Research Leaders in
Ta ble a ux Fall 2014
from the dean Ta b le a ux
plural [ta-bloh]: A picturesque group of persons around a common table. In my 20th year as dean, I reflect back on all God’s doing at McAfee, and I see clearly how we’re genuinely and authentically changing lives and transforming communities. It’s happening through research and service. The research being done in biblical studies, mental health, congregational trends and missional engagement is noteworthy. In this issue of Tableaux, you’ll read stories on what faculty, alumni and students are studying. The breadth of it alone is impressive, but the quality and sophistication is even more inspiring. I’m proud of the legacy we’re paving as an institution that cares deeply about sound research. If research is one of the arms of our institution, the other is service. Every student takes classes that require her/him to go out into the community and serve. Whether it’s cooking a hot meal, organizing a fundraising event, preparing a worship service, sitting at someone’s bedside or stocking shelves, we train and equip students to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s not enough to read and write about the kingdom of God, we must be about the business of kingdom work. In short, we take seriously Jesus’ message, “What you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.” Through research and service, McAfee continues to affect change in individual and communal lives. Both have the power to transform. Both have the power to offering healing and wholeness. Both are taught and experienced at McAfee. We hope you enjoy this eighth issue of Tableaux.
R. Alan Culpepper
contents 4 6 8 10 12 14 18 20 22 24 28 30 32 35
Leaders in Research “Jerusalem in Exile” by David Garber Students in Research Too Heavy a Yoke, An interview with Rachel Held Evans Innovative Lectureships Faculty Research Raimundo Barreto Leaders in Service Karen Zimmerman “Border Crossers,” Mission Immersion in India Interfaith Engagement Kali Freels Courtney Huggins Class Notes
On the cover: Dr. Rob Nash leads McAfee students on a Mission Immersion trip to India. Photo courtesy of Dave Garber. Tableaux staff: J. Barrett Owen, editor in chief Lesley-Ann Hix, designer Kate Riney, managing editor Rachel Freeny, writer firstname.lastname@example.org tableauxonline.wordpress.com
Research â€œI assert that the cosmic religious experience is the strongest and the noblest driving force behind [the need for] research.â€? Albert Einstein
Photo courtesy of David Garber
Jerusalem in Exile Photos courtesy of David Garber
On July 8, 2014, I became more keenly aware of wars and rumors of wars. Six days before I was to depart for Jerusalem, a family member called in a panic, relaying events leading to the imminent war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The previous year, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Shalom Hartman Institute invited me to participate in the Christian Leadership Initiative (CLI), a program that brings Christian leaders together to intensively study Judaism over the course of a year. I was extremely excited about the opportunity to return to Jerusalem, where I had visited in 2009 with a group of McAfee students on the Middle East Travel Seminar. My 2014 trip would give me the chance to experience Jerusalem in a slightly different context and with an eye towards deepening my knowledge of Jewish tradition. When the July 8 call came, however, my excited anticipation morphed into anxious trepidation. As each day drew closer, more information about the conflict between Hamas and Israel came to the fore. Representatives from the AJC were in constant communication with members of our cohort, seeking to determine whether or not we would continue with the program. With reassurances that the participants’ safety would be of utmost concern to the hosts, the participants and leaders overwhelmingly decided to follow through with the plans for our first meeting. I noticed the impact of the war on my experience of the CLI from the moment I arrived at my departure gate from Newark to Tel Aviv. Security was heightened, and there was a second checkpoint at the gate itself. As I took my seat, I noticed two empty seats beside me. Normally I would rejoice, preparing myself for an unexpectedly comfortable journey. The absence of passengers on the plane in the height of the tourism season, however, signaled the impact the conflict was having on the region. On our first full day in Jerusalem some of my colleagues and I made our way to the Old City. When I had been to Jerusalem in 2009, the Old City was abuzz with the noise of tourists and locals; the shops were busy; the religious sites were full. As I approached the Church of the Holy Sepulchre this year, the dearth of pilgrims to the site struck me. In 2009, the line to enter the Edicule of the Tomb wove around the dimly lit rotunda and the wait lasted over two hours. In 2014 the length of the line was only about fifteen feet with a ten minute wait. Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, described the experience we were
having within the city as a case of “surreal normalcy.” Every participant was aware of the violence that was taking place in Gaza and the echoes of violence in smaller-scale scuffles in Jerusalem. Yet we also witnessed people going about their daily lives: walking to work, sitting in the cafés, and eating meals. The pall of current events impacted our cohort’s life together as a learning community. The intended plan for the program was for us to study the history and teachings of Judaism in 2014 and turn our thoughts to the establishment of the state of Israel and current affairs in 2015. History, however, interrupted these plans, and while we did spend a majority of our time studying rabbinical texts and traditions, the makeup of our group also necessitated intentional reflection on the current crisis. Many of the participants of our group, including myself, have Palestinian friends or colleagues and heard about the events from a quite different perspective. Given the heightening conflict as well as the loss of life that escalated throughout the week just a couple of hours away, dialogue in such an environment had the potential to turn unproductive, if not adversarial. The conveners from the Shalom-Hartman Institute and the AJC, however, were gracious in allowing this gathering to be a place of true dialogue. Perhaps that is what I learned the most about the Jewish tradition during my time in Jerusalem. There is something inherent in the tradition that not only allows for, but encourages open dialogue and transparency. Regardless of political or theological perspectives, each member of the group was allowed a voice at the table. While I may or may not have changed many of my own feelings on the current affairs or events, I was able to truly hear the perspectives of my colleagues along the entire theological, ethical and political spectrum. This program did not end when I left Jerusalem on the first U.S.-bound flight that departed Ben Gurion after the FAA lifted a brief ban. Throughout the year, we will continue our conversations on Judaism and the State of Israel through monthly meetings and webinars. My prayer in the months to come will be for the spirit of inclusion and openness to continue in hopes that next year in Jerusalem we might reconvene in an environment that has moved closer to peace, equity and justice. _Dr. David G. Garber, Jr. Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
leading in research
The mission of Mercer University is to teach, to learn, to propel this mission forward thanks to the encouragement and present original research at national conferences.
Isaac Sharp Program: MDiv ‘13 PhD studies: Union Theological Seminary This semester I’m knocking out a significant chunk of my required 40 hours of coursework. I’m taking: “God and Human Suffering” with James Cone; “Teaching Religion and Theology” with Mary Boys; “Social Ethics in the Making” with Gary Dorrien, a doctoral seminar on philosophy of religion with Cornel West; and at Columbia University, “Theory and Methods in the Study of Religion” with Josef Sorett. In August, Dr. Gushee and I submitted the completed manuscript of our co-edited volume, Evangelical Social Ethics: Converting America and Its Christians, 1944-2014, to Westminster John Knox Press for their “Library of Theological Ethics” series. The book is currently in production.
