Margins on the
Ta ble a ux Fall 2013
from the dean
Tableaux: plural [ta-bloh]: A picturesque group of persons around a common table McAfee takes seriously Jesus’ command for us to serve the “least of these.” As a matter of fact, we’ve built our curriculum with the Christian understanding of service in mind, and we take students off campus and into the community. Every student takes classes in missional theology and contextual ministry. Students do semesterlong internships in nonprofits and/or congregational settings and are assigned projects in other classes (such as the senior Capstone course) leading them to reflect on how theology and service go together—especially in their ministerial context. We’re committed to helping students put their faith into action as well as providing the space necessary for them to think through their embedded theology by offering service-learning opportunities. This Tableaux issue showcases just some of the ways alumni, faculty and students are engaging Jesus’ mandate and providing ministry to those in need. As we celebrate the work God is doing through these individuals, we are reminded yet again just how significant and fulfilling a life in ministry can be. We hope you enjoy the read!
R. Alan Culpepper
contents 6 8 10 12 14 16 19 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 39
“The Plunge” by Rob Nash Ministry on the margins
Kate Riney: Faith to Action Funmi Adebayo: Out of Darkness Noelle Owen: UMCH Gary Burke: Power of Peace Rachel Shapard: CBF Florida “Be Water, My Friend” by David Garber Clayton Davis: The Stewart Center Sacredness of Human Life: Review and Interview “Our Episcopate” by Jacob Cook Arrendale Prison “Avoiding Clergy Burnout” by Chanequa Walker-Barnes Charles Watson: BJC Matt Blair: Inner City Impact “Theology of a Rainbow” by Jeannette Jordan End Notes Class Notes
On the cover: Students at the Andrew P. Stewart Center, where graduate Clayton Davis serves as executive director.
Inaugural Mission Lectures
Beyond the Church:
Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mission in the Neighborhood February 3-4, 2014
Lectures at 7:00 p.m. on February 3 and 10:45 a.m. on February 4 Luncheon and discussion following the lecture on February 4, co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching Churches Find more event information and registration on our website: http://bit.ly/1bVEZvy
Featuring Dr. Alan Roxburgh
Through The Missional Network, Alan leads conferences, seminars and consultations with denominations, congregations and seminaries across North America, Asia, Europe, Australia and the UK. Alan consults with these groups in the areas of leadership for missional transformation and innovating missional change across denominational systems. Along with the team at TMN, he provides practical tools and resources for leaders of church systems and local congregations.
The Plunge A promise made under a bridge It was called “The Plunge” for a good reason. It was an option for students who took Dr. Larry McSwain’s Church and Community course at Southern Seminary in the early 1980s. Here’s how it worked: you and another student in the class met Dr. McSwain on the front campus of the seminary where he made sure you only had $.35 in your pockets—just enough to get you into downtown Louisville on a city bus. Your instructions were to live for 24 hours on the streets of Louisville, surviving by hook or crook. You could beg, borrow or take advantage of the resources available to homeless persons in the city. You could sleep on the street or in a homeless shelter, whatever you might choose to do. I have to confess that I was not looking forward to the experience—but it seemed to me to be much less strenuous than writing a research paper which was the other option Dr. McSwain offered, so off we went. It was a late Friday afternoon in May. Clay was my partner. We wore some old clothes to the front of campus. Met Dr. McSwain. Pocketed our $.35. Climbed on the bus. By about 6 p.m. we were hungry. And we had no money. We made our way up to a hotel and discovered that it was prom night. If you ever find yourself having to panhandle on a Friday night in May, then I’ll let you in on a secret: you can make some quick money by standing at a place where guys are bringing their dates to the prom. These guys were unloading money like nobody’s business. In about 20 minutes, we had collected about $12 between us—enough to pick up a nice dinner of greasy White
Castle burgers down the street. We wandered around the rest of the evening and discovered quite a community of homeless people—men and women who, for some reason, were willing to let us in on how to survive on the streets. One gentleman pointed us toward the Salvation Army. “They’ll give you a nice bed over there,” he said. “It doesn’t smell all that great and you have to listen to a preacher in the morning, but you get a good breakfast.” Fortunately, we got there before the place filled up. We got beds and settled in for the evening. The gentleman was right about the smell. From what I could tell, most of it came from dirty feet. He was also right about the preacher. This guy was awful. He yelled and harangued at us for about 30 minutes while we sat there with growling bellies. Mercifully, that punishment ended and we were able to eat a good breakfast of eggs, bacon, grits and toast. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a more delicious breakfast. We made our way back out onto the streets where we would ask folks who were obviously homeless where to go and what to do. They would point us toward parks where we could rest and eventually toward a soup kitchen where we could have lunch. In the afternoon, we found ourselves under I-71 along the Ohio River. It was there that we met Robert. He was sitting against one of those huge interstate pylons with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. “What you boys up to?” he asked. “We’re just wandering around. Mind if we sit with you?” Clay asked. We declined his offer of whiskey. It was tempting, but we just didn’t think Dr. McSwain would approve. Robert took a couple of swigs and started telling us his story. He was a Vietnam veteran who had served a couple of tours in that war and had never gotten over it. After Vietnam, he tried to make a go at life and failed. Eventually his wife divorced him. He couldn’t hold a job, and he wound up on the streets of Louisville. He paused in the middle of his story when a police cruiser pulled under the highway. “Hey, buddy,” he said to me. “Would you take care of this whiskey bottle just a minute?” He pushed it behind my back, between me and the pylon. I didn’t quite know what to say, so I said nothing. We sat there as the police officer rolled down his window. “What you up to, Robert?” the officer queried. “Aw, just sitting here with some buddies,” he responded. “You haven’t been drinking, have you?” “Aw, nawsir,” he responded. “Don’t even have my bottle with me today.” And he lifted up his empty hands. “All right, then—you boys behave,” the officer said. And he pulled on out to the street. Robert quickly reached behind me and pulled the bottle out. “Thanks,” he said. I sat there, and I thought about the words of Jesus in Matthew 25. When Jesus says, “If you have done it unto one of the least of these, then you have done it unto me,” I think he is talking about Robert. He was one of those people you pass on the street in a big city all the time, and you have this inner struggle about whether to give him a dollar. You wonder exactly how he might use it. You think to yourself, He’s just gonna spend it on liquor. And maybe
you shake your head at him and pass him by, or maybe you do go ahead and give him a dollar because you decide it just doesn’t matter one way or the other what he does with it. And the reality is that there are Roberts all over the world, a billion or more of him. People who are struggling through life making a dollar a day, or less. Some of them have gotten themselves in the mess they are in, and most of them are in that mess because of realities over which they have absolutely no control. There we sat under the interstate by the pylon. Clay, Robert and me. Robert pointed at a grocery cart filled with aluminum cans. “Would you boys help me push that to the redemption center?” he asked. “I don’t know if I can do it by myself.” We stood up, and Clay started pushing the cart. Another homeless man came along, and Robert said, “Oh, my friend here can help me now, and you all can go on your way.” As we turned to leave, Robert suddenly looked at me, pointed his finger in my face, and said, “I know who you are!” And, squinting his eyes up into my face at the sun that was shining behind me, he grabbed my shirt by the lapel and pulled me down to him. “You’re my guardian angel,” he said. And it took everything I had not to recoil at his whiskey breath. He went on. “I want you to promise me something. I want you to promise me that you will never leave me no matter what I do.” Without really thinking, I said, “Robert, I promise. I’ll never leave you no matter what you do.” And he and his friend went down the street pushing that cart. Clay and I stood there and watched them until they disappeared around the corner. I have to admit that I’ve wrestled with the promise I made to Robert. There is no way that I could be with him. I’m no guardian angel. But here is my hope: God has an umbrella over the least of these, and that umbrella is you and me. I hope that, no matter where Robert goes, there are followers of Jesus who watch over him. One after another, day after day. Whether we sit with him by the pylon or welcome him into a homeless shelter or get to know him on the streets as we head into work. Wherever it is and however it is, there is a divine umbrella, held up by God, and made up of people just like us who have decided to care about Robert and to love him. “Come, blessed of the father,” says the king at the judgment. “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” And those on the king’s right hand will say, “Lord, when did we do this?” And he will say, “When you did it to one, just one of the least of these, you did it unto me.” _Dr. Rob Nash
Ministry on When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
Photo courtesy of Kate Riney
the margins Then the king will say to those at his right hand, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;
Faith to Action
During her freshman year of college at Georgia State University, Kate learned about the second largest crime in the world: sex-trafficking. Through community engagement with her church, she learned about sexual exploitation and its impact on families in Atlanta. She quickly began volunteering in an atrisk community with a prevention program. Over the course of the next year, Kate changed her major from film production to social work and devoted the next four years to studying and combating sexual exploitation in Atlanta. During her work with young female survivors of sexual exploitation and their families, Kate learned the importance of community support in the lives of vulnerable children. Almost always the most predictive factor in whether a child would become caught in the slavery of exploitation is the determinant of a capable and resilient care-giver versus an absent or unsupported care-giver. All too often, young girls rescued from life on the streets were a part of the foster care system (or had been at one time). Many of their parents meant well, but they were stretched too thin. As Kate learned these young girls’ stories, she began to look for the ways strong families and individuals could support families made vulnerable by poverty, poor health, prejudice, violence and discrimination. As a community mobilizer for Faith to Action, Kate seeks churches interested in working with vulnerable populations and gives them the resources to most effectively aid orphaned
