon-1 CT Discovery Weekend is April 16-18, 2021, noon-1 CT May 13, 2021, noon-1 CT 2 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Seminary mourns loss of newest board chair
r. Walter Harris Jr. was elected and installed as Austin Seminary’s newest Chair of the Board of Trustees on November 2, following the lengthy term of Chair G. Archer Frierson. Harris died unexpectedly in New Orleans on November 21. He had served as a member of the board from 20062015 and from 2016-2020; he was vice-chair from 2016-2020. A higher education administrator at Knoxville College in Tennessee, Arizona State University in Tempe, and North Carolina Central University in Durham, Walter Harris was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Loyola University (2003-2008). In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, he helped lead Loyola as students spent the fall semester at universities across the country. A university spokesman said, “Almost ninety percent of Loyola students returned in spring 2006 to a still-struggling city. One of the many accomplishments of Dr. Harris was his ability to help lead the university through such a difficult chapter with faith, perseverance, and expertise.” Following his retirement from administrative duties in 2008, he served as distinguished professor of music at Loyola until 2018. A native of Selma, Alabama, Harris received a bachelor’s degree from Knoxville College and a master’s degree and a doctorate from Michigan State University. An accomplished
musician, singer, and pianist, Harris studied choral conducting from such leading conductors as Robert Shaw, Charles Hirt, and Joseph Flummerfeldt. He directed a number of highly regarded choirs and choral ensembles—some of which performed internationally. “During those years of his leadership at Loyola, Dr. Walter Harris joined our board,” says Austin Seminary President Ted Wardlaw. “From practically the very beginning of his tenure with us, he became deeply respected for his steady and authoritative demeanor, his wisdom and leadership experience, his faithful churchmanship, and his warm and welcoming spirit. His wife, Henrietta, often joined him at board meetings, and she was also a delightful conversation partner and a friend to the Seminary.” Harris served as an elder at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church in New Orleans, and he and Henrietta were active in leadership there as well as in the greater New Orleans community. Their daughter Ayana Teter (MDiv’06) and son-in-law, Aaron Teter (MDiv’06), are Austin Seminary graduates. “It is impossible to calculate what a loss Walter’s leadership will be to the Seminary,” added Wardlaw. “He is gone too soon and he will be greatly missed.” v
Louis Zbinden, former board chair and professor, dies in September
he Reverend Louis Zbinden, former chair of the Austin Seminary Board of Trustees (1999-2002) and the first holder of The Louis H. and Katherine S. Zbinden Distinguished Chair of Pastoral Ministry and Leadership (2003-2009), died on September 11. Zbinden served for thirtyone years as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas. To honor Zbinden at his retirement, the congregation raised $1.2 million to endow The Zbinden Chair at Austin Seminary. The chair gave Austin Seminary the opportunity to invite distinguished
and experienced pastors to teach in broad areas of ministry, including church administration, stewardship, preaching, and church programming. Louis Zbinden was the first holder of the chair, sharing with students the expertise he acquired during long years of ministry and service to the church. “Louis Zbinden was the epitome of the Christian gentleman,” said President Ted Wardlaw. “He was a devout biblical scholar, a committed Presbyterian churchman, a pastor-preacher, a missional advocate, and an enduring friend of Austin Seminary. Louis was a relentless proponent for the Seminary’s spiritual and financial health. Louis was a friend, pastor, and confidante to me from the very first days of my presidency, and I join the ranks of grateful admirers who keenly sense his absence. ‘A prince has fallen in Israel.’” A memorial service for Reverend Zbinden was held on September 19 at First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. v
& speedway on page 14 Winter 2021 | 3
This has been a year unlike any the nation has seen. How were we challenged and what have we learned from the yearâ€™s global pandemic, natural disasters, and
Mural on East 6th Street in Austin by Federico Archuleta
social unrest? Austin Seminary graduates consider.
Rememberi 4 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
* if we even want to ...
Winter 2021 | 5
Photo: Madi Winfield/Missourian via AP Photo by Dan Keck / CCO 1.0
r. We sed doo lo c a : d to min hat we coming ’s door t s r p o e b e h k ig our e e g oor that t’s our n one ima I d , . y 0 0 r 2 2 a 0 u 0 t 2 c 2 E YEAR t of closed doors ined shut. It’s the san ho love them. Nowthe H T N O lo LECT ll. We’ve seen a and now it’s lock o see the saints w m windows. It’s F E R I S oo A gh, nt t r we b, the h tiny Z g ed throu ugh in exciteme this doo u o lk w r a o h local pu w t n e e k h h w t it o , all a s r t f a h n f t n ity o taura r crawl knock o commun he Tex-Mex res , skip, o ir e used to n ore h u t r e o t e t : ost re few m nly s a us e d o m e n e y r e e e h r t h d t Th y il ch , and spice. n six to enjo r is shut with ho een give k we used r b s o e e c v w a la y h that doo p dably year in m se persons who derstan or of the is o n h d u t e d s v e r s a o o clo pice h ed do an th ide alley. any clos tions th le in hos uld prov p la m o o u c n e p t e p o a e r p h b bowling t o f able close re have caring ssionals y vulner re in the The amilies fi al profe F d . ic il e d v e medicall w li e m at is o k n Photo by Joe Piett or less t kness th ors, eve 9 burn li ic 1 it s is D d v I n V a w months o all ese d CO eath o e d t s Th f s t . o e s n r n a e o k it it s ave w g a wa to visit been he and homes h g, leavin sed their doors g in v in s li r ffering, d u u e s N z , lo . li c n a lp e n io e t h utio more , they ’v h isola of instit become ted muc tandably a s s r e a r e h c d g quarters e n v in U r. mes ha 20. Dy ny othe rsing ho ult in 20 u c n postunlike a iffi r d u o e g in the mor rs of e o in y o m d d o f c d o e e clos has b at the lation n. Dying t the iso years. or those f a r io b s e o f s c m e n n o r e c e p s e , I’ve e to de sb hristian odied pr started C b an it ha s a h a m t s e w A d t n n, e . a t n e e ult isola separatio l e movem arnational: to b extremely diffic a ic ic p s s y o h h e of p is inc sion ide The mission emic valu ow do we prov that mis d r e n u d a a O p . m a w s r war e love. H this ne D-19 ha afar? ess and ty with n li e. COVI a f d li it in f p k her from s felt like s o t f o d o o h s f h en t c o c a a e e sk are , it ha e love he valu ost days ing a ma ow do w alance t r b M a H iplies . e o ? t t w ly u d e o d t le this irit mult emo ce an f p r n S o e strugg a r t e e a h is c m t d o e on s w iv eeping pped off ing ssing ho to figure d palliat e o r n n le a d it b s l, a where k w a n n u d then ” shin edicatio ave bee al, spirit ing eyes bread an oom, m od we h il f Z G o emotion m r f f s e “ o a v , e o lo e c n ople ed all he gra the pho d for pe ers shar f nd a sm o y a o G a r h d k s By t P n n fi . e a h r ime of a measly loves. Th it enoug the othe in this t g e n l n k a o e a v ic e e m g ic r k o o offering in t ug h su the sic uring v and aga care for nds thro f a reass a o o h t t s ’s r it again y r o a e f w ks and , the com ouch of a caregiv o find creative ood wor g r u o y porches t t e rs ay see mask, th em to open doo t they m a h t above a h o t s , ll new rs alues ca g about ore othe . f in r e n b b io . y t e ) t a whose v 6 r in li ot a h hospita thew 5:1 and sep ho die n r light s t n u w a n ia o e t io y M s t ( is t o r la n h le h o e t is way, heav . May all to C he same who is in ay our c isolation r f M e o . h s t r in a In t o a F o ur t, the p ened d r y to yo ar of op t to blun e s y a give glo stin a le e t b a , or spice Au d o n y 2021 H e a , o s t M e , gether l Ser vic being to f Clinica f o o r . s o s t y r c a o e o w d 7), Dir d closed (MDiv ’0 n e ll die behin A am 6 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary – Rev. C
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– Rev. Eric G Founder /Ow ates (MDiv ’1 ner of Devil 2) Dog Coffee C ompany Winter 2021 | 7
Photo by Dan Keck / CCO 1.0
G HA S C HA N citizens for n GED. I was an ine years as a Austin police patrol officer, and as an un officer who se working in p dercover offi rved its re d ce ominantly m r infiltrating w Brotherhood inority comm hite supremac and Aryan C unities, ist gangs such ircle. I will te fair or equal ll you that th a s th to brown and e A ry a n e criminal ju black people guilty of sim stice system . They are sen ilar crimes. Th h a s n ot been t to prison more ey get higher policed. Use often than w bail from jud of force is dis hites found ges. Their co proportionat The disp mmunities h ely higher wh arities came av e b een overen compared to to a head this breaking poin encounters w summer with t sparking ou it h whites. George Floyd trage that fu of a white po ’s death. Floy eled the Black lice officer pre d w a s the L iv es Matter mo ssing his knee officers stood vement. We into Floyd’s n around not in saw a video eck for over tervening, ev for a momen eight minute en as he crie t. He cried ou s a s d other o ut for his mo t for his moth right in fron ther. Let that er in the last t of our eyes sink in moments of . What was h convenience his life. Floyd is crime? He store. Even so sl p o w u rp ly died o rtedly passed , he was supp until proven a fake $20 bil osed to be co guilty. Remem l at a nsidered inn ber that? If o worked and co ocent upon a ne disagreed ntributed to rr es t. , Innocent th en modern syst they didn’t u As an ord emic problem nderstand ho ained ministe s. w the law r, this sicken continued to ed me. Many send “though w h it ts and prayer e leaders, in disproportio church and g s,” yet stood nately betwee o ver1.0nment, n th n e Photo by US Navy /oCC w sidelines as ju h The inequality ite and peop stice was serv le of color co was not only ed m munities. in policing, b unequal fund ut also lendin ing of schools g and financi , lack of publi neighborhoo ng, c transportat ds, voter sup io n in minority p ression, pred focused on p atory lendin eople of colo g practices r, food deser impacting ac ts , and federal p cess to low co olicies negat st and afford color. ively able health ca re for people of I have bee n asked whet her we should is: No. Ever y “defund the nation in the police.” My a world, excep organized po nswer t Somalia, has lice helping m so me form of a intain peace. when minori Yet, there ca ties continue nnot be peace to be treated religious, edu u nequally wit cational, ban hin the judic king, employ It’s easy to fo ial, ment, and go cus anger on v ernment syst the police bec But are you w ems. ause they wea illing to focu r a uniform a s anger towa businesses o n d are easily id rd those not r agencies th entified. wearing a po at contribute spouse, frien li ce u niform who to inequality? W d, colleague, work in ould you focu pastor, or nei discriminate s your anger ghbor who ch or benefit fro to ward your o se to not speak m unequal tr status quo fo up in workpla eatment of p r fear of not ces that eople of colo rocking the b I hope th r and instead oat? at as you read m a in tain the this, you dec whenever yo ide to take ac u failed to do tion working one of these to do it for J to create equ things to som esus. ality. Because eone who wa s being oppre ssed, you fail ed
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Photo NPS / Jacob W. Frank
Photo Chad Davis / CC BY-SA 2.0
Joel D’Angelo, photograph
Photo by King County Parks Your Big Backyard Photostream / CC BY-NC 2.0
Photo by Scott Lum CC BY-NC 2.0
have Y COMMUNITY. Now IT IL B A IS D E H T d work together MEMBERS OF tive and adapt an