Program: MDiv-MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling ‘14 Conference: Society of Pastoral Theology’s Annual Study June 20, 2014
The Soulful Companion: A New Image for Pastoral Care This presentation explores a new image for African American pastoral care, especially for those in longterm care situations such as prison ministry, acute care/hospice, nursing homes and congregational ministries. The Soulful Companion embraces the work of Robert Dykstra’s Intimate Stranger and Edward Wimberly’s Indigenous Storyteller as well as other classic images, but also challenges their effectiveness for African Americans in long-term care situations. This image incorporates discernment as a tool and places less emphasis on psychological technique and theory.
create, to discover, to inspire, to empower and to serve. Students at McAfee and support of the faculty. Each year students are accepted into PhD programs Here is some of the impressive work being done by students.
Tavonda Hudson Program: MDiv-MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling ‘15 Event: Wild Goose Festival June 26-29, Hot Springs, NC The Wild Goose Festival is a weekend celebration of faith, justice, music and arts. This year’s theme was Living Liberation. Tavonda Hudson presented, along with seminarians Scott Bostic from Wesley Theological Seminary and Nick Ison from Princeton Theological Seminary, a lecture called, “Hearing & Seeing: A Call to Seminary Service” at the Wild Goose Festival in June. They shared thoughts on why service and social justice are essential to theological education. Since March 2013, students from ten East coast and Midwest seminaries have been participating in social justice ministries in the areas of homelessness, poverty, food justice, sex trafficking, immigration, prison reform, etc., with their local communities. Hudson shared how McAfee uses grants and community partners to raise funds and find job placements for students. She also talked about McAfee’s dual degree programs and career opportunities in the areas of service and social justice.
Mark Wirtz Program: MDiv ‘14 Conference: Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion March 7-9, 2014 Wrestling with Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 Leviticus 18 and 20 are a part of a larger narrative construct in which Israel wishes to separate itself from its cultural rivals, the so-called Canaanites, with whom Israel likely shared a great deal in common. From an exilic or post-exilic point of view, one can see that the sexual laws of Lev 18 and 20 are a way to account for Israel’s destruction, and a means for avoiding any future demise. Reading Lev 18.22 and 20.13 within its literary frame of didactic speeches (18.1-5, 24-30 and 20.7-8, 22-26) enables us to locate the prohibitions against a very specific type of male-male intercourse (not homosexuality in general) within a literary and historical context. Drawing upon the work of Ken Stone (Practicing Safer Texts, 2005), Wirtz uses the concept of “border anxiety” to critique Lev 18.22 and 20.13 as an attempt to define the insider (Israelites) from the outsider (Canaanites). As such, the proscriptions in Lev 18.22 and 20.13 are descriptive of a social and historical location, not prescriptive for our contemporary understandings of human sexuality. This reading enables LGBTQ people to place Lev 18.22 and 20.13 within its historical and cultural milieu in such a way that draws attention to the destructive and often violent use of biblical texts to single out and exclude the “Other.”
An interview with Rachel Held Evans Recently Rachel Held Evans sat down with McAfee School of Theologyâ€™s Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes to talk about her latest book, Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength. Photos courtesy of Rachel Held Evans and Chanequa Walker-Barnes
RHE: In Too Heavy a Yoke, you unpack this idea, [of] identifying the StrongBlackWoman as “a legendary figure, typified by extraordinary capacities for caregiving and for suffering without complaint. She is a cultural myth that defines—and confines—ways of being in the world for women of African descent.” Where do we see this archetype/ ideology in popular culture and in day-to-day life?
struggle, a terminal or fatal illness, and the death of a child or spouse, [they] are encouraged to be strong, that is, to hide any signs of distress and to pretend as if everything is okay. In the church broadly, there remains this view that suffering is women’s lot in life. Of course, that comes from a distortion of Genesis 3. That view becomes even further complicated when it’s layered with race. In the church, it seems to me that Black women—more than any other racial/gender group—are taught that strain and suffering are indicative of holiness. We are taught to put on a good face in the midst of our struggle, rather than to ask for help. That’s pretty convenient for the church, because as long as they praise us for being strong in the midst of suffering, they’re excused from having to do anything about our suffering.
CWB: It actually might be more appropriate to ask, Where don’t we recognize her? It’s hard to find a film or television character portrayed by a Black actress that does not personify the StrongBlackWoman in some way. You see her as Miranda Bailey in Grey’s Anatomy, as Olivia Pope in Scandal, and as a key figure in every Tyler Perry film. Madea is the StrongBlackWoman on steroids! Unfortunately, examples of the StrongBlackWoman are not limited to film. Nearly everyone I talk to, regardless of their own race and gender, can identify some woman in their life who lives into the role—a family member, friend, coworker, or congregation member who constantly sacrifices herself on behalf of others, who carries an inordinately heavy load of responsibility, and who rarely asks for help.
RHE: It’s rare to find a book that so seamlessly combines the academic and the pastoral, but Too Heavy a Yoke does this beautifully. Who do you especially hope will read it and why?