and vulnerable children in the hopes that one day no child will be sold for sex. Faith to Action has developed a curriculum for churches on best practices in missions with vulnerable children based on six case studies of church-to-church partnerships with U.S. churches and Sub-Saharan churches. Kate is one of four graduate interns currently working to pilot the curriculum in over 75 churches across the country this year. To prepare for work as a community mobilizer, Kate went to the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to learn from natives, CBF field personnel and community developers about vulnerable children in their native context. She spent two weeks observing culture, interviewing native community leaders and studying their models of care for vulnerable children. “What became more and more apparent was the church’s significance in the community,” Kate said. “While government social services were struggling to be efficient and meet the needs of so many people, faith-based community centers and churches were able to meet needs of local people directly without having to pass through as much red tape as the agencies within the over-regulated government system.” One community center, Isibani, has a child crisis center for young girls and boys who have to be removed from the home temporarily due to suspected abuse or neglect called Isipepelo, “the place of safety.” Kate’s experience at Isipepelo revealed to
Photos courtesy of Kate Riney
her God in the face of a child. “One day I went with my host to pick up a few children from the after-school program to take them to Isipepelo for the night. When we brought them into their house to greet the other children, one girl, about seven years old, came running up to me and stuck to my leg like glue. Because of my training with Faith to Action, I knew I needed to help her respond appropriately to me and not exacerbate any attachment issues she was experiencing. I worked with her to stand on her own and keep her hands to herself, while smiling and being gentle. As I struggled to re-direct her to play a game on the floor with me and some other children, I realized, this is just another reason I’m in seminary.” “Ministering isn’t always just showing compassion and loving on a kid with hugs and kisses or teaching them a Sunday School lesson. Being a minister modeled after Christ requires seeing beneath the surface. It begs us to understand that when faced with a hurting and developmentally delayed child, treating her like the capable seven-year old she is, empowering her and showing her love that doesn’t require physical touch, speaks more to her little impressionable mind and to her deeply hurting spirit about her worth and dignity than a pat on the head or hug around the neck.” At McAfee, students take a class called Faith Development. It teaches how to provide spiritual leadership to people at all
levels of development across the spectrum. One of the topics discussed is how many ministers either underestimate or overestimate kids’ abilities. In the case of Kate’s seven-year old girl, it would be easy to over-estimate her capacity to bond with adults and then let them go two weeks later; it would even be natural to under-estimate her ability to act in appropriate ways, but because of McAfee, Kate knows that part of loving her well and initiating a journey towards healing requires knowing what we can and should expect of children. “Knowing, being and doing came together in a split second in that little place of safety in South Africa,” said Kate. “That’s what it’s all about; McAfee teaches how to integrate our study with reallife experiences that stretch us and force us to minister in ways we never thought we could. Suddenly God is everywhere; you can see God in everyone. And then you get to take these experiences back to your McAfee community, your church and family, and you begin to reflect spreading the realization like wildfire.” So this is what ministry to vulnerable children looks like. This is how the “little ones” come to the throne of grace. They need more than three square meals and a warm bed. They need to be loved in a variety of ways, individually, 24/7. Orphanages rarely have the capacity to meet those demands, but when you realize that over 90% of the world’s “orphans” have at least one surviving parent, then the question becomes not where to put them, but how to support their family in order to keep them at home. If we diverted the resources we spent on building and staffing orphanages towards community churches, they could give families the services and the support needed to keep the family together. While potentially messier, more relational and a longer commitment, the best strategy to meet the ultimate goal is keeping children in loving families where they grow best. It may feel too big and too complex to feel like you can do anything substantial, but it all comes down to supporting families. We just have to learn how to love and support them well. You can learn more about ministry to orphaned and vulnerable children at www.faithbasedcarefororphans.org. If your church or civic group is interested in learning more, contact Kate at email@example.com for more resources. Kate Riney is a community moblizer for Faith to Action, an initiative of the Better Care Network aimed at guiding churches in using best practices with orphaned and vulnerable children. She is a second-year MDiv student at McAfee in the nonprofit dual-degree track. In her spare time, Kate loves cooking meals for friends, taking in the outdoors and drinking good joe.
Out of Darkness
Funmi Adebayo works with Out of Darkness, a nonprofit organization that serves women coming out of prostitution and sex trafficking, especially victims of commercial, sexual exploitation. The mission of OOD is to “Reach, rescue, and restore all victims of commercial sexual exploitation, so that the glory of God may be known in the Earth.” By “reach,” they mean weekly locating enslaved women through street, medical and jail outreaches as well as through prayer and handing out their hotline number to those interested in helping. By “rescue,” they mean being available 24/7 to send rescuers to intercept women when a call comes in from a woman who is ready to leave or has been able to get away. By “restore,” they mean providing two safe homes with house moms, resident assistants and a case manager. They also give women clothing and a gift basket along with medical care, space in a long-term restorative program as well as lots of love and support from trained volunteers and mentors. Funmi’s job with OOD is to be the house mom. O O D desires to bring awareness of
the commercial sexual exploitation to the community and to cultivate communities filled with compassion for those in need of restoration. They endeavor to do this with wisdom, dignity, compassion, honesty and stewardship, and Funmi believes they’re excellent at this. “The women I serve truly are the ‘least of these.’ They are victims of sex slavery and come to us used and abused. They’re told in so many ways they’re not worth anything but what they can get for selling themselves. For many of them, the abuse doesn’t begin with prostitution or trafficking. It begins at a young age through some form of abuse, usually sexual. The stories we hear from the women are the same as the ones you hear about trafficking and how pimps groom the women. Some of the them never have a chance; in an attempt to run away from an already bad situation, they end up in an even worse one. They end up homeless, addicted to drugs and, inevitably, lose touch with reality.” Each week Funmi is reminded of and shown how God’s love carries the power to redeem and restore. She’s continually amazed at the power of God’s love toward these women. Many come into the house beaten down by their circumstances. They’re tired and heavy with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Many come with heads down, shoulders slumped, tearful eyes and slow, fearful steps. Transformation occurs, for these women, at different paces
Photo courtesy of Funmi Adebayo
and different levels. Each day Funmi is with them, though, she see’s the darkness that weighed on them for so many years begin to lift. Through the love shown by volunteers, resident assistants, house moms and case managers, the women cannot resist seeing and feeling the light of God’s love shining through. Some, of course, fight harder than others, yet, in the end, love wins. When these women leave to go on to their long-term program, which is usually 7-10 days, they are different people. They walk taller, look people in the eye, smile with a light that is so beautiful; but, most importantly, they leave with a heart full of hope—something they have never truly let themselves feel. Funmi recalled in her admissions interview at McAfee being asked what she hoped to accomplish with a divinity degree, and she professed she wished to work with women coming out of trafficking. “I knew there was a lot being done to raise awareness and even in rescuing these women, but once rescued there was still a need for holistic restoration. I wanted to be a part of the rehabilitation process.” As her time at McAfee continued, she wasn’t sure how soon the Lord would allow her to work with this population, so imagine her surprise when she found out about the house mom opening with OOD. “I am grateful for the many experiences and incredible knowledge gained during my time at McAfee. The framework
of ‘knowing, being and doing’ that permeates its halls truly had a great impact on how I viewed myself. I could never have been able to do my current job without McAfee. I have had many experiences where knowledge was the main emphasis, while becoming or doing was expected to come later during implementation.” McAfee pushed Funmi to put into practice concepts like being present, the power of silence and listening to someone’s story. Classes that really challenged her perspectives, actions and reactions to particular people or experiences were Ethics, Mentoring, CPE, Theology, Pastoral Care, Capstone (and the list could go on and on). Within these classes, she was expected to engage in and with the various topics, to apply and reflect on what was being taught and experienced. McAfee was the catalyst used to propel Funmi into this type of ministry position. The confidence she now carries to ably say and do that which is required as a house mom comes from the many experiences that she had at McAfee. “When speaking with the ladies, I am taken back to my CPE experiences or to Pastoral Care classes where being present is so important (i.e. acknowledging and validating the way they’re feeling); these skills are invaluable to them. My own selfawareness makes such a difference in the way I react in certain situations.” Funmi’s passion is to help re-author and restore the identity that Christ has for women caught in sex trafficking. Most of them have never heard “you are beautiful” where there was no reason or want behind the comment. Funmi wants to be the one that says and shows them that they are wonderfully and beautifully made. “They have great need for a Christ-centered identity that says, ‘You are beautiful; you can find wholeness in God; you have a hope and a future that is good; you are not hopeless.’ Everyone of them deserves to hear and feel such love.”
Funmi Adebayo received her BS from UGA in Early Childhood Education in 2007 and her MDiv/MS in Clinincal Mental Health Counseling from McAfee in 2013. She was born in Nigeria and currently works as a house mom with Out of Darkness.