to be crea challenge, always been able and fear is a new n ow kn un e th es we face: ate of a few of the issu e the overall clim ar e er H . te da ut an end one is the head especially witho ncy stockpiles if ge er em om fr e not labl d employers are se • PPE is only avai ba yit un m m itution; co to purchase of a medical inst cannot be used s nd fu d ai ic ed le. M rvices. considered eligib based ous to use our se rd za ha ’s their payment is it e ns us ea ca m be k ch or hi w w , le te while we are PPE ing permitted to lowed to be paid al be t t no no e e ar ar s ts nt an • Attenda limited. munity attend in the hospital is ts ally present. Com ic en ti ys pa ph g to in ss t it is be ce on be preser ved, bu risome when ac to or w ed ’s it ne d nd te A . ea cr ed hospitaliz onships we’ve We’ve realized nts of requests. looms. The relati t ou en am m ve oy si pl as m m ne system is le •U t I’m afraid this rvices will hand bu se , y ly lit al bi on sa rs di pe w d unclear ho ofessionally an ese people are, pr th le ab lu va w , especially ho at risk for Covid e or m e. us t bl pu na ai not sust c needs which with infected complex, chroni in more contact ve us t ha pu us ay of m y at an that th •M inue healthcare l. We are worried nt ua co us to an ed th s ne e ed w y to al ne because en as more likel ce higher medic se en e ri ar pe ho ex w us ts of en h long-term towards pati people. Many ivors end up wit s will be rerouted rv ie su it id ss ov ce C ne if r us ou some of es it mean for id. And what do ov C om fr r ve co ho do not re pecially those w es s, ie lit bi sa s? di ie disabilit ith coexisting out this. cess for those w ady speaking ab ac re th al al e er he l w e ta w en , id •M religious hted. Before Cov gs, inclusion in in lig er gh th hi ga en al be ci s so l focus speak, ha y deliver y, digita s to our shifted er fit oc ne gr be e, e m ar ho e er • Working from some of us. Th many families ve improved for remember that ha ld c. ou et sh s, e ie w it , er un opport tity. Howev and childcare care, education, ction versus quan th ra al te in he y e it lik al , qu es ic physical on rv e need accessible access needed se W . to s) g ie lin lit gg bi sa ru st di ill not h are still young adults wit bility fear they w h sa it di w r ei es th ili m of fa e r (especially fo e others are r a mask becaus re. This is becaus who cannot wea e ca os th al th he nd r A . he es ot activiti ek testing or stancing. virus as they se ders or social di e or th k as om m fr h fe it w sa y be compl n and events, the choice not to ss to informatio ce cal ac e at willfully making rn te al lue in technologi oviding va pr is e ue er in Th nt . co es ld al access We shou over virtual on rtain tasks. Virtu -person events ce in r fo ng zi ce ti ri an io st si pr as e d also without ence, but it coul ons to request liv as nd re pe d de an in , e ns or io m accommodat , or allow for time, and energy s, ce ur so re ve t I’ve ss or ability. may sa e of lack of acce VID-19, but wha O us C ca ng be ri rs du ie e rr lif ba just create new a time capsule of ic has shown us be em to nd ed pa os e pp Th . su ve is ovid-exclusi e existing I know this es aren’t really C the trauma of th su h is ug r ro ou th of g t lin os realized is m d organize a are white-knuck rve ourselves an ything was; we se er ob ev to e us io m ti ar ec us how pr ace has given this “paused” sp system. I think es. reflects our valu (MATS’15) plan that better – Amy Litzinger y Team Parent Advocac to nt re Pa s xa - Te blic Policy Lead Self Advocate; Pu
88| |Austin AustinPresbyterian PresbyterianTheological TheologicalSeminary Seminary
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Photo: National Park Service
INE NAME the Preside D HIM the d ntial Medal ean of black of Freedom prominent preachers in from Presid leader in th 1980. In 20 ent Bill Clin e U.S. Civil with other 00, he was a to n. The Rev. Rights Mov African Am warded D e r. Gardner C m e nt and work erican clerg I know . T a y e y d lo p w r eople to fou was a ith Dr. Mart of Rev. Taylo nd the Prog in Luther K r because I College was ressive Nati in grew up in th g J r. along forced to cl onal Baptist e shadows o ose in 1960 Convention f his alma m . Throughou . ater, Leland t its histor y, its main ob College. Lela it educated jective of tr nd hundreds o aining educa f Black stud halls to imp tors and min e act the worl n ts with isters who w d. My grand in the shad ould leave it father Majo ows of this s r King Jr. li great instit 10:47 a.m., ved his enti ution, but o he died from re li n fe Tuesday, Au complicatio a host of gra gust 4, 202 ns related to ndchildren 0 , at COVID-19. and great-g if he would As the eldest randchildre still be with n of , I cannot h us today if th downplayed elp but won e im b p y a d leaders of o ct of COVID er oto: Michael Swan / CCO 1.0 ur countr y. My gran -19 had not dfather (sh b e e n own here in been a part his high sch of my life fr ool baseball om the beg corner from uniform) ha inning. Our my grandpa d fa m il y re li n v ts Louisiana. I ed just arou in the Lelan nd the always knew d College co him to be a mmunity o for his famil work truck hard-workin f Baker, y. I can vivid and, after g g m e ly tt a n in re w g cleaned u m My grandfa h e o m lo b v e e r my grandfa d and cared p, he would ther would ther coming then relax o read the ne current issu h w o n m sp th e in his a e p es in our co er ever y sin couch by re mmunity an ading the n gle day, whic As an a e d wspaper. h helped him throughout dult, I can re the world. develop an member dri anything, I awareness o ving my gra remember b f ndfather to eing my gra my grandfa buy catfish ndfather’s b ther’s barbe o r a newspape arber. Yes, th r. I have nev hair as a yo r, but more at’s right, w er been a pro ung person than h il e I lived in L fessional ba , and I would Not only wo ouisiana I w rber but my share the sk uld I cut my as father taug ill with fam grandfather’ ht me how throughout ily members s hair, he als to the commu cut and friends o recruited nity. As a fa for. whenever I me to be th mily we hav co uld. e barber for a e always trie Prayer w few of his fr d our best to as another iends make sure e way we sho took on a d ver yone wa wed