RHE: You write about how the pressure to live up to the StrongBlackWoman ideal affected your own health, selfesteem, and emotional and relational well-being. How does the pressure to be perpetually strong hurt Black women? How is it “an ill-fitting suit of armor”? CWB: About ten years ago, I found myself in the midst of a stress-induced health crisis. I realized that my personal and emotional suffering came from trying to be all things to all people and taking care of everyone except myself. Over time, I began to realize just how widespread a problem this is among Black women and how it’s impacting our health. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, HIV/AIDS—all these occur at higher rates among Black women. And Black women often have the highest mortality rates from many major causes of death. On the outside, it may look like we have it all together. But inside, we’re suffering, even to the point of death. RHE: You say that often “the church reinforces the mythology of the StrongBlackWoman by silencing, ignoring, and even romanticizing the suffering of Black women.” Can you give us some common examples of how that happens? CWB: When Black women suffer tragedies such as financial
CWB: I‘m continually struck by the fact that there is little public discourse— in the church or anywhere—about the health epidemic facing Black women and it’s connection to the myth of the StrongBlackWoman. I wanted to write a book that would raise the awareness of spiritual care professionals, to help them to see the realities of Black women’s lives so that they could better minister to them. I want this book to be read by pastors, pastoral counselors, chaplains and leaders of lay ministries and health care professionals. And I even hope that it will find its way into the hands of Black women who are weighed down by the burden of strength. At the same time, I didn’t want this to be pop psychology. I am a professor, after all, so I wanted the book to be academically rigorous. *** Dr. Walker-Barnes finds her mission as a catalyst for healing, justice and reconciliation in the Christian church and beyond. Be sure to check out Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength. You can read the full article from Rachel Held Evans’ blog: rachelheldevans.com/ blog/chanequa-walker-barnes-too-heavy-a-yoke
Innovative Lectureships Research and service reach beyond the individual level at McAfee. As a matter of fact, the school itself is built on the foundation of furthering both research and service through innovative lectureships and conferences. “Our conferences bridge the best of academia with the local church,” Dean Culpepper said in a recent interview. “We continually strive to be a bridge for academia and the local church. One way we achieve this goal is by offering continuing education lectures on important, pioneering topics in biblical studies, science, preaching and missions.” To illustrate this point, here are snapshots of what we mean:
William L. Self Preaching Lectures
Past keynotes: Brian McLaren, Tom Long, Barabara Brown Tayor, Luke Powery, Walter Brueggemann, Joanna Adams, Fred Craddock, Amy-Jill Levine, Eugene Lowry, Robert Smith
Peter Rhea and Ellen Jones New Testament Lectures
Past keynotes: N.T. Wright, James Dunn, D. Moody Smith, Dale Allison
D. Perry and Betty Ginn Lectures on Faith and Modern Science
Past keynotes, Terrence Deacon, Ted Peters, David Christian, John Haught, Adrian Wyard, Robert Russell
Mercer Preaching Consultation
Past keynotes, Diana Butler Bass, Lillian Daniel, Luke Timothy Johnson, Barbara Brown Taylor, Walter Brueggemannn, Allen Walworth, Greg Boyd
McAfee World Mission Lectures Inaugural keynote: Alan Roxburgh
Other nationally recognized events
Johannince Symposium, National Conference on Torture, The Judsons: Celebrating 200 Years of Baptist Missions, National Conference on Sexuality and Covenant, Baptist Joint Committee Shurden Lectures, Jewish-Christian Dialogue, New Baptist Covenant, North American Baptist Professors of Religion Check out our website for dates and times for these events. We hope you’ll join us soon.
New on our shelves Nancy deClaisséWalford
The Shape and Shaping of the Book of Psalms: The Current State of Scholarship & Coming Nov 2014:
The Book of Psalms
David P. Gushee
In The Fray: Contesting Christian Public Ethics, 19942013
Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength
Time for Supper: Invitations to Christ’s Table
“In these essays, we observe the careful reflection of a brilliant scholar who is one of the best contemporary Christian ethicists... Gushee is significantly influencing the church today. These stimulating essays demonstrate how he creatively impacts every topic he tackles. Highly recommended.” —Ronald J. Sider, Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry, and Public Policy, Palmer Seminary, Eastern University
“Well done! This book is a much-needed gift to the field of pastoral theology. It is a well nuanced and explicated research volume and a practical guide for caregivers, pastors, those who love women struggling with the ideology of the ‘StrongBlackWoman,’ as well as those in recovery.” —Marsha Foster Boyd, President Emerita, Ecumenical Theological Seminary
Some scholars suggest that every meal in literature is a communion scene. Could every meal in the Bible be a communion text? The Lord’s Supper is betrayal in the upper room, but it is also dinner in Emmaus and breakfast by the Sea of Tiberias. Could every passage be an invitation to God’s grace? These meditations on the Lord’s Supper help us listen to the myriad of ways God invites us to gratefully, reverently, and joyfully share the cup of Christ.
Faculty research Alan Culpepper
Alan Culpepper’s major project is a commentary on Matthew for the New Testament Library (Westminster John Knox). When he finishes it, he will have published a volume on each of the four gospels. In 2013, Jan van der Watt (professor at the University of Nijmegen), Udo Schnelle (professor at the University of Halle-Wittenberg) and Culpepper launched the Colloquium Ioanneum, a three-day consultation with a membership of 12 Johannine scholars. In September 2013, the Colloquium met on the Island of Patmos, and the papers on John 1:1-18 from this conference will be published next year by Mohr-Siebeck. They are now making plans for a meeting in Ephesus in September 2015. For this meeting Culpepper is working on a paper entitled, “A Temple among Temples: Reading the ‘Cleansing of the Temple’ (John 2:13-22) in Ephesus.” Last year Culpepper gave the Prestige Lectures at the University of Nijmegen, and one of them will be the principal essay for a volume of essays on “’Children of God’: Evolution, Cosmology, and Johannine Thought,” which will be published next year by E. J. Brill. Another association Culpepper has enjoyed greatly for the past two years is working on the New Paths project team for the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Last year, the team completed “Images of Israel,” a six-unit course designed to introduce American Christians to Israel, and they are hard at work on a sequel, “Encounters in Israel.” Culpepper is working with Paul Anderson (professor at George Fox University) to launch a new series of volumes this fall, “The Johannine Monograph series” (published by Wipf & Stock), that will bring back out-of-print classics in the field of Johannine studies. The first volume will be Rudolf Bultmann’s commentary on the Gospel of John, and the second volume (for which Culpepper is writing the foreword) will be D. Moody Smith’s Composition and Order of the Fourth Gospel: Bultmann’s Literary Theory. Culpepper also serves on the editorial board of the Library of New Testament Studies (T & T Clark).
David Gushee Nancy deClaissé-Walford
Nancy deClaissé-Walford’s current writing project is the Commentary on Psalms 90150, in the new Liturgical Press Wisdom Commentary Series, a broadly feminist approach to the Bible. She is also the Book Review Editor and member of the Editorial Board of the journal Review & Expositor, and she is the Old Testament Editor for the Word Biblical Commentary Series.
David Gushee is the director of Mercer’s Center for Theology and Public Life. He just published, In the Fray, which collects representative essays over the twenty years of his career. He’s currently working on 18part series on the LGBT issue for ABP/ RH. This work has led to a book deal as well as speaking engagements at events like The Reformation Project with Matthew Vines. He’s also accepted the prestigious invitation to Nordenhaug Memorial lecture series in Amsterdam.
Brett Younger just published It’s Time for Supper, a book on the holy art of communion. He is serving this fall as Interim Pastor of Santiago Community Church in Santiago, Chile. The congregation has members from twenty countries and eighteen denominations. Serving this church is an opportunity for research on a global perspective that will be helpful in writing about preaching in post-modern, postdenominational settings.