Earlier this year, Noelle accepted the position of Director of Family Preservation Services at the United Methodist Children’s Home for the North Georgia Conference. She works at UMCH’s main office in Decatur, GA, where they offer services for families and children including Foster Care, Family Housing, Independent Living Program and other family preservation services. As a Christian-based nonprofit, UMCH strives to offer opportunities and programs to facilitate meaningful change in the lives of children and families. As a matter of fact, UMCH’s mission statement says, “We seek to provide redemptive, healing services that bring meaningful change to the lives of children and families. Grounded by scripture and the tradition of the church, we seek to bring the wholeness of God’s love to persons through Christ.” This means they strive to offer the needed resources to help families remain together through counseling, financial assistance, parenting skills classes and transitional housing. Statistically speaking, children are more likely to thrive when they remain in a family environment that is safe and structured. UMCH’s Family Preservation Services seek to empower caregivers and families to provide safety and structure for their children. Noelle has the privilege of directing the Family Housing program and the four district offices in Augusta, Dalton, Gainesville and Rome. In Decatur, the Family Housing program
provides a safe and stable environment for families who need to get back on their feet and become self-sufficient. The staff offers holistic services including comprehensive case management, pastoral care, counseling, parenting skills, financial education, career preparation, life skills education and age-appropriate activities for the whole family. While Noelle and the staff at UMCH work hard to meet families where they are and help them climb out of the ashes of a former life, the true hard work comes from within the families themselves. Many of them are single parents with several children. Like all parents, they have to get their children ready for the day, catch the bus to go to work, come home at the end of a long day to cook and clean and then do it all over again. On top of managing day-to-day tasks, these families work to overcome educational, spiritual, vocational and emotional hurdles in order to provide a better life for their children. In addition to directing the Family Housing program, Noelle offers direct services to members of the community such as counseling, financial assistance and parenting skills classes. She has to be flexible enough to help the diverse needs of the community—a mother from an abusive relationship, a father who lost his job caring for an ailing family member, a single parent unexpectedly widowed, a married couple bankrupted due to poor investments. Each family’s story is unique, beautiful and often painful.
As a clinician and licensed counselor, Noelle encourages her clients to find their source of strength. As a minister, Noelle believes that God’s desire for humanity is to move towards health and wholeness. At UMCH, families receive the space, time, encouragement and services needed to be continually reconciled towards God’s vision of wholeness and healing. Noelle sees this most clearly (and has become one of her favorite moments) on family move-in days. “I remember being with one family who had been bouncing around living in a motel, shelter, car and other unsafe situations. I’ll always remember their smiling faces when they finally see the space where their family will begin to heal for the first time. I’ve also been with small children who immediately are excited to make their own bed and lay down for a nap, simply because this is the first time they have a bed of their own.” Through UMCH’s efforts in north Georgia, hundreds of families are assisted each year. Whether Noelle serves a family for months in Family Housing, sees them for a few weeks in counseling or parenting classes or simply provides a list of resources for the family, she seeks to meet them where they are and plant seeds of hope and healing in the lives of the children and their caregivers. “I’m learning,” said Noelle, “that my gifts allow me to transition between tasks and take seriously the direct-care opportunities that present themselves. My staff takes seriously
the charge to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world. Whether I am supervising cases, conducting a team meeting, completing paperwork or sitting with a family in need, my drive is to continually be a change agent, participating in reconciling unhealthy systems back to Christ.” When Noelle graduated from McAfee in 2012 with a dual degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, she was wellprepared for a career of service. She credits McAfee as being integral for preparing her to succeed in UMCH’s environment of Christ-centered change. “McAfee gave me a theological framework to better understand how God grieves and rejoices alongside God’s people – even those on the margins. Classes such as Pastoral Care, Emotional Competency, Mentoring and Theology gave me a better understanding of how divinity intersects with humanity and how God is calling me to serve.” Coupled with the clinical, practical courses from Mercer’s counseling department, Noelle was trained to succeed in a world where mental health and Christian service go hand in hand. Through her personal experience, academic training, and opportunities at UMCH, Noelle has had the privilege to truly work among those on the margins. “Through all of the mess and seemingly insurmountable challenges this type of work brings, each day is a fresh and holy encounter with a living God.”
Noelle Owen lives in Atlanta, GA, and attends National Heights Baptist Church. In her free time, she enjoys reading novels, playing with her two cats and preparing for the arrival of her first child in January 2014.
Power of Peace
Gary Burke graduated from Miles College in 1994 and sold drugs to pay for it. He never knew how poor his family was until he enrolled in Alcorn State in 1986. Transferring to Miles, he got involved in the underworld of drugs just to make ends meet. Six years after graduation, he couldn’t shake the bad habits and inevitably found himself in a courtroom (The USA vs. Gary Ray Burke) and, soon after, prison. In jail, he watched young inmates come in with longer sentences than him and realized something had to change. He made friends with these inmates and learned to value their stories about the struggles, addictions and loneliness they experienced in their lives. In the hearing of these stories, Gary knew the rest of his life would involve ministering to inmates caught in oppressive systems and mindsets. “A f t e r securing parole, I moved to Atlanta and joined Dr. Ben Barnett’s church. He preached about God’s hope for humankind and the
power peace can bring in a person’s life. He used powerful illustrations, and I felt a strong connection to how he articulated his theology. We met for coffee one day to talk about my idea for a new prison ministry, and he told me a seminary education could help me process what I was dreaming.” Gary applied and got accepted to McAfee. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the money to pay for the degree, so he started auditing classes. He said he didn’t need a formal degree for what God was calling him to do; he just needed the information. “I needed help thinking through and articulating my thoughts in order to do what God had instructed me to do – prison ministry. After a year of auditing, though, the Dean called me into his office and offered me a scholarship. With tears in my eyes, I knew God was orchestrating something in my life and was using McAfee to help.” While in seminary, Gary’s desire to minister in prisons only grew. He wanted to serve in the setting that God had delivered him from, but quickly learned that he couldn’t because he was a felon. Technically felons are not allowed back in to work with the incarcerated. In 2011, Gary was summoned back to the penitentiary with his friend Kit Cummings via the warden (Gary found out later that the Warden had no reason to let him into the prison other than the Warden felt that God wanted him back). Gary told the Warden he was ready to offer his services wherever needed. From there, Kit and Gary started going twice a week to help negotiate peace with the inmates on the peace council, and
Photos courtesy of Gary Burke
the Power of Peace Project was born. Since 2011, Gary’s gone to 70 prisons across the country, and continues to speak weekly in high schools and churches. His ministry is to go behind bars and into classrooms to show people how to have eternal peace. Here’s how he does it. He’s made three 40-day programs: 40 Days of Power, 40 Days of Peace and 40 Days of Prayer. Each program is a journalbased curriculum with a weekly, 45-minute instructional video containing questions for discussion groups. The groups work through scripture, life events and God’s hope for eternal peace. Each journal activity offers teachings from Gandhi, MLK or Mandela and concludes with action steps that instill new habits in the inmates’ lives. The hope is that each 40-day cycle increases emotional intelligence so new habits can be born. “The metaphor we use for these programs is an anti-virus. If you get a flu shot, doctors give you the flu to stop it. To say it another way, ‘Whatever tears it up, can fix it up.’ This motto drives our educational intent. We show prisoners how they’ve contributed to a destructive system that weakens communities and tears families apart. Many have done 20 and 30+ years for their behavior, but that shouldn’t be the end of their story. We challenge the inmates to go back to their communities and build up what they once tore down. But before they can affect change on the outside, they must fix what’s broken on the inside.” This is where the Power of Peace Project functions best; it helps habilitate prisoners into thriving, goal-setting citizens. This is done through small groups, journal activities and action
steps that move them into a worldview that seeks peace. Gary’s findings show that when you ask prisoners to step-up and do great things, they do! A second element of the Power of Peace Project is to minister to inner-city kids by taking them to meet the prisoners. Not surprisingly, prisoners challenge these kids to do and be better people. The hope for taking inner-city kids to the prison is they won’t want to make the same mistakes the prisoners did by simply offering them an image of what the backside of the law looks like. But something more started happening than just making these kids more aware. They started valuing and appreciating the lives and stories of the prisoners. The Power of Peace Project is ultimately a program for encouragement. It works well in prisons, high schools and even churches. It isn’t mandatory for any of these groups, but it consistently serves over 100 people in each class. “We’re seeing people from all walks of life admit to feeling trapped and looking for a program that leads them to a place of peace. So we offer one that points them to God. Our offices are located the heart of Lakewood (south of Turner Field). This is the most incarcerated zip code in Georgia. Every day people in our community are enslaved through prostitution, sex slavery, human trafficking and drugs. We’re surrounded by the ‘least of these.’ So our mission is to speak into these situations with a voice of peace that says, ‘you don’t have to live this way. We can help.’” McAfee is the chief catalyst for much of how Gary understands God, himself, community organizing, church and urban ministry. He believes it gave him a vision, vocabulary and voice to serve “the least of these.” “It’s where I learned to minister to people who are hurting and feel trapped. I am truly grateful to McAfee for taking a chance on a convict like me. I sold drugs in college because I was poor. I did it because I didn’t understand myself in the way I do today. McAfee gave me the chance necessary to launch the Power of Peace Project and to help others experience the power of God’s peace. I couldn’t feel more blessed to be where I am today.”
Gary Burke is a 2011 graduate of McAfee School of Theology and works for the Power of Peace Project in Atlanta, GA. His life mission is to serve those imprisoned and to offer them a chance for peace.