our care ifferent me s ca red for each oth aning. We b grandfather’ er, but in th egan to gath s prognosis. e summer o er daily for We prayed e f 2020 pray virus in a h prayer via Z ach day for ospital bed er o o m w h h e is in n su w B r vival. We p e received m aton Rouge been alone; , Louisiana, rayed for him y he had alwa alone. All o ys been surr as he fough He did f his life he t the ounded by fr not have th h a d ie n n e a v t d er s o ption in the and family Our fam members. last weeks o ily and all o f his life. f the Leland will miss M C o llege comm ajor “Sonny unity of Bak ” King Jr. Th of this grea er, Louisian e grief we a t man conti a, re e xperiencing nues to be v we refuse to e fr r om the loss y painful. Fro allow others m this day fo to downpla sickness for rward may y the seriou that matter. sn ess of COVID Just as Dr. oppression T -19, or any a y of Black peo lor and Dr. King stood ple during th '60s, may w u p against th e Civil Righ e stand with e ts Moveme all who are other syste nt of the 19 experiencin mic dispari 5 0 s and g the kind o ties that ha f health, we ve been rev alth, and ealed in this – R andolph age of COV Knighten J ID-19. r. (M Director of ATS ’18) Outreach M inistries, Sa int John’s U nited Meth odist Churc h, Austin, T exas Winter Winter 2021 2021 || 9 9
Photo: National Park Service
the Pacific Northwest,
L DAY in STRANGE BUT BEAUTIFU home for the past five years. My day A AS W 20 20 Y DA R BO LA led ce this native Texan has cal de
nic Casca n—the pla especially in Eugene, Orego the jagged peaks of the volca g tin gh hli hig , les mi for e with visibility ge because of the started with a gorgeous hik , Coastal Range. It was stran ful uti bea as y all equ t bu , months had matic Mountains and the less dra how un-normal the last few on up ed ect refl I ed hik I ndemic, and as ep and find new skills continuing coronavirus pa have caused us all to dig de ic em nd pa a g rin du ing liv and been. Pastoring, parenting, we had. ew kn led our family to ser ve and strength we never nksgiving that God had cal tha of l ful d un aro ked loo day. I here you look. But, it was a beautiful creation seems to be everyw in rk iwo nd ha d’s Go ere er, but to be honest, I in Oregon, a place wh rt on my phone for fire dang ale an ing see ber em rem I up. Later, the winds kicked I had awoken too early, didn’t think much of it. ke up, it was dark. Thinking wo I en Wh l. rea sur s wa , ver g, but with an ught. It was dark as evenin Tuesday morning, howe tho I n tha er lat lly ua act s see that it wa ls. It was raining—ASH. I looked at the clock only to ked out the sun and the hil cho it ck thi so s wa e ok sm The eerie reddish orange glow. rd, apocalyptic. wo ter had been evacuated, It was, for lack of a bet t many of our parishioners tha d rne lea We ay. aw les grew and so 15 mi As the day wore on, the fire A wildfire was burning ht. nig the of le dd mi the in with no warning, d people’s anxiety. did the evacuation zone an West was on fire. The news was dismal—the -19, but despite the of course because of COVID g gin llen cha s wa g rin sto Pa fund, took meals rted a successful fire relief sta We . rch chu the ll sti s, phone pandemic, we are reached out through email d an ve, dri n tio lec col a d reflected on to those in need, organize ns. And through all this, we aco de of ard bo r ou d an ip, calls, virtual worsh aren’t. We all our call as Christians. of God’s creation. We just rds wa ste od go ng bei t no Friends, we are ing the environment. ryday lives that focus on sav eve r ou in s ion cis de ke ma d hot, need to se fires that burn so fast an the t Bu . en pp ha y the al— Wildfires are norm There is extreme in minutes, are not normal. ies nit mu com d an s me ho super-charged destroying n. The fires and all the other tai con to t cul diffi m the getting fires and makes ate change. But instead of clim of drought which fuels these lity rea the to ing . The fact rld are symptoms point truth that is staring us down natural disasters in our wo the ay aw n lai exp d an s use God calls y, we make exc mind. We must do better. my our act together as a societ les gg bo on ati cre d’s st look deep ues like tending to Go ming the other side, we mu that we have politicized iss bla of te rou ier eas the ing constantly tak us to do better! Instead of a difference. is widespread on what we can do to make stay inside. The destruction within ourselves and focus to d ha we t tha us do zar ha the air was so er that hit in the midst For almost two weeks, r reminding us of the disast sca a is It e. sam the be ver l ne is my hope that it and the landscape here wil e from those ashes, and it ris l wil life w Ne . life rn de years of mo of one of the most difficult care for God’s creation. g to do all in our power to lin cal r ou of er ind rem a will ser ve as ina (MDiv ’06) – The Rev. Marta Z. Ukrop Oregon sbyterian Church, Eugene, Co-Pastor, Westminster Pre
10 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
SIX WEEKS INTO M presided at the fune Y FIRST CALL—I ral of one of my sess ion members. My leg walked up and down s ached as I the stairs of the chan cel, and as I preached in short, intentiona I had to speak l sentences. These re sidual effects were fa death. I had contract r better than ed the virus from th e man in the coffin a when we delivered fo m onth earlier od to the working po or in our small town Missouri. And as I co in southwest mmended his body to the earth, I silently why it wasn't me. questioned My legs still ache an d my sentences have slowly grown in lengt it will be until I am h, but I wonder how back to my pre-COVI long D life. I wonder how the four or five mile lo ng it will be until I can wa s a day I used to, or lk can preach with long how long it will be be , eloquent sentences. fore my partner and I wo nd er I can smile and rem we worried and prep ember fondly those ared for my possible we ek s wh de en at h. I wonder how long get back to those da it will be before we ca ys—those days way n back in February wh news. Those days wh en the virus was but en we could eat at pa a bl ip in the ck ed restaurants