McAfee has one of the most published faculty in progressive Baptist life. From global missions to biblical studies to pastoral counseling, it’s easy to see why so many students are choosing McAfee to learn. The comprehensive nature of the curriculum and research interests of the faculty offers any student a well-rounded education. Here’s a snapshot of what the faculty are doing in research and service. Loyd Allen
Loyd Allen’s research is currently focused in three areas: Christian spiritual formation, interfaith dialogue, and Baptist history. He serves as a faculty member for the Academy of Spiritual Formation and is currently preparing a series of lectures for that organization on pilgrimage to be presented in February 2015. In connection to these lectures, he will serve as spiritual director on a 2015 pilgrimage to Celtic sites in Scotland. Allen spent two weeks in Turkey last spring as a guest of the Atlantic Institute, an interfaith organization with ties to Turkey and the Muslim faith. He presented a lecture to this organization in September on Christianity with an emphasis on Baptists to this organization. In November, he will continue this type of engagement as one of three presenters on prayer, one each from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith, at an invitation-only interfaith conference at Mercer University. In Baptist studies Allen recently facilitated on Mercer’s campus a group of 20 Baptist scholars in a reading of primary source documents related to Baptists and the Social Gospel. He also serves on the History and Heritage Commission of the Baptist World Alliance and will be attending the five-year BWA general assembly in South Africa in 2015.
Graham Walker serves on the theological advisory council for the National Center for Science Education, Oakland, Ca, and is the president of the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary. He is a commissioner for the Baptist World Alliance, Ethics Commission and will serve in that role through 2015. He recently edited and contributed to Review and Expositor, Vol.110, and delivered a paper, “A Christian Zayat in the shade of the Bo tree” at “The Judsons: Celebrating 200 years of Baptist Missions” Conference that is being published in the American Baptist Quarterly Review Special Edition on the Judsons. This fall Walker is presenting a paper, “James McClendon: Ruptures in the Fabric of Time,” at the International Convictional Theologies Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is also contributing a chapter to the book “Children of God: Evolution, Cosmology, and Johannine Thought” published by Brill.
Chanequa Walker-Barnes was selected to participate in the 2013-2014 Teaching and Learning Workshop for Pre-Tenure Theological School Faculty, sponsored by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. She was also awarded a summer fellowship to begin a project exploring how women’s ways of remembering and narrating oppression and trauma impact teaching and dialogue on race and gender issues. She also published her first major work on the myth of the StrongBlackWoman. Drawing upon womanist pastoral theology and twelve-step philosophy, she calls upon pastoral caregivers to aid in the healing of African American women’s identities and crafts a twelve-step program for StrongBlackWomen in recovery.
Daniel Vestal serves as the Interim Pastor of Peachtree Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga, as well as the director of the Baugh Center for Baptist Leadership. He is currently writing a spiritual formation resource, “Deacons As Spiritual Leaders” and developing a Baptist Deacon Network in Georgia and North Carolina. His main focus this semester is developing a certificate program of continuing education and formation for experienced pastors as well as developing a network for ministers of spiritual formation and direction.
Tom Slater just sent the final copy of African American Voices, a collection of ten essays by African American New Testament scholars on topics related to Jesus and the gospels, to Edwin Mellen Press. He is a member of the Task Force for the Revision of the Articles of Religion of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The Articles of Religion, held in common with all Methodists worldwide, were authored by John Wesley in the 18th century. They are Wesley’s condensation and revision of the foundational statements of faith in the Church of England. Slater continues to serve as chair of the Georgia North Region’s Committee on Ministerial Examinations, whose task it is to oversee the training of those persons seeking ordination. He is beginning his fifth year in that capacity and it is his ninth year overall on the committee. He also serves on the editorial board of Review & Expositor.
Peter Rhea Jones
Peter Rhea Jones has been vigorously in pursuit of the meanings of the Sermon on the Mount, given its influence on the course of history in the twentieth century in the US, India and South Africa. He spent a recent sabbatical in Cambridge, England in a research library focused on the Inaugural Sermon. He is currently editing the upcoming New Testament Supplements to the Smyth and Helwys Commentary, one of which is on the Sermon on the Mount with its hermeneutic of heaven.
Denise Massey is currently working on a book, tentatively titled The Sacred Art of Spiritual Conversations, which teaches ministers to conduct spiritual conversations that lead people to recognize and reach for their spiritual goals. This manuscript integrates insights from coaching, pastoral care, spiritual direction and her own practice of ministry. She is also supervising a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education for local church clergy to create personal and pastoral resilience (CPR). With support from both the Chaplaincy Department of Gwinnett Medical Center and the Baptist Healthcare Foundation, she is leading a group of five clergy persons to research and develop resilience in their lives and ministries. In addition, Massey serves on two professional advisory groups in the Atlanta area for organizations certified to offer clinical pastoral education: Children’s Healthcare and the Care and Counseling Center of Georgia. She also serves on the Regional board of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education as a seminary representative.
Rob Nash is working on a book titled, Moving the Equator: Global Mission in the Twenty-first Century. His research focuses on transitions that must occur in the global mission engagement of the church in areas of scripture, context, church and methodology. He is also working on an essay on the work of Luther Rice, a Baptist mission fundraiser in the early nineteenth century. He currently serves as the president of the board of Asian Indian Ministries and on the board of Conscience International and spent the summer as an interim pastor.
David G. Garber, Jr. is the 2015 President of the Society of Biblical Literature Southeastern Region of SECSOR and is currently researching a new approach to social justice in the interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures. In addition, Dr. Garber is a fellow in the Christian Leadership Initiative, a joint venture of the American Jewish Committee and the Shalom Hartman Institute to educate Christian leaders on the Jewish tradition and modern Israel.
Karen Massey is currently working on two significant issues. She is in conversation with folks from the GA Center for Child Advocacy and trainers for Stewards of Children to implement in the McAfee curriculum training sessions for all McAfee students. This training would be for ministers to raise awareness of and provide the “know how” to prevent child sexual abuse and sex trafficking in churches and surrounding communities. Massey is working with several Christian educators in Baptist life to establish and implement a professional organization for educators in churches and seminaries.
McAfee School of Theology Mercer
Un i v e r s i t y
At McAfee we are empowered to claim that we are not just the future,
we are the now. Join us November 9-10 for our fall Preview Conference
Raimundo Barreto, ‘99 Alliance (BWA). My research and teaching interests include World Christianities, ecumenics, religion and society in Latin America and Latino/a Christianity.