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Celebrating 200 Years of
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Molly Marshall Bill Leonard President Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Professor of Baptist Studies and Church History Wake Forest University School of Divinity
Graham Walker Pamela Smoot Professor of Theology and Philosophy McAfee School of Theology
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Southern Illinois University
Save the Date! For more information, and to register, please 11.14-16.2013 visit the event page: http://bit.ly/13B5pzK
Associate Dean & Professor of Missions and World Religions McAfee School of Theology
Executive Coordinator Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Rachel Gunter Shapard
CBF Florida “What am I called to do?” I have been asked this question numerous times throughout my life. Times like when declaring a major, exploring my sense of calling into ministry, beginning graduate studies at McAfee School of Theology and determining my seminary concentration. Most recently, my sense of calling led me into the position of associate coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida. Being a native Floridian and due to the fact that so much of my early faith formation occurred at FBC Tallahassee, it is a joy to give back to the people and churches within this corner of the world that I call home. My work with CBF Florida allows me the opportunity to preach, lead, teach, sing, discern, write, educate and work in the area of online communications (among other things!). Our mission as an organization is to serve and connect churches and individuals in their calling to be the presence of Christ, and we especially strive to make Christ’s presence known among the most marginalized; first in Florida and the Caribbean and then the world. CBF Florida ministers to those on the margins in many ways. We provide bicycles for pastors in Cuba who travel to mission churches that are not accessible through other means. We deliver support and relief for those who experience the devastation following natural disasters. We provide instruction for pastors and ministers longing for theological education in the Bahamas. We serve “the least of these” through striving to break the cycles of poverty, gang violence and failing schools by investing in the youth of Homestead through Open House Ministries. I feel capable and competent to lead these ministries thanks to my time at McAfee. Its emphasis in the area of Christian Education, which I completed as a part of my MDiv, has been invaluable within my role at CBF Florida. Much of my position involves educating, informing, writing and teaching
about mission work within or connected to our state so CBFsupporters adequately learn of the significance of current mission efforts. In my job, I also greatly rely upon the instruction I received in the four preaching courses I took at McAfee (Yes —four! And you should too!). Effectively communicating from the pulpit and beyond is essential within CBF organizational life. In his book, To Bless the Space Between Us, John O’Donohue said, “When you are able to do what you love, it makes for a rich and contented life. You have come into rhythm with your longing. Your work and action emerge naturally . . .” I feel as if this quote now describes me, and I’m thankful to be serving in a role that allows me to fulfill my calling by ministering to those on the margins of society. And now I turn the question around: What is it you are called to do? _Rachel Gunter Shapard (‘02)
Photos courtesy of Rachel Shapard
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Be Water, My Friendâ&#x20AC;? Social justice in the Old Testament
Photo courtesy of David Garber
“Be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” While these may sound like the musings of an ancient sage, these are the words of the late Bruce Lee.1 He used the metaphor of water to describe not only how his body moved when practicing martial arts, but also his life philosophy. In this quote, Lee captured the evasive essence of water and illustrates its use as a powerful metaphor, a literary technique the Hebrew prophets often used. Amos employs the metaphor of water to express one of the most poignant and memorable descriptions of justice: “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream” (Amos 5:24).2 Like Lee’s understanding, the water metaphor was also multivalent for the ancient Israelites. The Hebrew term, “roll down” describes the billowing of the sea or the flowing motion of a river. The parallel description of righteousness emphasizes the constancy of a continually flowing force for well-being. As we know, water is one of the major building blocks for life, making up over half of the composition of the human body. But even with an ancient pre-scientific worldview, the Israelites deeply acknowledged the life-giving nature of water. They settled alongside the river valleys in order to use water to irrigate their crops. They understood the necessity of water when they recounted the narratives of their ancestors wandering in the desert of Sinai. God could withhold water as judgment during times of great drought (e.g., 1 Kgs 17-18) or use its power to render judgement as in the great flood (Gen 6-9). Just as the imagery of water is flexible, the concepts of justice and righteousness throughout the Old Testament are also fluid. At times, the term mishpat simply refers to a decision made by God through the consultation of the Urim or the casting of lots (e.g., Num 27:21, Prov 16:33). The term also refers to formal community decisions, such as in the description of the prophet, Deborah, who would sit under a tree and render decisions for the tribes of Israel (Judges 4:4-5). At other times, mishpat clearly refers to the process of a trial, as in the case of someone accused of manslaughter (Num 35:12). The term “justice” can refer to the punishments that God brings upon the Egyptians (Exod 6:6) or the rules by which God demands that the Israelites order society (Deut 6:1). The companion term to justice has multiple layers as well. The root term for righteousness, tsedeq, can refer to a judgment’s moral correctness (Psalm 19:10), a person’s virtue (e.g., Gen 38:26, Job 34:5) or the legal declaration of a person’s innocence (Job 4:17). Isaiah 48:18 also uses the imagery of water in conjunction with the term for righteousness. YHWH laments that if the people would merely have heeded the commandments, their righteousness (translated as “success” in the NRSV) would have rolled forth like the waves of the sea. Within the context of Amos, God has been issuing judgments against the people of northern Israel, primarily for the economic injustices of the upper class against the poor. YHWH promises punishment to the people, “because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals” and they “trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
and push the afflicted out of the way” (Amos 2:6-7). They have mocked God’s principles of justice and righteousness (5:7) and have despised those who declare truth in the public square (5:10). Sickened by the opulence of the rich in society, God decides to make all of their efforts for financial gain and security a pursuit after the wind (5:11). God eschews the religious pomp and circumstance of the wealthy and yearns for the time when justice and righteousness will flow again in the land (5:24). In my years of teaching at McAfee, I have witnessed a swelling concern for social justice in the wider Christian culture and among our students. Many of them, like Amos or Micah before them, have recognized the gross injustices in our communities, both locally and globally. Many of our students have witnessed the perpetual state of war in our country and abroad, the increasing gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” the rising costs of education, the constant gender and ethnic equality, and the many injustices in our criminal “justice” system. Their recognition of our society living in the desert of injustice has left them with a thirst for righteousness and justice, and many are contemplating how they might incorporate concerns for justice into their vocational goals. Several such students have taken my course on social justice in the Old Testament, and I am frequently inspired by their deep passion for and knowledge of particular causes on the local, national and global levels. In my current class, students are researching topics such as the conceptions of wealth and poverty in Proverbs, the ethics of hearing traumatic witness in the book of Job, rape culture in our current society and in biblical narratives, the death penalty, the care of orphans and the like. But Amos, like many other Hebrew prophets, does not merely ask us to theorize or conceptualize what the flowing waters of justice might look like. The Hebrew prophets call for action beyond theory. After their initial research in the class, students will devise an “action plan,” a set of ideas for future work based on what they learned. These plans can be as simple as educating congregations on particular justice-oriented issues or as complex as using their research as the seed for a non-profit organization or movement. My dream for current students and alumni is that when they look back on their career, they might remember the trickling springs of justice in their formative years of ministry and see how, through partnership with their communities and peers, those tiny springs have conjoined to form mighty rivers of justice that shape the topography of the Christian culture and beyond.