and shak we could see each ot e hands … those days her’s smiles and wors when hip together … thos My hands have e days when life was been forced into mot “n or m al. io ” n as this virus has settled of life around me wh in the cracks and crev ere “normal” is no lo ices nger the norm. As m days not so long ago, uch as I long for thos I honestly don’t thin e no rm al k I wo uld want to go back to go back, because . I don’t think I woul we have all been forc d want ed to think about th for so long. We have in gs th at we have shuffled had to wrestle with aside what pro-life truly m what a confessing an eans. We have had to d communing body wr es tle with looks like. We have of technology in wo had to wrestle with rship and how we ca bo th the use n use technology to wrestle with end-of provide worship. We -life plans, with trus ha ve had to ting the unknown, an we just don’t like. W d with praying for th e have been forced to ose people care for our neighbor for the things we ha s, care for our church ve ignored for too lo , and care ng. In some strange way, I am thankful fo r this virus and the the standing-still. It ways in which it has has forced us all to do moved us, something. We mus we have known; we t commend to the ea must begin to hope rth what for something new, but for our lives as we not only for the life ll. I pray that we can of th e church embrace Paul’s word always rejoicing ” (2 s of being “sorrowful Cor. 6:10) by mourn , yet ing the losses of peop simultaneously rejo le and things around icing in the resurrec us while tion and in the resu rrection to come. – The Rev. Sheth La Rue (MDiv’20) Pastor, First Presby terian Church, Auro ra, Missouri
Photo: Thomas Elliott / CC
Winter 2021 | 11
Alumni messages for a time capsule … I want to leave behind and bury a year of worrying about the success or failure of a particular church! God has already saved the church through his son, Jesus Christ. There is no need to save it again! –Rosie Grattan (MDiv’11)
We’ve held drivethrough communion at First United Methodist Church in Edom, Texas –Rita Sims (DMin’15) – David Gambrell (MDiv’98) shown above with his family in their (Zoom) Easter clothes. Below his (tongue in cheek) liturgical contribution to the year.
Don’t Gather Together!
Tune: Kremser (“We Gather Together”)
As the parent of a special needs child, wearing masks in 2020 has been very unique. My son constantly chewed on his cloth masks, so I created a 3D printed mask for him. As I realized others had the same challenge, I started making and distributing them for free in my community. I have distributed over 40 so far. – Cody Sandahl (MDiv’07) I have been inspired by the creativity that seems to have blossomed since Covid-19 started: poetry, music, art, humor, performances both “serious” and “light” have been quite rampant on the internet. Since the first thing we learn about “God” is that God is creative, I have been blessed to see God even more at work in these challenging and difficult times as the creatures made in the image of God practice even more being who they fundamentally are. –Mike Murray (MDiv’61) 12 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
(1) Don’t gather together! We might be contagious. Our state’s Covid cases are way off the chart. Don’t say it’s courageous; it’s disadvantageous to be here in this place less than six feet apart. (2) Don’t gather together! This room is not airy. I’ve just read the latest from the CDC. Till this sanctuary is not quite so scary the breath of God alone will be breathing on me.
(3) Don’t gather together! We’re under the weather. Reschedule the potluck (not anytime soon). Till we are all better don’t be super-spreaders. O come, Emmanuel, and make us immune. (4) Don’t gather together without vaccination; the only thing we want to spread is the Word. Let our congregation escape tribulation. God, grant us antibodies; Lord, save your herd.
I served about 300 military personnel and civilians of the Air Force (USAF), Space Force, and Air National Guard as the installation chaplain at Clear Air Force Station (as it was then named) in central Alaska. When I arrived in February, the severity (and even the threat) of the pandemic was not fully understood. This changed after about ten days, and by the time March rolled around, the installation had raised the health condition level to its penultimate level. They raised it that high, not because of infections, but because of the threat the station was under if COVID-19 got on the installation. Serving at Clear in -30°F weather is kind of like serving on a giant submarine. People are inside almost all day, and an infection could spread quickly. On top of this, unlike other military installations, if people got sick, there wasn’t much redundancy in personnel. Therefore, anyone coming in from out of state was quarantined. We initially had daily meetings of the Emergency Operations working group, socially distanced, washed hands, and wore masks long before it was underscored in society in general. The active duty personnel were having to deal with being away from their families in a remote environment during a worldwide emergency, which was difficult. “Typical military chaplaincy” turned atypical when I had to come up with techniques to offer worship by myself over WhatsApp and figure out how to support quarantined personnel when we were all confined to quarters for months on end. I would
002 regularly leave "goodie bags" for them and call them on the phone. As the world continues to change, we hold onto the faith and follow the One who calls us.
– Tom Paine (MDiv’98)
We still have a moon that reflects light in the darkness, reminding us that God brought forth light and God continues to be with us in all of creation. We pray for God to lift our spirits through the heaviness and darkness of life. We still pray to have our attention turned from the fears of this world and to turn our hearts to you in Jesus name. Amen. – Wayne McEwen (MA’92)
2020? Bummer. But bummers are, well, normal. Life as usual. Life is tough We die when we’ve had enough. So love is here, to help us make it from year to year.