Tell us about yourself. I’m an ordained Baptist pastor. I hold a PhD in Religion and Society from Princeton Theological Seminary (2006) as well as degrees from McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University (1999) and the North Brazil Baptist Theological Seminary (1993).I also spent a year of studies at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague. I taught at Brazil’s Northeasthern Baptist Seminary and at the Brazilian Baptist College, in my native state of Bahia. Prior to coming to PTS, I was the first person to serve as director of the Division on Freedom and Justice of the Baptist World
What is your title at Princeton? I’m the Assistant Professor of World Christianity for the Department of History and Ecumenics at Princeton Theological Seminary. Are you teaching this year? My fall class is called Introduction to World Christianity; New Ecumenical Trends: the Ecumenical Movement in Latin America. This spring, I will teach a course called, Public Christianities in the Global South; Latino/a Christianity in North America Speak more about what your job was like for the Baptist World Alliance. From March 1, 2010, until July 31, 2014, I served as the first Director of the Freedom and Justice Division of the Baptist World Alliance. In that position, I engaged Christians from all over the world. I oversaw the work of the BWA Commissions on Peace, Human Rights Advocacy, Religious Freedom and Christian-Muslim Relations. My portfolio co-sponsored freedom, justice and peace initiatives, consultations and events with Baptist bodies in different parts of the world. In collaboration with regional and national Baptist leaders, I planned human rights visits and led peace and justice initiatives in places like Nigeria, Colombia, the Thai-Myanmar, Vietnam, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.
By virtue of my office, I also coordinated the BWA representation as an International NGO at the United Nations and served on the governing board of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with the UN (CoNGO). In the Washington, DC, area, I networked with a number of religious and non-religious organizations interested in religious freedom issues as a member of the steering committee of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable. On top of this, I led the BWA advocacy efforts engaging governments and intergovernmental agencies, such as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.S. State Department and a number of Embassies and State Missions to the UN, and coordinated the process of nomination of the Baptist World Alliance’s Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award.
acknowledge the complexity and diversity of Christian expressions in different parts of the world, and explore the implications for the possible futures of Christianity, including both ecumenical and interfaith relations, which are key for any more peaceful scenario for the world.
How did McAfee help you get to where you are? McAfee played a major role in my formation, first of all when it accepted me as a student in its first class. I am always grateful when I remember all what Dean Culpepper and others had to put together in order to have me joining McAfee. I am also thankful to key partners such as FBC of Tucker, GA, and Central Baptist Church, Richmond, VA. Both churches partnered with McAfee to make it possible for me to study there. On top of that, at McAfee I found a sound spiritual and What brought you back to the classroom? intellectual environment. I still remember how pleased I My experience working with the global Baptists and other was to go every morning to the classroom, to take classes religious leaders around the world made me realize the ability with professors such as Ronald Johnson, Loyd Allen, Alan to respond properly and effectively to many of the problems Culpepper and many others who offered me the kind of in the world requires a change of perception on the part of foundation I needed to be able to pursue further academic all sides involved, including Western religious and political work. leaders. It requires a new mindset, a new kind of attitude As a Baptist school, it instilled in me curiosity and love towards the other, and this is something that takes time to for Baptist history, which certainly contributed to the work I happen. The opportunity to teach at PTS offers me a unique did in the past decade within Baptist institutions both in Brazil platform to contribute to this end. and abroad. At PTS I am able to educate future church leaders, Finally, the faculty and staff at McAfee offered me the academia and larger society, many of which will be in position kind of support I needed to have a balanced and healthy to make a much bigger impact than I would ever be able to spirituality, which still informs my work and life on different make on my own. These are students from all over the world, levels. McAfee became my first home in the US, and it and from all denominational backgrounds. provided a family to me in this country. It is no surprise that On top of that, my vocation also includes researching World even when I was living and working in Brazil, I always found Christianity. It is a new field with so much to be unearthed. I a way to come back and visit this school. As the literally first am particularly concerned about more nuanced approaches student to graduate from McAfee, I know that, even if due to a to World Christianity, which avoid cheap generalizations in mere coincidence, I will always be part of its history. regard to the southward shift in the epicenter of Christianity,
Photos courtesy of Raimundo Barreto
“You can’t divorce religious belief and public service. I’ve never detected any conflict between God’s will and my political duty. If you violate one, you violate the other.” President Jimmy Carter, Mercer trustee
Photo courtesy of Dave Garber
Karen Zimmerman, ‘15
A House of Hope by Rachel Freeny
Whether she’s greeting new students at chapel, spending time with international families at her church or cooking a meal for friends, Karen Zimmerman has a way of making people feel welcome and loved.
“I love making people feel welcome and having people into my home,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman’s gift for hospitality made her a natural fit when an opportunity arose to serve as Hospitality Manager for the Wieuca Road Baptist Church’s Claire Gibbs Friendship Home. The newly christened home serves as a place of refuge and rest for out-of-town families who come to an Atlanta hospital to receive treatment. “The families are staying here because something tragic has happened to one of their family members,” Zimmerman said. “This is, in my mind and I think in Wieuca’s mind too, designed to be a safe place for them to rest and to heal, to experience the trauma and the grief and the fear in such a place that they don’t have to worry about paying bills and taking care of regular life.” The home is named after Claire Gibbs, the child whose family is the inspiration for the home. When faced with a complicated pregnancy several years ago, the Gibbs family went to North
Carolina for treatment. They needed a place to stay for several months and were directed to a church with a home for families like theirs to stay in. “It was a great blessing and ministry towards them,” Zimmerman said. After Claire’s birth, the Gibbs returned to Wieuca, where church members were trying to decide how to use the house that sits on the same lot. Their story hit home with the congregation and the Friendship House ministry was born. Zimmerman is no stranger to caring for people during times of tragedy. Two years ago she gave up a summer camp job to stay in her hometown and take care of a family in the midst of their medical crisis. “They had two kids, and it was just more stress than they could handle, so I ended up being their in home help,” Zimmerman said. “I came every day and cleaned and cooked and took care of the kids.”
Similarly, last year Zimmerman spent a month caring for a family from her church whose daughter was in an accident that left her with third degree burns on much of her body. “This is just the kind of thing that I find myself doing over and over again so it’s nice to be in a place where I can do that as an official ministry position,” Zimmerman said. As a third year student in the Nonprofit Dual Degree program, Zimmerman said her time at McAfee has been instrumental in preparing her for ministry to people in their hour of need. “McAfee has given me a foundational knowledge of my own faith and caused me to really analyze things and question things in a way that I never would have even considered doing before I came,” she said. “I can think theologically and critically about issues of faith, and I think that goes hand in hand with the practical stuff that we learn at McAfee.” Her pastoral care classes have been particularly important in shaping her for her current ministry. “I’m more aware of the impact of everything that I do,” she said. “I’m more aware of the impact of the words I say to people when they’re grieving, more aware of the impact of my presence and my availability to the people that I’m ministering to.” The Friendship Home’s door will be a revolving one, with numerous families coming and going, each with a different story but a similar need: hope. Zimmerman stands at the door, ready to be a minister of hope. “We’re called to care for people in their moments of greatest need,” Zimmerman said. “[This house] is an opportunity to be a blessing to people, and I think that God is pleased by our efforts to build community and to support people during times of tragic events.” The Friendship Home can house up to two families at a time. With two full apartments and a large communal kitchen, the house has everything the families might need. Preference is given to families living 35 miles or more outside Atlanta. Families can stay in the house for as long as four weeks. Its location is convenient for area hospitals, including Northside Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, Piedmont Hospital and Shepherd Center. Staying out the house is affordable, with a suggested donation of $100 per week. If you or someone you know is interested in staying at the Claire Gibbs Friendship home, visit www.wieuca.org/ourcommunity/friendship-home for more information.