_Dr. David Garber
In December 2009, Clayton Davis accepted the position of Executive Director at the Andrew P. Stewart Center in the Reynoldstown neighborhood of southeast Atlanta. The Stewart Center’s been in Atlanta for over 95 years and exists to see community members live purposefully with self-determination in pursuit of their full potential. To accomplish this vision, it offers educational initiatives, spiritual enrichment opportunities and wellness resources for families with children. The underlying hope is for the Center to partner with the community by helping children realize their highest trajectory so they can break the cycle of poverty that affects so many in the community. “Our enduring philosophy for breaking this cycle is holistic in nature,” said Clayton. “We strive to strengthen children intellectually, emotionally and spiritually by offering more than just a space to tutor and finish homework. We also invest in their lives by building lasting friendships, teaching Bible lessons and creating a safe and structured space where the kids are known and loved by the staffers and volunteers.” The Center is open Monday-Friday and offers five different programs to the families of Reynoldstown. The most wellknown of their programs is the After-School option. It serves 40+ kids ranging from K-5th grade. They’re invited to come every afternoon during the school year to do homework and receive tutoring. The Center also offers age-appropriate Bible study and music once a week. The kids can even choose an art
elective taught by art teachers or graduate art students. The Center’s second program is the Youth Program. The goal here is to maintain enduring relationships with those graduated from the After-School program. Roughly 25 middle and high school students meet three days a week for Bible study, academic enrichment and tutoring. This group functions a lot like a youth group. Some days they play messy games while on others they’re given leadership opportunities like mentoring After-School kids and participate in service-learning projects. Clayton believes the service-learning initiatives are the most important aspects of this program’s mission. “It’s designed to instill confidence and understanding so the youth can see themselves as tomorrow’s leaders. Even though they are stuck in poverty, this should not keep them from seeing the value of serving those who are struggling too. Our projects include serving meals at homeless shelters, stocking shelves at food and clothes closets and planting trees for Trees for ATL.” Clayton doesn’t want the youth to buy in to the lie that they are only in a place of need. He wants them to see that they also have gifts, talents and abilities to offer the world. They need to know they have gifts that can benefit the rest of society. A third program offered by the Center is its Summer Program. It serves 120 students for eight weeks in two locations— Reynoldstown and Pittsburgh. These two neighborhoods are some of the most challenging communities in Atlanta. This
Photos courtesy of Clayton Davis
program offers VBS curriculum in the mornings with academic components in the afternoon. It’s comprised of two staffs that meet at the two locations Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. An enduring philosophy Clayton implements here is the use of local resources when possible. “We hire 11-12 people from the neighborhood to staff the camp as well as use local resources for building projects, service learning opportunities and programming. As a matter of fact, every Friday we take the kids on a field trip and help them learn about the community in which they live.” A fourth program offered at the Center comes from an initiative from the University of Virginia called Book Buddies. The goal of this program is to help raise the reading level for kids who are falling beneath it. This is the second academic year Clayton has implemented this program, and it’s serving 10 students right now. This program separates the Center from other afterschool clubs, for it offers kids specialized assessments and pairs them with the same tutor throughout the program. A second assessment is given at the end of the semester to monitor the level of improvement. On average, kids jump two grade levels in one semester. Clayton could not be more excited about the trajectory of this program. “This program means a great deal to me because when I was in third grade, I was held back due to my lack of reading
comprehension. I had a learning disability, and if it weren’t for the right people in my life, I could have ended up in a less than fulfilling place. I have a soft spot for children who struggle academically yet want to learn.” The correlation between literacy and incarceration is noteworthy, especially African-American males. A statistic that Clayton thinks about a lot is children in poverty are exposed to 30 million fewer words from 0-3 years of age than the kids who come from middle to upper class families. “This statistic alone makes me want to reach out and provide for those in need. Coupled with my own personal story about my learning disability, I believe this is one of the best programs we offer.” The fifth, and final, program hosted by the Center is the Food Cooperative. It is different from a food pantry. In a food cooperative, members pay an annual fee, meet bi-weekly and receive food. Families get larger portions than just one meal and are able to sustain a healthier diet as well as save money by planning meals and keeping shelves stocked. The Stewart Center is a small operation, but intentionally so. It prides itself on being an extended family to a community in need of spiritual guidance and emotional well-being. Its philosophy is to be an “enduring presence” to families and the community at large. Families with kids like Sam. He’s 14 years old and is now in the Center’s Youth Program. He’s completed the middle school portion and is a freshman in high school. In the four years Clayton has been running the Center, he’s seen Sam mature and grow exponentially. “Sam now dreams of leadership and shows legitimate potential for it. As a freshman, he serves as a junior counselor for the same program that he used to attend. He’s a role model for kids like him. Sam’s progress, attitude and spirit are what make this job so meaningful.” Clayton also feels competent in his daily work at the Center due largely to the fact that McAfee provided him the growth opportunities to help see God working in the “other.” “McAfee’s attention to God’s presence in the world and our calling to be co-creators has sustained, for me, a theology that seeks to serve the ‘least of these.’ I’m grateful for the ministry that I do, and I’m thankful for McAfee in helping me unfold God’s dream for me to do it.”
Clayton Davis is the executive director of the Stewart Center. He and his wife Anna have two sons, Ty, five, and Jackson, one. When Clayton is not serving at the Stewart Center, he enjoys spending time with family, reading and enjoying the outdoors.
The Sacredness of Human Life
by David Gushee
In his newest book The Sacredness of Human Life, David Gushee undertakes perhaps the most ambitious and thorough treatment, ever, of the Christian origin, development and far-too-often rejection of the notion that human life is sacred. Gushee argues, primarily, that the idea that human life is sacred is the greatest Christian contribution to ethics and that the claim can be traced back unbrokenly through Church history and into both Christian and Jewish scripture. Taking great pains to demonstrate that the claim is inherently religious, Gushee, furthermore, argues that human life is sacred not because of any inherent quality but, rather, because God has ascribed sacredness to all human life and posits that the implications of this ascribed sacredness expand far beyond the usual coopting of the notion for the abortion debate. This “magisterial” book, as some critics have called it, is primarily a work of biblical and historical ethics with a chapter each devoted to the prevalence of the theme within Hebrew and Christian scriptures and no less than six chapters given to examinations of the simultaneous affirmation and rejection of the theme within sequential historical epochs from early Church history through the 20th century Nazi atrocities. In light of its scope, the historical treatment is thorough but requisitely breathless due to the limitations of a single volume work. Thus is the nature of such broad historical writing: each period could have an entire book devoted to it and still something somewhere would have to be left out. The author’s status as a public ethicist will undoubtedly lead some readers to turn first to the last few chapters in order to find Gushee’s assessment of the implications of the theme for a variety of 21st century issues, ranging alphabetically from abortion to women’s rights, in chapter ten. Discovering that chapter eleven is devoted to “The Sacredness of God’s Creation,” paired with the knowledge that ecological ethics and creation care are hotly and unfortunately debated in Christian ethics, may lead the inquisitive
reader to spend a little more time reading the last chapters of the book first than they intended. Gushee’s inclusion of 17 “puzzles,” printed at the beginning and end and referenced by number throughout, related to the claim that human life is sacred bring an appropriate level of humility to what could be taken as an authoritative text. Some of the questions are met throughout the book with clear answers. The answering of puzzle number five, for instance, is a major theme of the book: “What exactly makes human life so precious and sacred? Is it some quality, capacity, or particular set of characteristics that (most) humans have? Is it possible for a human being to lose whatever characteristics or qualities make him or her worthy of the designation ‘sacred’?” The main goal of the book, as I read it, is to draw on Christian history and tradition to reclaim a foundational ethic and to subsequently reposition Christians at the public table to make definitive moral claims based on that ethic. Gushee wants us, as Christians, to always approach social-ethical and political decisions with the question, “Does this affirm or degrade the sacredness of all human life?” He also seems to think that by asking this deceptively simple question, Christians will represent their faith tradition more faithfully and attractively than they have in recent history. Only time will tell whether those who need it most will benefit from this book, but it will not be for lack of effort on the part of the author. Positing a singular theme as pivotal for Christian ethics is a serious claim and the book is clearly written with that seriousness in mind. The Sacredness of Human Life is undeniably ambitious in both scope and intent. The author’s careful scholarship and evident care and concern for the subject matter, though, carry the weight of that ambition and the book deserves critical engagement by Christians, both lay and clergy alike. _Isaac Sharp (‘13) Article originally written for Christian Ethics Today and used by permission.
McAfee is concerned with both biblical scholarship and its application. Evident in Dr. Gushee’s latest book, McAfee’s desire to value the beauty and sanctity of life is like a load-bearing pillar. Without it, everything else falls.
In your opinion, Dr. Gushee, what makes life sacred? Life is sacred by God’s decision as Creator, Sustainer, Lawgiver and Redeemer. That decision has been communicated to Israel and the Church through special revelation as well as to humanity as a whole through general revelation. The Church shares with the Jewish people an especially profound responsibility to bear witness to God’s decision to value each and every life as sacred. We bear such witness through our proclamation, our church life and our ministry and witness in the world. What inspired you to The Sacredness of Human Life, and how long did it take? This book was probably born the moment I began studying the Holocaust in middle school and was shattered by that desecration of human life. I’ve been struggling to respond ever since. While I was a doctoral student in the early 90s, I worked with Ron Sider—progressive evangelical, author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger—and discovered that he was attempting to work from what he called a consistent pro-life ethic. That concept was itself borrowed from Catholic thought, notably the work of Cardinal Bernardin. I was also affected by reading the profound writings of Pope John Paul II, notably his book The Gospel of Life. So those are the roots. I began working on this particular manuscript in 2004 and did not finish it till Fall 2011. Seven years! What is your hope for readers after finishing this book? I think this book provides the most comprehensive statement I have ever offered of an overarching theological-ethical vision for Christian Ethics. I hope that it will strike readers that way, and that they will find it compelling as a source of guidance for their thinking and living. I also hope it will help readers get past the “right vs. left” dualism that has long been so destructive both in politics and the church. For ministers preparing to serve the “least of these,” what is one thing, birthed from this research, would you want them to carry throughout their vocation? Great question. I would commend any minister who “gets” that serving the least of these is precisely what we are called to do, and that doing so honors their God-given sacred worth even in cultures that treat them as disposable and worthless. I would suggest that they try to think as broadly as possible about who is being overlooked, whose value is being disregarded and be open to going into contexts of ministry that others may have overlooked.
is to be caretakers of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s land, concerned with just peacemaking.
