Disciples Divinity House

of the University of Chicago

We extend sympathy to Edward H. Kolbe (1956) on the death of Mary Ruth Kolbe, his beloved wife of 55 years. She died on March 27, 2017 in Arlington, Texas under hospice care. She was 79. Mary Ruth was born Dec. 24, 1937, in Seymour, Indiana. She received a Bachelor's degree in nursing from Indiana University, and later on received a Master's degree in nursing from the University of Nebraska. She taught nursing on the community college and university level in Indianapolis, Indiana; Warrensburg, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; Corvallis, Oregon; and retired from Tarrant County College in 2002. She also worked as a director of nurses in nursing homes in Indiana and Washington. An active member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) her entire life, most recently, she was a member of First Christian Church in Arlington, Texas. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Edward H. Kolbe; daughter, Ruth Cooper (Brian), many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family, and friends. More here

Garry Sparks (2001) edited and translated his first book, The Americas’ First Theologies: Early Sources of Post-Contact Indigenous Religion, published by Oxford University Press. The Theologia Indorum by Dominican friar Domingo de Vico was the first Christian theology written in the Americas. Made available in English translation for the first time, it presents a selection of exemplary sections from the Theologia Indorum that illustrate Friar Vico's doctrine of god, cosmogony, moral anthropology, understanding of natural law and biblical history, and constructive engagement with pre-Hispanic Maya religion. This book also includes translations of two other pastoral texts (parts of a songbook and a catechism) and eight early documents by K'iche' and Kaqchikel Maya authors who engaged the Theologia Indorum.

Marjorie M. Thomas, widow of Robert A. Thomas (1941), died May 5 in Seattle, Washington. She was 95. Born Marjorie Bodine in Humansville, Missouri, she was a high school math teacher, pianist, member of the Christian Women’s Fellowship for over 40 years, and a stained glass artist—her pieces have been presented to the Pope and to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. She graduated from Drury College in 1941 and married Robert A. Thomas on September 7, 1941, the first president of the Division of Overseas Ministries when it came into being after restructure. She is survived by her loving partner, Lynn Huff, daughters Judy Christianson (Wes) and Karen Foley (Michael), daughter-in-law Kathy Thomas, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. James Stockdale will lead a memorial service on June 24 at University Christian Church in Seattle, WA. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Disciples Divinity House where they will be added to the Robert A. and Marjorie M. Thomas Fund. More here.

Kristel Clayville (2001) was ordained to ministry at Bridgeport Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Frankfort, Kentucky on Saturday, May 20. Cynthia Lindner (1978) preached. Mandy Burton, Dean Kris Culp (1982), and Allison Lundblad (2012) participated in the service. Greta and Ryan Gilbert (2004) were also there to join the celebration. Rev. Keith McAliley, senior minister of Bridgeport Christian Church, composed a song especially for the occasion, which he and three additional vocalists performed. Ms. Clayville, who is a professor of religion, has completed an MA degree as well as an extended CPE residency. She anticipates receiving her PhD in Religious Ethics this summer.

Joan Bell-Haynes (1995) was installed as Executive Regional Minister of the Central Rocky Mountain Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on April 23 at First Christian Church, Loveland, Colorado. 

Raymond Williams (1960) was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College on March 30 in the annual convocation in King Chapel to commemorate the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Judith Guy, Disciples Divinity House Scholar, and candidate for ordination in the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin, writes about the universal church and what "church" means to her. Her reflections have been published on the CCIW website

Brandon Cline (1999) was ordained on March 28 during the chapel service of Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, where he is the Senior Major Gifts Officer.

On Sunday, March 26, Danielle Cox (2012) was installed as Senior Minister of First Christian Church, Texas City, Texas. She had previously been serving as Transitional Minister.

With sadness and gratitude for her life, we remember Deirdre Louise Jackson Jones (2007). She died March 23 in Chicago. She was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 27, 1970, to Beverly Lowery (Webster) and Bernard Jackson. As she would later narrate in story-telling events, she battled and triumphed over cancer as a teenager. She went on to graduate from Iowa State University (Transportation Logistics) in 1994. She made her home in Chicago, marrying Lewis Jones in 2003. They have three young sons, Lawrence, Lance, and Logan, who was born this summer. Deirdre and Lewis were founding members of the Family of Hope Christian Church in Blue Island; she was called to ministry then. She was a benefits administrator for Aon Consulting before beginning MDiv studies in 2007 as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar. She later transferred to Chicago Theological Seminary, where she was a student at the time of her death. In addition to her husband and their sons, she is survived by her mother, Beverly Webster (Fred); father, Bernard Jackson (Sheila); and three siblings, Kendal Jackson, Aldan Jackson, and Tonya Duncan. A funeral took place in Des Moines, Iowa on April 1. A memorial service was held in Chicago on April 22 at Park Manor Christian Church.