In May, 15 theology students and two professors took a trip to India, visiting multiple religious sites over two and a half weeks. The visits included various Hindu and Buddhist temples, a Muslim shrine and Christian churches. The leader of the trip, Dr. Rob Nash, and a student participant, Bryan Kidd, reflect on their experience. Kidd: We experienced the unfamiliar. This was different from any experience I’ve had; I didn’t even have anything to compare it to. Stepping into the first temple in Hyderabad, it was unfamiliar, uncomfortable—just different. I became surprised at how quickly those temple experiences became familiar and not as challenging. Even though they were still kind of edgy, I didn’t put up a wall every time I went in and was asked to take my shoes off or be faced with different images or rituals. I was okay entering into those spaces and becoming a part of it, not just a viewer. Nash: It’s interesting to me that you identify how it became familiar quickly. As I’ve gone to temples in India and in America, I forget how strange the experience is for people. What was the strangest experience for you? K: The Kali temple in Kolkata...the amount of chaos, the money being exchanged outside, the vendors, the [goat] sacrifice with the blood scattered on the stones, and the fight that we witnessed…seeing all of that and not being able to define what was going on because it wasn’t my context was strange. I’ve tried to think back about that experience, but it’s hard because it’s still uneasy to process. N: I have to confess, that was even challenging for me. I led us in, and as we were pushing up toward the place where Kali [the deity] resides, I thought we might need
Mission Immersion in India Photos courtesy of Dr. David Garber
to back out because I was unsure of how safe we were, but then you’re already halfway in so what are you going to do? You come out on the other side. K: I’m glad that you didn’t make that choice. I think because it was so out of my comfort zone and I survived, I can go back and be alright. After those experiences, I still have a lot of the same beliefs. It didn’t automatically change me or cause me to make a different decision. I can experience those things and be okay with who I am, but still learn. N: That’s one hope for the trip, that you become a guide across religions and cultures for the church. In a day in which we have a shrinking globe we really need to model that kind of comfort level. Did you sense anything familiar becoming unfamiliar to you? K: I grew up in a Southern Christian culture where we think we’ve got it all figured out, we know what is holy, what is God, what is sacred. But going into these experiences that were so unfamiliar to me and experiencing something that is holy kind of breaks apart my definitions of what is holy or divine or sacred. I’m even struggling with that now; not trying to put the pieces back together, but being okay with the pieces where they are. N: I’m always reminded of that human hunger for the divine. In a sense, it complicates my Christianity in that people who grow up in another tradition are going to find meaning and purpose out of the tradition that shapes their life. Like you mentioned—growing up, that’s all you know, and growing up, that’s all they know—so suddenly Christianity becomes for me something a little more unfamiliar that it was before. You know, in a secularized society like we live in, we sometimes neglect or forget the depth of that hunger for the divine. In our culture, you can get away with
not even thinking about God for long periods of time. Then you go into a context like India, where the sacred sort of infuses life in many ways with the festivals and temples and the attention to the holy. It reminds me of the depth of that hunger and our need as ministers to pay attention to it. Were there any people who served as good teachers for you? K: Another student on the trip, Alyssa Aldape, was generous in recognizing my ignorance within that culture and being willing to walk me through my silly questions. Her knowledge of the culture and practical wisdom were invaluable to me. N: We learn in community. That kind of intense communal learning experience can’t be recreated without going together and experiencing together. You learn about being human. You learn about each other and you learn from each other in ways you wouldn’t otherwise.
“Going into these experiences that were so unfamiliar to me and experiencing something that is holy kind of breaks apart my definitions of what is holy or divine or sacred.” -Bryan Kidd
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by J. Barrett Owen
A quiet strength that’s building at McAfee is our attention to interfaith studies. In a recent interview with the Associated Baptist Press, Rob Nash said, “By examining and entering into the worlds of other faiths, Christians can gain a fuller understanding of how different cultures grasp and experience the divine. That process does not compromise one’s beliefs in Christ. You don’t have to accept everything you hear and see, but we serve a big God and we can’t put that God simply into the box of Christianity and say Christianity exhausts God.” This posture has led McAfee to a rather impressive engagement of interfaith activities. Here are a few snapshots of what we mean:
Student Engagement Mercer On Mission
McAfee partnered with Mercer On Mission and took a team of students and professors to both Israel and Palestine in June 2012.
McAfee has participated each summer in a joint-seminary effort called the Middle East Travel Seminar that ended this summer. For three weeks, students traveled to Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Israel and Greece in order to learn more about the ancient and contemporary history of the Middle East and its people.
Summer 2014, thirteen students and two professors travelled to India for a mission immersion experience.
Curriculum Engagement International Exchange Program
Mercer’s Pharmacy and Theology schools are in conversation with Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India, about establishing an exchange program.
Jewish Rabbis Alvin Sugarman and Scott Colbert have taught courses on Judaism and God of the Covenant at McAfee. Rabbi Sugarman delivered the opening chapel sermon in the Spring 2012.
Contextual Ministry for Global Christianity
One of our seven MDiv track options is in Global Christianity. Students in this area of study partner with CBF’s Student.GO for global research and service opportunities. Two students are serving in Bali, Indonesia, this semester.
Community Engagement Interfaith Theology Conference
This November 16 McAfee is hosting what we hope will be the first annual Interfaith Theology Conference in conjunction with the American Jewish Committee Atlanta and the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta. The theme of the conference this year is “Prayer in the Abrahamic Faiths.” In order to insure a balance of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim participants the conference is by invitation only.
William L. Self Preaching Lectures
In 2008 Jewish New Testament scholar Amy-Jill Levine delivered the William L. Self Preaching Lectures, discussing the Jewish nature of Jesus.
National Torture Conference
In 2008, David Gushee helped McAfee and Mercer host a national interfaith conference on torture.