Photos courtesy of Jacob Cook
In Luke 19 Jesus, triumphantly “saddled” on coats atop a beast of burden, looks down from the Mount of Olives and across the valley to the temple mount and the old city of Jerusalem. And he weeps. These people, his people, do not know what would make for peace, and doom is imminent. Jesus is simply reading the signs of the times, which are dominated by the people’s failure to recognize the time of their episcopate, thvß e˙piskophvß sou, of their ministerial superintendence over a land on loan from God and over people sustained by the breath of God. Never were these words more poignant for me than when they were read aloud as I stood in that very place, overlooking that very city with its people ensnared in discord. Nearly 60 of us participated in a travel study course that Glen Stassen and I organized through the office of the Just Peacemaking Initiative at Fuller Seminary. Our sojourn in the land revealed centuries of missing the point. Like the church sitting on the traditional site of Jesus’ burial, where the keys have long been entrusted to a reputable Muslim family because the Christian denominations competing for floor space inside could not share that responsibility peacefully. Or like the church sitting on the traditional site of Jesus’ birth, where the exterior doors have all been lowered to about four feet in height to fortify the church against combatants riding horseback (and, I suppose, princes of peace riding donkeys). The latter part of our trip was spent in the Galilee region, which is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Standing on the banks of the sea, below the Mount of the Beatitudes, I read aloud its homiletical namesake. This moment serves in my memory as a counter-point to the story from the Mount of Olives. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus valorizes those who, even in their lowly state, recognize their episcopate, their ministerial superintendence that demands nothing less than enemy love, forgiveness, humility and personal repentance before calling others to the mat – that is to say, the practices that make for peace. The mere fact that Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount well before his “triumphal entry” may indicate something about how responsive his audience was to his season of public ministry. And by the time of his entry into Jerusalem, doom would assuredly follow on the heels of widespread failure to repent, to see the world rightly and respond faithfully. Just Peacemaking, as a paradigm, and the Just Peacemaking Initiative (JPi), as an institute, have emerged as responses (1) to the practical and practicable teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere and (2) to the analysis of historical situations of conflict to determine what actually works to prevent violence. It should be no surprise that the practices that fill out these two lists display strong correspondence. Knowing the practices that make for peace and helping followers of Jesus to see the world (more) rightly become crucial when dealing with conflict as large as the one between Israel and Palestine. A quick scan of newspaper headlines tells something of what we are up against. The most popular images cast Israelis and Palestinians as
mortal enemies. “The Israelis made a move on Gaza; their tanks killed Palestinian children living there.” “The Palestinians sent another poor young soul into Jerusalem with a bomb strapped to her chest; they took 70 Israeli lives.” After hearing enough talk like this, we might become convinced that the situation really is clearcut. These people are just fighters; they just cannot get along. Our trip was facilitated by the Middle East Justice and Development Initiative, which offers multi-narrative tours of conflict zones around the world. Their objective is to counterbalance the story cast by news headlines, which is often perpetuated by propaganda-driven Holy Land tours. Throughout our travel study experience, we were in the care of a great variety of people, including professors from different universities—like McAfee’s David Gushee. But our tour guides were two young Israeli women, one Jewish and the other both Christian and Palestinian. As if these conflictory identities were not enough to hold together in a conversation, these two guides introduced “each other.” They shared details about one another: family background, ethnic heritage, citizenship and education. A sense of trepidation was tied to their shared desire to positively convey the complexity of one another’s humanity. Each felt heard and honored. Being able to see others in a more complex way is behind each of our just peacemaking practices and is fundamental to what Stassen calls “affirming one another’s valid interests.” But the flipside is equally vital to the process—understanding “oneself ” in a more complex way. Like our guides, the lives we live are shaped by family background, ethnic heritage, faith, citizenship, education as well as other loyalties and commitments. We are social creatures involved in many communities at once, each representing a potential point of connection or departure with a neighbor/enemy. For two of our 2011 travel study students, this orientation toward action means founding The Global Immersion Project, a nonprofit that leads laypeople into multi-narrative experiences focused on connecting with everyday peacemakers in the land. Theirs is a specific kind of activism that follows from a specific kind of calling, but to those who travel with them, a whole new world of personal relationships is opened. In this way, human texture is restored with all its complexity to a matter of “international politics.” Doing nonviolent direct action and persevering even through periods of little-to-no success emerge through communal formation and individual effort. Developing the skills to do what makes for peace is a holy task. So I encourage you to share your stories, sermons and musings on the theme of peacemaking with us. As we work to raise the profile of the just peacemaking paradigm, we hope to share with churches and faith leaders a compelling vision of a Jerusalem over which Jesus will not weep. Now, in the time of our episcopate, may we know-be-do the practices that make for peace.
_Jacob Cook (‘10) PhD candidate, Fuller Seminary
McAfee participates in a unique and creative academic venture hosted by the Atlanta Theological Association. Together, McAfee, Candler and ITC students teach at the Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, GA. They offer a one-year academic program designed to give women a Certificate in Theological Studies. This maximum women’s prison is located one hour north of Atlanta on I-985. The curriculum is broken up into four quarters. The first two are for 3-hour foundational courses in Bible and Theology while the third and forth quarters are for 1.5-hour electives such as Preaching, Ethics, Spiritual Formation or Pastoral Care. Each class meets on Fridays for 12 weeks. McAfee students Heather Cole, Meggie Dant, Gretta Fowler, Rich Havard and Sharlyn Menard teach at the prison and believe this experience is one they will never forget. Cole is challenged by the women every week. “I leave transformed by who they are and who they have chosen to be,” she said. “Reading their journals and listening to their voices consistently inspire, sadden, and move me in ways that surprised me. I felt that teaching these students could change my life, and it did. When I first got to seminary I wanted to become a counselor for teenage girls; now I am seriously considering teaching, counseling or trying to minister in some way to women in prison. The first time I went to Arrendale, the only indication that I was in a prison was the moment I saw the razor wire above the fences and when I walked through the locked doors to the classrooms. Other than that difference, I was met each week by intelligent, thoughtful, dedicated women who wanted to learn and engage ethics from multiple perspectives.” Dant was nervous about teaching. It was intimidating at first, but the nerves quickly wore off after she got to know the women. As a matter of fact, she now stays several hours late to offer her expertise in research and study habits. Because of the teaching experience, Dant believes she has grown in the way
she perceives people. “I don’t judge as much,” she said. “I’ve never thought of myself as judgmental, but this initiative has shown me that I used to subconsciously label others. Now I see these women on a deeper level; they have beautifully-complicated, rich stories. I consider myself lucky to call them friends.” The inmates at Arrendale are moved by this educational experience too. According to the McAfee students, the women want to learn. They read everything assigned and do all their homework. They go to the library and read additional topics related to class discussion. After lunch there’s a time devoted to study hall. This designated time for study is a welcomed break in the midst of their rigid week. “They use this time to engage in dialogue with us teachers,” said Dant. “We hear their stories about being denied or granted parole, what life is like in the dorms and their children’s successes back home. We experience their happy and sad moments. Pastorally speaking, this experience is ripe with opportunities to engage those marginalized by society.”
Photo courtesy of Catherine Zappa
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Poverty. Unemployment. Transportation problems.
Poorly funded school systems.
Alcohol & drug abuse. Lack of access to quality health care.
Factory Mental & industry & physical closings. illness. Teen pregnancy. Continual and rapid transition.
Cultural diversity & racial tension.
Suburban flight & urban gentrification.
Shifting economic centers.
These are some of the challenges faced by individuals and families living in marginalized communities, who experience a broad array of social, economic and healthcare needs for which there are few resources. For congregations and other ministries in these contexts, the demands for pastoral care may seem limitless. The typical activities of visiting the sick and shut in, counseling people through transition and loss, and conducting funerals and weddings are multiplied exponentially in setting where illness, loss and change are the norm rather than the exception. Further, pastoral ministry in these settings often expands to include services to support and sustain people through daily life: food and clothing pantries, childcare and family support service, educational enrichment programs, job training, healthcare clinics, legal aid, offender re-entry services and community organizing. Ministers who serve marginalized populations often find themselves pressed on every side. They typically spend more time in pastoral work each week than their counterparts in more affluent settings, much of which is spent bearing witness to stories of trauma, pain and loss that place them at risk for vicarious or secondary trauma. Further, by virtue of working, and often living, in under-resourced neighborhoods, the minister and her family may be at heightened risk for personally experiencing the ills of the community. Together, the combination of comprehensive community need, the amount of time and energy devoted to ministry activities and the personal risk of living and working in under-resourced communities is a perfect recipe for burnout. Particularly in the early years of ministry, clergy in these settings often fall into a pattern of neglecting their health for the sake of serving. While their passion for ministry stems from the Great Commandment, they overlook an important element: its assumption of self-love. That we are to love our neighbor in the same way that we love ourselves presumes that self-love is to take place alongside, perhaps even in advance of, love of neighbor. Unfortunately, many Christians, especially those ministering in under-resourced communities, understand selflove as equivalent to selfishness. Consequently, they suffer a form of survivor’s guilt in which they feel that taking time off from ministry to practice self-care is a luxury, and a sinful one at that. Instead of taking time to rest in the delight of God and to nurture themselves and their families, they pour themselves out as a libation to others until there is nothing left to pour. As a minister and scholar, I know firsthand the continual struggle to practice self-love in the midst of loving God and serving God’s people. There is always more good work that can be done. And repeatedly I find myself capitulating to the powers and principalities that proclaim that effectiveness in ministry is measured by the number of completed tasks and projects or by others’ compliments about my work ethic and productivity. I need regular reminders that the Biblical affirmation of selflove means that knowing, valuing and caring for myself is as vital to vocational longevity as loving the neighbors whom I serve. I need frequent admonishment to be faithful to the sabbatical disciplines that create alternative rhythms of time and relationship, help me to reconnect to myself and my family and draw me closer to God.
Here are a few of the books that have shaped my practice: 1.