The Paine family (Tom, Lesley, John, and Hannah) built raised beds for vegetables in Washington state. - Lesley Paine (MDiv‘97)
– Bill Carr (Dip’80) Almost every single day this year, I have written down the most insane “2020” thing that happened on earth. – John Leedy (MDiv’11) (Following is a sample of the 116 things on John’s list): • Murder Hornets • Swarms of Locusts in Africa • American Girl’s new “historical” doll is from 1986 • Coke Boars • Meth Gators • Mr. Peanut died • CDC warning of Cannibal Rats in NYC • Pentagon releases UFO footage • Vampire Fish spawning in Vermont • Merriam Webster Dictionary recognized “irregardless” as a word ...
WHAT HAS INSPIRED US: The Rev. Dr. Wendell Griffen’s sermon & theological discussion focusing on racism at our recent presbytery meeting. WHAT WE MISS: hugs, congregational hymn singing, before & after worship schmoozing. WHAT WE’VE LEARNED: It is essential to
remain involved, the importance of political engagement. WHAT WILL STICK: the power of God’s love & grace & mercy in each & every encounter—not just among church friends. –David (MDiv’97) & Linda Whitworth-Reed (MDiv’08) Winter 2021 | 13
VIRTUAL MidWinters January 25-27, 2021 The Reverend Dr. Scott Black Johnston Senior Pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City
CURRIE LECTURES: “Good News for the Great Awokening: Gospel Truths for the Frightened, the Angry, and the Hyper-Aware”
The Reverend Carol Howard Merritt (MDiv’98)
Author and Pastor of Bedford Presbyterian Church in Bedford, New York JONES LECTURES: “From Plague to Pandemic: What Julian of Norwich Teaches Us about Suffering, Labor, and Wellness”
The Reverend Dr. Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi
Frederick E. Roach Professor of World Christianity at Baylor University WESTERVELT LECTURES: “When Old Answers Do Not Answer New Questions: Uncharted Territory in the World of Enchantment, Christian Theology, and Ministry” MidWinters Preacher
The Reverend Kaci Clark-Porter (MDiv’10)
Co-Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in El Paso, Texas
Register @ AustinSeminary.edu/midwinters 14 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Five new trustees begin terms of service in November
ive new trustees were installed to Austin Seminary’s Board of Trustees at the annual fall meeting in November. Dr. Walter Harris was elected and installed as Chair of the Board. Lee Ardell is an elder at St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas. A retired banker in Dallas and Houston, she remains a director of Texas First Bank in Galveston County and is a trustee of Texas Presbyterian Foundation where she chairs the Audit Committee. She is also a senior trustee for Austin College, of which she is a graduate. Kelley Cooper Cameron is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Canadian, Texas. She is the daughter of former trustee Mert Cooper (2006-2014). An educator and life-long learner, she is currently a student in the Seminary's Certificate in Ministry program. Ora Houston is a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Austin. Houston’s history of serviceoriented work includes decades with the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Child Protective Services, and Austin Travis County MHMR. Houston was the first Austin City Council Representative for Austin's District 1 (2015-2019). John Kenney practices law in Oklahoma City and is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church there. He has twice been appointed temporary judge on the Oklahoma Court of Appeals and is regularly recognized for his legal excellence; he has been frequently named among the “Top 10 Oklahoma Lawyers.” Before law school, he was trained as an industrial engineer, and he holds nine patents for his inventions. He is enrolled in Austin Seminary’s Certificate in Ministry program. Michael Waschevski (DMin’03) is associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He leads the Committee on Ministry for Grace Presbytery and was a member of the Glory to God hymnal committee. He frequently serves as an adjunct professor at Austin Seminary and has served on the board of the Austin Seminary Association.
faculty news notes
New books by Professors Park, White, and Helsel
he new commentary 2 Kings, written by Associate Professor of Old Testament Song-Mi Suzie Park, was published last fall by Liturgical Press. According to the publisher, “The Second Book of Kings—a book whose very title seems to assert the prerogative of male rule—is in fact filled with fascinating female characters as well as issues related to gender. In this commentary, Song-Mi Suzie Park argues that an interrogation of the masculinity of YHWH, Israel’s deity, functions as the driving force behind the narrative in 2 Kings. While the sufficiency of YHWH’s masculinity is affirmed by his military and reproductive prowess, it is also challenged and deconstructed through the painful defeats that end the book. Through a series of close readings, Park elucidates how the story of Israel’s monarchic past in 2 Kings unfolds through a process of continual reformulation of masculinity and femininity in relation to YHWH and Israel.” In its review of the book, The Christian Century (Take & Read, May 2020) said, “Park’s 2 Kings reflects the current state of feminist biblical scholarship: sophisticated and rigorous, infusing trained exegesis with clergy and lay voices (and in some cases adding feminist activists to the mix). She addresses one group in particular that has received little attention in comparable commentaries: widows. Park invites readers to shift their focus from the prophet’s strategy to meet the widow’s need and instead to sit with the widow for a moment and consider the intersecting issues that led to her poverty.” David F. White, The C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Professor of Christian Education, is the editor, with Sarah F. Farmer, of Joy: A Guide for Youth Ministry (Wesley’s Foundery Books, 2020). This book grew out of the Theology of Joy and the Good Life project at The Yale Center for Faith and Culture, for which White was a scholar. Taking cues from theologians such as Miroslav Volf (who led the Yale project), “and recent reflections on joy as the crown of the good life,” according to the publisher, “an ecumenical group of contributors insists that reclaiming joy for youth ministry is crucial in light of modern secularism, which has eviscerated the world of such things as mystery, wonder, grace, and transcendence. The modern world urges us to work and consume compulsively; to value its creatures only for their use or to serve our egos. While consumption sometimes yields