Campus Engagement Prayer Garden
Construction on an Interfaith Prayer Garden & Labyrinth will on Mercer‘s Atlanta campus will start this fall, with a dedication service planned for May 2015. This project is the culmination of the diligent work of the CBF-GA– BaptistMuslim Task Force.
Faculty Engagement Dave Garber is currently participating in a 14-month Christian Leadership Initiative sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute and the American Jewish Committee. Each cohort meets for ten days in Jerusalem two consecutive summers. Dean Culpepper, Rob Nash, and David Gushee have also participated in earlier cohorts of the Christian Leadership Initiative. Dean Culpepper is a member of the project team for SHI’s New Paths curriculum, “Images of Israel.” This six-unit course introduces American Christians to Israel. Rob Nash participated in an academic peace delegation to Iran, spending several days last year meeting with Iranian government, academic and religious leaders, often drawing on his Baptist faith to answer questions about religious liberty. Loyd and Libby Allen connected Mercer with the Atlantic Institute and traveled to Turkey this past summer to learn about Muslim heritage and culture. Last year Dr. Emmanuel McCall received the John Houseton Allen Award given by Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting. This award recognizes “outstanding achievement and meritorious service by an individual or an organization that brings people together across religious, ethnic, and social backgrounds to make our world a better place.”
Clearly, McAfee is becoming a place for intensive, experiential engagement with our Christian faith in the larger context of other faith traditions. It is an integral part of our DNA. The more we collaborate and share from our faith perspective, the more we can learn about what John Claypool called the “Divine mystery we know as God.” Photos courtesy of David Garber
Kali Freels, ‘16
Beautiful Creations: a message of restoration for victims of human trafficking by Rachel Freeny
Go get them. Kali Freels had paused briefly from reading to look out a window when she heard the Lord calling her into ministry during her freshman year of college. These three little words were an invitation to a much bigger calling that would eventually lead her to Nepal this summer to work with victims of human trafficking. Her interest in human trafficking was sparked by a documentary she saw her first semester of undergrad. “I remember being so angry while I watched this documentary at how someone could think that they could do that to another human being and it be okay,” Freels said. Although she felt called specifically to South Asia to work with trafficked woman, Freels says she knew trafficking was not just an international issue but was happening right here in the United States. Before she even stepped foot on Mercer’s campus, Freels
began volunteering with Out of Darkness, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that rescues and rehabilitates victims of trafficking and those seeking to leave the commercial sex industry. “One of the reasons that I came to McAfee was because this organization is here,” Freels said. Her volunteer work with Out of Darkness was perfect preparation for the work she did this summer in Nepal with New Creation. Located in Kathmandu, New Creation is a beauty training school for women rescued from human trafficking. Graduates of the six month program become licensed beauticians. This summer New Creation began the process of opening a full service salon that would both support the ministry of the school and employ its graduates. Freels was tasked with helping them figure out exactly how to do this. “Opening a business from scratch is hard especially if you don’t have any background in business,” Freels said. “I got to be part of the hiring process, drafted contracts, managed finance...all of this is stuff that I have no experience in.”
or come from unspeakable places,” Freels said. “That gives the women hope because even though a lot of times it is not their fault that they got into that situation, it just makes [them] feel so dirty, so undeserving and so shame ridden.” Freels said her time in Atlanta prepared her to listen to the women’s stories with grace. “I knew going into this that there wasn’t much that any girl could tell me that would surprise me,” she said. “Which is important because a lot of times there’s already a sense of shame, so if you have a [disgusted or shocked] response, you’ve just killed your opportunity to do ministry with the girls, or at least hindered it for quite awhile.” Letting the girls know that redemption and restoration is possible for them is crucial. The Gospel and Jesus, Freels said, show the girls that “they can be so much more than many people in the world say that they can be.” “The potential for that redemption is there and it’s exciting, if they can see God taking really awful things and making them beautiful,” she said. “I just get excited for whenever that clicks for them and they can see it.” As opportunities for transformation arise, Kali Freels will be there to offer words of life to women who are worthy and beautiful creations.
Photos courtesy of Rachel Freeny
Despite having to learn how to start a business herself, Freels says she enjoyed getting to know the women at the school throughout the process. “I learned to go with the flow,” she said. Her favorite part was writing devotional curriculum for an outreach the school does called Beautiful Creation. This one month program trains women who cannot afford the six month program in basic hair, skin and nail care so they can take better care of their families. The weekly classes end with a devotional that relates to the day’s topic. “It was fun to research because you’re sitting there looking at it, thinkingwhat does [nail care] have to do with Jesus?” Freels said. “I had to figure out different passages that would speak to them in their context as well.” For victims of human trafficking, the Gospel offers a source of hope and redemption. “There is hope that they are not their circumstances. Jesus loved the woman at the well. He loved the tax collectors. He loved all these people who had done unspeakable things
Courtney Huggins, ‘15
Seeds of Hope:
fighting malaria one plant at a time by Rachel Freeny
Courtney Huggins will never reap the harvest of the seeds she planted this summer through her ministry in Thailand… literally. Huggins spent the summer on a farm in Chiang Mai cultivating Artemisia Annua Anamed A-3, a hybrid strain of the Artemisia plant which is known for its medicinal qualities. Artemisia is most commonly used to treat malaria, making it a valuable resource for malaria affected countries around the world. “There’s been an epidemic of malaria in the region that I worked in,” Huggins said. “[The farmers] want to establish
[Artemisia] for the sole basis of helping people with malaria that are either in the region or kind of on the outskirts.” Because Artemisia is not native to the region, Huggins was part of the initial process of introducing and establishing the plant on the farm. “They’ve been having trouble getting it established in that region because it’s so humid,” she said. “Part of the problem is that their soil consists of a lot of clay, so there’s not a lot of good drainage, and this plant needs good drainage.” Huggins’ background in biology was crucial as she experimented with different methods of growing the plant, a slow and sometimes frustrating process. “I [grew] it through seed germination in petri dishes in a germination chamber,” she said. “I also tried planting directly in the soil outside and inside the germination chamber. Stuff wasn’t really going that well. It wasn’t really growing the way that I expected.” Her breakthrough moment came when a friend showed her a video of farmers in Africa demonstrating their method for growing Artemisia. She modified the method and saw a significant increase in growth. “I was so excited,” Huggins said. Unfortunately her excitement was short-lived. Monsoon season, an annual period of heavy and persistent rain, arrived and most of the growth died. “That was sad, but at least I
Photos courtesy of Courtney Huggins
was able to pass on the information that I discovered to the intern that’s going to be there for another year,” Huggins said. “He’s going to try to plant it in a different season and see if it takes off from there.” Huggins work, while tedious and without final results, is important progress to effectively introducing the potentially life-saving medicinal plant to the region. The summer was a reminder that not all mission endeavors look the same. “For me this was a whole different kind [of trip] because every mission trip I’ve been on I’ve been really busy,” she said. “But it’s not always like that. It can be really busy, or it can be very slow and lonely.” Missions, Huggins said, looks different for everyone depending on the gifts and passions that God has given you. For her, ministry looks like working with plants and people. “I’ve always been fascinated by natural remedies and natural cures,” she said. She hopes to one day become a Master Herbalist, an expert in natural
remedies and herbal medicines. Her vision extends beyond the greenhouse and into villages around the world. “My hope is to [one day] start an organization that does short term work internationally, holding seminars where people of a village can come together and learn about [natural medicines] so they can go out into their villages [and share],” Huggins said. Huggins believes empowering villagers to share with their communities is much more effective than an outsider attempting to introduce new farming methods and discoveries. Huggins’ time in Thailand taught her more than just farming methods. She also learned about community. “[In America] we’re so consumed with busyness, schedules, times, dates and deadlines. Over there, their time is more about relationship building and it’s more fluid. Schedules can be pushed back.” The importance of relationships bonded the farm workers together. “There were two organizations on the farm, Echo Asia and Upland Holistic Development Project. They helped each other out,” Huggins said. “We were really like family.” Her summer may not have been what she was used to or what she expected, but Huggins learned something that goes beyond borders. “Every experience is sacred no matter what pace. No matter where it is,” she said. “No matter what you’re doing, what you do matters.”