Cannon, Mae Elise. Just Spirituality: How Faith Practices Fuel Social Action. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2013. Cannon explores how spiritual practices have shaped the public activism of seven remarkable leaders in Christian mission and social change, including Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Desmond Tutu. The book reminds clergy that it is the practice of spiritual disciplines that fuels lives of ministry and service. Dawn, Marva J. The Sense of the Call: A Sabbath Way of Life for Those Who Serve God, the Church, and the World. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2006. In this book, Dawn invites Christian clergy and leaders into a “Sabbath way of life,” through which God’s grace revitalizes us and shines through us to others. Dawn’s rejection of the “balance paradigm” may be especially helpful for clergy in that she recognizes that a paradox of Christian ministry is the call to suffering and selfdenial together with the mandate to love ourselves. Jones, Kirk Byron. Rest in the Storm: Self-Care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers. Valley Forge: Judson, 2001. In this book, Jones draws upon the image of Jesus sleeping in the back of the boat in Mark 4:35-41, as well as his own thirty years of pastoral experience, to remind clergy of their obligation to selfcare. It is a gem that should be in the personal library of every clergy or lay minister. Lipsky, Laura van Dernoot, and Connie Burk. Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2009. An occupational hazard of ministry on the margins is the risk of secondary trauma that occurs from being in relationship with individuals, families and communities whose lives are often marked by trauma, violence and loss. This text helps ministers understand the impact that bearing witness to trauma has upon their lives and take steps to manage its impact upon them. Paulsell, Stephanie. Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice. San Francisco: John Wiley, 2002. It is easy for clergy to be “heart, soul and mind” people whose gaze is perennially directed upward toward God, outward to the needs of those whom they serve and inward to the mental chatter that occupies their heads. She encourages us to Christian practices for bathing, clothing, nourishing, feeding, exerting, resting and sexually loving our bodies. Taylor, Barbara Brown. An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. After leaving congregational ministry, famed preacher Barbara Brown Taylor turned her attention to how she can “do church” beyond the walls of the local parish. In this book, she describes how simple daily activities—such as paying attention to the world around you, praying and saying no—free us to experience the sacred in daily life.
_Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes
Charles Watson, Jr.
Baptist Joint Committee for religious liberty
After serving as a hospice chaplain and on a church staff, Charles Watson, Jr. accepted a call to ministry outside a traditional setting. Two months after graduating from McAfee with a MDiv degree in Pastoral Care, he moved to Washington, D.C., to work with the Baptist Joint Committee as the education and outreach specialist. In a recent interview, Charles explains how McAfee helped prepare him for this work. What is a typical day like for you in the office? I don’t think I can define any day as “typical” working at the BJC. One of the tasks of my position is to cultivate the same level of commitment to freedom in the next generation that previous generations of advocates exhibited. My goal is to help educate younger generations about religious liberty and its importance, but that method varies from day to day. On days I’m in the office, I often schedule groups to visit our Center for Religious Liberty and host a discussions on religious liberty issues they’re facing in their communities. There are days I step outside of the office to act as a liaison between seminaries or universities and the BJC. The academic institutions continually see the BJC as a trusted voice on religious liberty issues. For example, in the past two days I attended chapel services at Howard University School of Divinity and at Catholic University of America meeting new students and introducing them to the work of the BJC. Being on Capitol Hill puts us in the middle of it all. We never know when a key issue concerning religious freedom will rise to the forefront. I love how our office works together to help tackle these spur-of-the-moment issues and find a resolution that stays true to the principle of religious liberty.
of these” extends to “when I could not speak for myself, you spoke for me.” At the BJC, we stand up for the rights of those who are not in the majority just as much as those who are. God presents the kingdom as a gift—a free gift. We contend that this gift of freedom should be preserved, unaided and unimpaired by government. I believe it is significant that Jesus did not attempt to usher in the kingdom through the established government of the time. We should never forget that Christianity was a persecuted minority at its onset. The early Baptists in this country were a small minority, too. When Baptists gained power and influence, they shared their faith but did not force it on others through laws. They understood that true faith was a free choice that could only be authentic when it is accepted–not coerced. Our work at the BJC continues the work of the kingdom by giving voice to the marginalized. That is the lineage of Christianity and Baptist tradition. How can others connect with your work and ministry at the BJC?
Photos courtesy of Charles Watson Capitol building photo courtesy of Lesley-Ann Hix
The BJC is a resource for anyone with church-state questions. We also offer internships for students as well as graduates. Our interns live on Capitol Hill and gain firsthand experience with our fight to defend and extend religious freedom for all. If you are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., with a church or any group in your respective communities, be sure to make our Center for Religious Liberty a part of your experience. Please email me at cwatson@BJConline.org, and we can coordinate your visit to learn more about religious liberty and the work of the BJC.
How did McAfee prepare you for your current position? I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that my degree focus in pastoral care prepared me for this position. My clinical pastoral education experience, while working as a chaplain intern at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, exposed me to families of several different faiths. I witnessed how important faith was to each family, and I also was blessed to help them express their faith freely. As I have reflected on those moments with parents and their children, I realized how fortunate I was to live in a country where this liberty is possible. That experience has made the work that we do at the BJC personal. My classes at McAfee helped shape my theology. McAfee gives a voice to all of its students, and hearing those voices influenced my understanding of others, as well as God. I use that same approach to my work at the BJC. It is extremely hard to learn when the only voice you are able to hear is your own. How does your work connect with your understanding of “serving the least of these?” I correlate “serving the least of these” with the idea that each individual is important in the eyes of God. When we defend the religious liberty of all people, we are living out that principle. In describing the kingdom of heaven, Jesus proclaims, “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35 NRSV). I believe the idea of “serving the least
Charles Watson, Jr. is a native of Millen, GA, and a 2013 graduate of McAfee. He is the Education and Outreach Specialist of the Baptist Joint Commitee for Religious Liberty. His work is focused on expanding the base of support for religious liberty and engaging the next generation of advocates.
Inner City Impact
Inner City Impact is a nonprofit ministry that serves children in inner-city Chicago. Their mission is to share the gospel with kindergarten through high school students through discipleship and recreational activities. ICI has served Chicago’s urban community since 1972 and continues to offer afterschool programs, sports leagues, year-round camping and leadership development training. Each week hundreds of students intersect with ICI’s staff through at-home visits and after-school clubs which take place in two different facilities around the Chicago area. Since graduating from McAfee in May 2012, Matt Blair has had the privilege of serving with this amazing ministry. ICI is a completely support-raised organization which means all of their funds come from a variety of different places: churches, families, corporations and individuals. Matt believes this is one of many areas where God is truly working alongside ICI. “God’s willingness to help provide for ICI is evident. All program staff is required to raise their own salaries before working full time with the kids. This support raising process is a difficult yet fantastic opportunity to give more people the chance to get involved in kingdom work. My wife and I started raising our support in June, and by September 4, 2012, we were working with the kids.” Part of ICI’s success is due to its partner institutions. They inherited a high school program that had already been
established. High school club happens every Friday night from 7-10 p.m. Along with its structured sports and activities, Bible study is offered to educate kids in a Christ-centered, safe environment where they can come and have an alternative to the dangerous street life that surrounds them. To say these teenagers are exposed to a lot is an understatement. Gangs, drugs, sex, alcohol and abuse are not only evident in the community but also (more often than not) play a part of their home lives too. ICI provides a safe haven for these kids. From January 2013 to August 2013, 285 high school students attended Friday night club with an average of about 50 students per night. More importantly, these students experienced the love of Christ from various staff and volunteers. According to Matt, high school club is one of the best things they do. “One of the major draws to our high school club is the basketball court that we have in our facility. Basketball is the first love for a large percentage of our students. They not only get to play for free, but they get to come and be around their friends in a safe environment that allows them to enjoy themselves.” Some of the students who come to play basketball are not concerned with or have any idea that ICI is a ministry. Matt remembers one student in particular who just came in to play ball. He didn’t listen when the Bible lessons happened; all he was concerned about was when he could play his next
Photos courtesy of Matt Blair
basketball game. “Doug is a nice kid; he just didn’t care about anything other than basketball - probably because he saw it as his only way out of a negative situation. Like many of our kids, Doug came from a single parent home whose mother worked a minimum wage job. He was a senior who wanted to just hurry up and graduate. After several long conversation on van rides home after club (and a lot of basketball training sessions), Doug and I started to build a stronger relationship. He realized that if he needed help with anything, then ICI was the place to go.” Eventually Doug started to understand that a college education was a realistic ticket out of his negative situation. College was not on Doug’s radar until he started to see that the ICI staff, who he now considers his mentors and role models, all had a college education. He also noticed that the ICI staff was willing to go out of their way to help him study. Through his experience with the mentors and leaders and the countless others that God put in Doug’s life that showed him the love of Christ, he graduated high school and now plays basketball in college. Being a part of this kind of ministry, dealing with students who face so many different kinds of struggles, has made Matt realize one important truth, McAfee prepared him well. “McAfee had a hand in Doug going to college, and it has had a hand in showing love to Doug and numerous other students
throughout Chicago.” Matt now sees himself as a conduit of Christ’s love. He loves interacting with student’s like Doug and is grateful McAfee helped him realize this. “While working to receive my MDiv in Christian Education, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as associate pastor of Perkerson Baptist Church in East Point, GA. My experience there turned out to be a place where I could take what I was learning in the classroom and put it into practice. The majority of my time at Perkerson was spent doing outreach with junior high and high school youth. It was there that I felt my call to urban ministry.” McAfee professors gave Matt the tools that he now uses on a daily basis. Classes like Preaching, the Bible and Pop Culture and Church Administration proved to be helpful in his role with ICI. Each week Matt uses lessons learned in Preaching to prepare Bible lessons for 50 high school students. His Bible and Pop Culture class helped him find different ways to garner the students’ interests. Church Administration helped him figure out the ins-and-outs of dealing with a large staff and ministerial organization. These are just a few examples of how McAfee continues to impact Matt’s ministry. “One of the best lessons learned, while at McAfee, is being a minister takes ‘knowing, being and doing.’ This truth comes on a daily basis at Inner City Impact. The students ask questions with which they want answers, and I feel like the knowledge that is needed to answer a lot of their questions has been given to me. If I do not know the answers, I certainly feel like I have been taught how to seek them out and point the students in the right direction. For the questions that have no answers, the students know I will sit with them through the pain. Being fully present with students is not always easy, but it is a blessing to see how God moves in the lives of these kids and their families.” Needless to say, in the short time Matt has been in Chicago he’s felt blessed to do ministry with an organization where knowing, being and doing the work of Christ happens on a daily basis. He now hopes to continue to be a conduit for knowledge, hope and love for many more students in the years to come.