momentary fun or happiness, only rarely does it yield joy. This book contrarily asserts that to reclaim joy is to retrieve a practicable virtue of the Christian faith, express gratitude for God’s gracious gifts, move us to worship, and empower us for active love of God and neighbor.” Carolyn Helsel, Associate Professor in the Blair Monie Distinguished Chair in Homiletics, has added another book to her writings on racial issues. The ABCs of Diversity: Helping Kids (and Ourselves!) Embrace Our Differences, co-written with Joy Harris-Smith, was published this summer by Chalice Press. This book includes resources and activities for younger and older children that parents and community leaders can employ to encourage compassion and empathy. It is an educational and practical resource for parents, teachers, community leaders, ministry personnel, human resources directors, and librarians. Questions at the end of each chapter invite reflection and further discussion. Library Journal calls the book “a wellstructured and pragmatic approach to teaching young people how to embrace the differences among us and begin to participate in civic engagement.” v
faculty notes | Bill Greenway (philosophical theology) gave an address on June 25 to the Clinical Ethics Committee of the Heart Hospital of Austin on “Agape Ethics and Prejudice: the Conscious, the Unconscious, the Structural.” On July 23 he gave a keynote address to a Nurse’s Forum, also at the Heart Hospital of Austin, on “Moral Distress, Moral Injury, and Agape Theory.” His book reviews of Nancy Duff’s Making Faithful Decisions at the End of Life and David Clough’s On Animals: Theological Ethics, were published in Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, 74(4), October 2020. He gave two lectures in the UK to the Lancaster University Philosophy Society on October 15 and 22. Carolyn Helsel (homiletics) participated in dozens of
podcasts, presentations, and webinars across the country to discuss her new book, The ABCs of Diversity. In August she served as moderator for two webinar panels, “Gift Sharing and Truth Telling,” for the Academy of Homiletics. On August 25, she was a panelist for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Town Hall Meeting during their Week of Anti-Racism Action. She spoke on a September 30 webinar for From Pew to Public Square—a joint endeavor between the PC(USA) and the Episcopal Church. She lectured for Georgetown University’s Just Communities Program on “The Emotions and Strategies in the Work of Anti-Racism,” October 21, and on November 11 she spoke at the Academy of Homiletics’ Town Hall Meeting.
Winter 2021 | 15
Houses of Hope: New program for small town and rural churches
his fall, Education Beyond the Walls (EBW) at Austin Seminary learned it had received a grant of $999,453 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish Houses of Hope, a new program designed to serve small town and rural congregations. “Houses of Hope helps fulfill the Seminary’s mission of service to the church,” says Melissa Wiginton, vice president for EBW. “The congregations our program will address are places where hope may be at a low ebb but where the potential to influence transformation toward hope is significant. We will focus on Christian practices of forgiveness and gratitude that open to and nourish hope. A digital Houses of Hope Learning Center will
serve congregations across the country, while Houses of Hope Learning Cohorts will deeply engage congregations in Oklahoma and Texas.” Work on the project begins January 1, 2021. The program is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to strengthen Christian congregations so they can help people deepen their relationships with God, build strong relationships with each other and contribute to the flourishing of local communities and the world. v
Grant allows expansion of Instituto de Maria y Marta (IMM)
he St David’s Foundation awarded a one-year, $41,000 grant to IMM which will benefit Latinx immigrant women made more vulnerable by the pandemic. Through IMM, women engage a curriculum for intellectual, physical, and spiritual development toward greater health and wellness— and prevention of personal and economic losses. Grant funds make possible the production of asynchronous video learning modules, publication of six print books written for the project by Mónica Tornoé, director of Latinx Learning, and a digital platform to support online community.
Education Beyond the Walls launches virtual community with EBW Springs
Professors Cynthia Rigby (theology) and Jennifer Lord (homiletics and liturgical studies) offer two new videos considering communion in the age of online worship. View these and other resources on Austin Seminary’s Vimeo site:
AustinSeminary.edu/desert-times 16 | Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
s Education Beyond the Walls (EBW) continues to innovate to meet the challenges of the times, we have begun a new online gathering space called EBW Springs. Part online learning platform, part social connection hub, you’ll find e-courses, groups focused on ministry-related topics, and thought-provoking conversation threads at the Springs. We invite you to join us and: • engage in theological education that meets you where you are and helps you go where you are being called. • connect with people who share your interests and who care about the same topics. • exchange experiences, insights, and ideas around our shared mission of transformation. • find a little inspiration for your journey. Look for links at AustinSeminary.edu/EBW or type this into your browser:
alumni news notes
class notes |
Chris Reyes (MDiv’15), ordained by the Central Texas Conference of the UMC, September 20, 2020. Chris serves as program coordinator for Career and Professional Development at Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas.
Nancy Junkin, wife of Dick Junkin (MDiv’62), died July 25, 2020, Franklin, Tennessee. Warner Bailey (MDiv’64) has a new book, published by Wipf and Stock, Aliens in Your Native Land, 1 Peter and the Formation of Christian Identity.
1970s Bob Lively (MDiv’73, DMin’79) has a new book, Cotton-Eyed Joe, expected to be released by Christmas from Treaty Oak Publishing.
1980s Lynn Willhite (MDiv’85) was honorably retired by the Texas Annual Conference of the UMC. In 2016 she founded a nonprofit in her town named WE CARE Palestine, Texas. Ray Schroeder (MDiv’86) is pastor at Grace Lower Stone Reformed Church, Rockwell, North Carolina. Randy Nolen (MDiv’87) was honorably retired by Sierra Blanca Presbytery, September 1, 2020. Sally Johnson (MDiv’89) has written a sequel to her debut novel. The Land of The Living picks up where After Yesterday ended.