School of Theology Including specializations in Preaching & Christian Spirituality
theology.mercer.edu email@example.com 678-547-6474
Chip Reeves (MDiv) began working as the Chaplain Intern at University Hospital in Augusta, Ga, on September 28.
Muenster, Germany. He is working on the next editions of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament and the United Bible Society’s Greek New Testament.
Dr. Ro Turner Ruffin (MDiv), as of Sept. 8, is the new Atlanta Regional Academic Center Coordinator as well as Adjunct Professor at McAfee.
Jennifer McClung Rygg (MDiv) celebrates the birth of James Thomas Rygg on April 30, 2014.
Rev. Carrie Veal (MDiv) was called to Myers Park Baptist Church Charlotte, NC, as Minister to Children; May 2014
Rev. Michael Duncan (MDiv) began as Senior Pastor of Drexel First Baptist Church in Drexel, NC, on August 1, 2014.
Joe LaGuardia (MDiv & DMin ’10) was named the Inter-faith Congregational Liaison for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia’s Baptist-Muslim task force.
Russell D. Bone (MDiv) and his family have just moved to Blenheim, New Zealand, where Russell is a Chaplain in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Joseph E. Jones (MDiv) got married on June 5, 2014, and relocated to Richmond, Va.
Courtney Montgomery Chandler (MDiv) is Senior Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Sterling, Illinois and celebrates the birth of a baby girl, Liliann Paige Chander, on June 15, 2014. Liliann has two big brothers: Collin and Liam. Ron Handlon (MDiv and DMin ’13) transitioned from pastor of Buckhead Baptist to pastor of First Baptist Cocoa.
Dr. Greg Paulson (MDiv) just began a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in
William Givens (MDiv) was called as Senior Pastor of Buckhead Baptist Church. Jeramy Smith (MDiv) just accepted the position of 4-H Extension Agent for the University of Florida.
Diana Farrell White (MDiv) and her husband Brian welcomed their second child, Nadia Luna White, into the world July 8, 2014. The Whites live in Madison, AL, where Diana serves as Youth Minister at First Baptist Church of Madison.
Jane Hull (MDiv) is pastor at Union Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Watkinsville, GA.
Aaron Brown (MDiv) and wife Devora became parents to a beautiful and healthy baby boy, Aaron T. Brown, Jr. on September 2, 2014. To God Be the Glory! Allison Hicks Anderson (MDiv) is now serving as the Supportive Care/Palliative Care Chaplain for West Virginia University Healthcare in Morgantown, WV. Allison and her husband, Adam, are expecting their first child at the end of December. Rev. Kate Perry (MDiv) recently began working as a Staff Chaplain with Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, NC. Cody J. Sanders (MDiv/MS) was awarded a dissertation fellowship from the Louisville Institute, funding the final year of writing for his dissertation titled, “Revisioning the Care of Souls: The Praxis of Pastoral Care in the Context of LGBTQ Suicide” for the PhD in pastoral theology and pastoral counseling at Brite Divinity School.
Lanta Cooper (MDiv/MS) and Matthew Carroll (MDiv ‘12) were married on August 23, 2014. The Carroll’s now reside in Decatur, GA. Emily Holladay (MDiv) began her service as Associate Pastor for Children and Families at Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, on Sept. 22. Ginny Richardson (MDiv) was ordained to ministry by Second Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, on May 24, 2014. She recently completed her first year at Vienna Baptist Church in Vienna, Virginia, as their Pastor for Youth and Children. Jessica Tidwell (MDiv) happily became engaged to the brilliant and dashing Evan Weinzierl on April 21 when he proposed to her, and Evan accepted Jessica’s proposal on April 23!
Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber (MDiv) celebrates the publication of her fifth book, Tearing Open the Heavens: Select Sermons from Year B.
Leigh Halverson (MDiv) is now serving as Minister to Children at First Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL.
Andy Jones (MDiv) has changed positions at his current church. He is now the Minister of Missional Outreach at First Baptist Church of Augusta.
Rev. Libby M. Grammer (MDiv) is in her last year of the MA at the University of Virginia studying Theology, Ethics, & Culture with a focus in Christian Feminist Social Ethics.
Rev. Eric Cain (MDiv) was appointed to the National Council of Churches Convening Table for Christian Education, Ecumenical Faith Formation, & Leadership Development by one of the member communions, the Alliance of Baptists. He also continues to serve as a representative with New Fire, a young adult ecumenical movement focused on renewal of the Church and shaping young leaders. If anyone is interested in getting involved with ecumenical young adult initiatives, like New Fire, feel free to contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lesley-Ann Hix (MDiv) is spending her first year out of seminary as a ministry intern in the intentional community of QC Family Tree in Charlotte, NC. Rachel Sherron (MDiv) has been called as the new Minister of Children and Families at First Baptist Church, Clinton, TN. Megan Turner (MDiv) was ordained on March 9, 2014 by Johns Creek Baptist Church Alpharetta, GA. She started working June 1 at First Baptist Church Huntsville, AL, as Ministry Resident to Students. Amanda Whipple (MDiv) is set to get married on November 15, 2014.