Matt Blair received a BS from Carson-Newman University in 2009 and a MDiv from McAfee in 2012. He currently serves as the high school coordinator for Impact Ministries, a Christian nonprofit based in inner-city Chicago. In his free time, Matt enjoys rooting for the Chicago Bears and playing with his newborn son, Robert.
Theology of a Rainbow
Photos courtesy of Jeannette Jordan
What is it about a rainbow that makes it so fascinating? Perhaps, it’s the allure of its size or the vibrancy of colors that makes you stop and take notice. I traveled nearly five thousand miles to see a rainbow in Aarhus, Denmark. And while this particular rainbow is not the work of the divine in nature; it is clearly a reflection of what is divine and great. The rainbow that sits atop ARoS contemporary art museum is the work of Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson; he is the same artist that installed a waterfall beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in 2008. This work, Your rainbow panorama, took years in execution and planning. But now it is both a landmark and an icon of Denmark’s second largest city. And unlike the waterfalls, that was a temporary installation in New York; this work is designed as a permanent part of the museum, the city’s landscape and the identity of the region. “We built this museum nearly ten years ago with the idea to have it tell a story;” says ARoS museum director Jens Erik Sørensen. “So, we based the design on Dante’s Divine Comedy with visitors starting in the Nine Spaces in the basement and ascending from hell, up the spiral to heaven,” explained Sørensen. This climb puts visitors inside Your rainbow panorama, a crowning exhibition on the rooftop of the museum. Your rainbow panorama opened in late 2010. The 250 -ton exhibit required 80 additional columns throughout the museum to support the massive colored glass panels, and a team of architects and engineers worked with the artist to execute his vision. Since its opening, more than 500,000 people have visited each year. ARoS Communications Director, Bjarne Bækgaard, explained why the artist called this work, Your rainbow panorama. “I asked Olafur why not call this work ‘the rainbow panorama,’ and he told me that it is not ‘the rainbow’ but rather ‘your’ rainbow,” recalls Bækgaard. “So, this is all about what you see and how you interact with your surroundings,” said Bækgaard. What I noticed the moment I stepped into the rainbow was the first panel, which was perfectly clear. But, immediately across the spectrum from where I was standing, I saw a panel that was completely dark to me. “That was my life about this time last year,” I remarked, “it was dark and I couldn’t see my way clear.” That’s when Bjarne asked me to keep walking and take note of what happened. The colors began to change and when I looked at the floor grates I even saw contrasting colors and different views of the city. I then said, “I get it now, this is just like life, if you keep moving your perspective changes but if you stand still, what you see or your perception of a situation never changes; despite the reality of what really is.” Your rainbow panorama is designed in three phases. The first is the ring and the second, a sky lounge with a sun encased is under construction. The final phase is a silver ball that is set
to allow visitors a more secluded experience. Another aspect of this rainbow is that each visit yields a different experience. And, no two people have the same experience. The exhibit is not heated, so the temperature, time of day and number of people inside the rainbow affects your rainbow panorama experience. I toured the exhibit a second time with Elof Westergaard. Westergaard oversees 30 priests and 27 churches in Denmark. He also has a congregation of six thousand members. Westergaard also writes about art, religion and culture. But, he reminded me that Eliasson is an artist who uses his talents to explain science in a way we can experience it and not as a religious expression. Still, Westergaard agrees that it is nearly impossible for a believer to see this rainbow and not experience God in it. Before heading to the rooftop, I asked Westergaard the significance of a rainbow from a theological perspective. He explained that the rainbow is about existence and responsibility. Westergaard views the rainbow as a symbol of God as the Creator and us as created beings with the freedom to choose to experience with has been fashioned. “If you look at scripture,” says Westergaard, “right in the beginning just after the flood, God said, ‘I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth’ [Gen 9:13].1 This is the blessing. But, when you reach the end of scriptures, you find it written, ‘And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald,’” [Rev 4:3]. This is the responsibility part, according to Westergaard. “When I approached the museum, this rainbow seemed huge; but, as soon as I stepped inside everything looked so small to me.” That is the call of life, according to Westergaard, we cannot simply be a spectator looking at its vastness but rather a participant willing to enter and experience life’s greatness. Inside the rainbow over ARoS museum, I watched people walk by and take photos as Westergaard stood silently looking through the colored glass panes. Finally, I asked “What do you see?” He responded, “I see a blessing over this city, and if you see the reflections of the rings, you can see the blessing multiplying everywhere your eye can see.” _Jeannette Jordan (‘06) Jeannette is an ordained minister and has a Master of Journalism from universities in Denmark and Germany. Jeannette is also an experienced journalist, a 2007 RIAS Berlin fellow and a 2009 Erasmus Mundus global journalism fellow. This article was nominated for a journalism award and was used by permission.
Doctor of Ministry
M c A f e e S c h o o l o f Th e o l o g y Including specializations in Preaching & Christian Spirituality
theology.mercer.edu firstname.lastname@example.org 678-547-6474
end notes From “‘Be Water, My Friend’” by Dr. David Garber:
1. Berton, Pierre. “Interview with Bruce Lee.” The Pierre Berton Show. CTV, 1971. YouTube video, 24:37, posted by “Outlaw east Entertainment,” August 11, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHAUsN4PBrc. The pertinent quote begins at 15:35. 2. All scripture citations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
From “Theology of a Rainbow” by Jeannette Jordan: 1. All scripture citations are from the King James Version.
class notes ‘00 Rev. Melissa L. Willis (MDiv) completed 12 years of ministry at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston Salem, NC, on September 8, 2013. She began serving as minister with children and families at Central Baptist Church Bearden in Knoxville, TN, on September 22, 2013.
Kiffin Ayers (MDiv) teaches elementary students with extended needs (K-5) and is the CEO of Bead Pond Media, Inc. Ayers finds enrichment through providing educational experiences for others.
Jody Long (MDiv) completed his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Mercer University in August 2013. His area of research was in the institutionalization of servicelearning in Baptist colleges.
Mark Snipes (MDiv) is the new missions coordinator for CBF of VA.
Trey Sullivan (MDiv) recently accepted a program manager position at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. He is entering his third year of service with the university, having previously worked as a program assistant in SCS and also completing a one-year CPE residency at Georgetown Hospital in 2012. Nick Almand (MACM) is having a baby boy named Sean Nicholos Almand.
Cody J. Sanders (MDiv/MS) published his first book, Queer Lessons for Churches on the Straight and Narrow: What All Christians Can Learn from LGBTQ Lives (Macon, GA: Faithlab, 2013). Glendora Collier (MDiv) is now serving as a minister, pre-school teacher and community organizer. James Shelton (MDiv) started McAfee’s DMin in Christian Spirituality this fall.
Courtney Montgomery Chandler (MDiv) began a calling to serve as senior minister at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Sterling, IL, this past August.
Ragan Deal (MDiv) is moving from Topeka, KS, and joining the staff at First Baptist Church Richlands, NC, in November as minister of youth and children.
Jim Hollandsworth (MDiv) is working full-time as the executive director of The Path Project (www. path-project.org). This is a nonprofit
Andi Thomas Sullivan (MDiv) completed her MA in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service. Following graduation, she accepted
a position in the Agriculture and Food Security Unit at Partners of the Americas in Washington, DC.
Kristen Ivy (MDiv) is excited to have co-authored the book Playing for Keeps and its companion fiction novel Loosing Your Marbles. Both books are written to remind parents and volunteers of the impact they can have in the lives of kids and teenagers every week.
Russell Bone (MDiv) moved to Auckland, New Zealand in July 2013 with his wife, Sarah, and their two beautiful daughters, Reanna (born May 2010) and Kennedy (born March 2013) after working for six years for the Greater Louisville YMCA.
Nancy Penton (MDiv) serves as adjunct faculty at McAfee teaching Spiritual Formation. She is finishing DMin in Christian Spirituality at McAfee in December 2013.
LeAnn Gunter Johns (MDiv), Barry and big brother Parker celebrated the birth of Patrick Wilson Johns, on July 30, 2013. LeAnn is serving as pastor of St. Clare Baptist Church in Macon, GA.
that he and his wife founded a few years ago. For the past 8 years he has served as the missions pastor at Graystone Church in Loganville but left on September 1 to work at Path Project.
Lydia Fields (MDiv) became the associate pastor of College Ministry and Multimedia at FBC Gainesville, GA, in August. This is a shift from her previous position as associate student minister. Britt Hester (MDiv) was ordained at Heritage Baptist Church, Cartersville, GA, on August 18, 2013. Mary Thomas Kaylor (MDiv) was ordained on August 17, 2013 at First Baptist Church, New Bern, NC, and is now working with CBF field personnel in Pune, India.
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