1990s John Hirling (MDiv’90) was honorably retired by New Covenant Presbytery, March 24, 2020. Laurel Neal (MDiv’91) was honorably retired June 2020. She and her husband, Fitz, have moved to the Denver area. Tracey Davenport (MDiv’99) has been called as pastor / head of staff at Grace Presbyterian Church, Plano, Texas.
2000s Miracle Ajah (MA’01) has been elected as Principal Clerk of the
Church for the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. On August 1 Melodie Long (MDiv’04) began a new call as transitional pastor at Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Waterford, Connecticut. Mitchell Holly (MDiv’08; photo above) has been promoted to major; he is a chaplain in the United States Air Force.
2010s Jeannine Caracciolo (MDiv’15) and Meg Vail (MDiv’17) welcomed their son, Grady Bryan Vail, born August 1, 2020. Amanda Mackey (MDiv’16) married Joshua Boss on September 5, 2020. She recently was called as pastor to First Presbytery Church, Kasson, Minnesota. Tiffany and Ryan Gaffney (MDiv’16) welcomed daughter Lydia Jane into the world on June 19, 2020. Hierald Osorto (MDiv’18) now serves as executive director for Student Equity and Belonging in addition to his role as director of Religious and Spiritual Life at Ithaca College.
Trevor Kennedy (MDiv’17), ordained by the Central Texas Conference of the UMC, September 20, 2020. Trevor is senior pastor at Good News UMC, Leander, Texas.
Brendan McLean (MDiv’20), ordained by East Iowa Presbytery, October 4, 2020. Brendan is the Austin Seminary Post-Graduate Resident at First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Worth, Texas. Kallie Karper Pitcock (MDiv’20), ordained on Saturday, October 10, by New Covenant Presbytery. Kallie is the Austin Seminary PostGraduate Resident at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas.
Andrew Young (MDiv’17), ordained by the Christian Universalist Association, August 30, 2020. Andrew lives in Japan and is starting an online church community called Community Universalist Church.
in memoriam |
Ed Sackett (MDiv’18), ordained by Mission Presbytery, August 15, 2020. Ed serves as disaster recovery coordinator for Mission Presbytery, San Antonio, Texas.
Charles E. Wolfe (MDiv’58), September 10, 2020, Houston, Texas
Jenny Saperstein (MDiv’19), ordained by the Presbytery of Detroit on July 19, 2020. Jenny is pastor at Northside Presbyterian, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Alan Ford (MDiv’78), July 18, 2020, Russellville, Arkansas
Angela Williams (MDiv’19), ordained September 5, 2020 by Mission Presbytery. Angela serves as outreach and faith organizer for the Texas Freedom Network, Austin, Texas.
Flynn V. Long Jr. (MDiv’52), August 20, 2020, San Angelo Texas Daniel Durway (MDiv’56), July 7, 2020, Raleigh, North Carolina
E. Lee Grisso (MDiv’65), June 26, 2020, Shreveport, Louisiana
Phil Preston (MDiv’85), October 25, 2020, Gulf Breeze, Florida Marisela M. Garcia (MDiv’97), September 2020, Brownsville, Texas Thaddeus T. Hutcheson Jr. (MATS’02), July 11, 2020, Houston, Texas
Lex Allum (MDiv’20), ordained October 25, 2020, by the Presbytery of Detroit. Lex serves as a Lake Fellow in Parish Ministry at Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Eileen L. O'Donnell (MDiv’14), July 10, 2020, Austin, Texas
Nick Demuynck (MDiv’20), ordained by Trinity Presbytery, August 16, 2020. Nick is associate pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina.
Chelsea May LaRue (MDiv’20) is a hospice chaplain with CoxHealth at Home in Springfield, Missouri. She also does pulpit supply in the surrounding area.
Sheth LaRue (MDiv’20), ordained by John Calvin Presbytery, August 23, 2020. Sheth is pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Aurora, Missouri.
Ed Sackett (MDiv’18) and Lynnette Watkins were married October 17, 2020. Alex Pappas (MDiv’19) accepted a call as associate pastor to First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, Louisiana.
Dean Pickett (CIM’16), October 13, 2020, Littleton, Colorado v
We are glad to report that the Thomas E. Brown listed in the memoriam section of the Summer/Fall 2020 issue is not our alumnus of the same name. Tom Brown (MDiv’63) reports to us that he and his wife, Carol, enjoy living in Lakeland, Florida. We regret our mistake and our prayers still go out to the family of the other Rev. Tom E. Brown. Winter 2021 | 17
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 100 East 27th Street, Austin, Texas 78705-5711
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Students and faculty begin 2020-21 academic year mostly online
ustin Seminary opened an extraordinary academic year with an online Convocation Service on September 8, followed by a remote Opening Worship Service that evening. Notably, fifty-eight new master’s-level students have followed God’s call upon their hearts amidst a global pandemic, beginning their journey toward Christian leadership at Austin Seminary. Two students will earn the Master of Arts (Theological Studies) degree; nineteen, the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree; and thirty-seven, the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry (MAYM) degree. Five MDiv students are enrolled in the MDiv/MSSW dual degree program with the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. Due to travel restrictions, the Seminary was unable to enroll any Global Partners this year. The majority of students are from Texas, though twelve states and Puerto Rico are represented in this class. Many students in the MAYM program are from the southeast United States due to the Seminary’s partnership with the Center for Youth Ministry Training, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The median age of the incoming class is 27 (the youngest student is 21 and the oldest is 79); 30% are persons of color, and 65% are single. v
Master of Arts in Youth Ministry (MAYM) students held two “on-campus” intensive weekends this fall. Above: Professor David White teaches a hybrid class—in the classroom and on Zoom. Though many students are living on campus, most of the other master's-level courses are fully online. Below: scenes of socially distant interaction around campus during the fall semester.