News from Alumni/ae and Friends
News items are listed in roughly reverse chronological order. (The date in parentheses represents the year of entrance as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar.) Please click here to share your news. We want to keep up with the significant life events and accomplishments of alumni/ae, trustees, and former residents.
Congratulations to Sarah and Ian Gerdon (former resident) and their son Liam who welcomed Cassian James Deogratias Gerdon to the world on Thursday, May 9, weighing 7 lbs., 9 oz. The family is doing well.
Congratulations to Kerry Waller (2000) and Ben Dueholm and their son Soren who welcomed Elijah Alexander to the world on May 5.
Congratulations to Mallory and Julian DeShazier (Trustee) on the birth of their daughter, Dania Elle, born on May 4.
Congratulations to House Scholar Brandon Cline, who has been selected as a Marty Center Junior Fellow for the 2013-14 academic year. Brandon is a PhD candidate in Early Christian Literature; his dissertation is entitled "Petition and Propaganda in Ancient Rome: Justin's Apologies in their Roman Imperial Context."
David Vargas (1971; Trustee) was elected as Division of Overseas Ministries (DOM) President Emeritus at DOM's Board meeting held April 17-18. He served as DOM President from 2003-2010 when he retired. Since his retirement, he has occasionally served DOM and Global Ministries as a representative at their request.
Pumsup Shim (current resident) will be ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at University Church in Chicago on June 2, 2013, at 2:30 pm. He is currently a student at Chicago Theological Seminary and anticipates receiving his STM degree this spring.
Jennifer G. Jesse (1985) is the author of William Blake's Religious Vision: There's a Methodism in His Madness, published in February 2013 by Lexington Books. She "concludes that by analyzing the dramatic character of Blake's works theologically through this wide-angled, audience-oriented approach, we see him orchestrating a grand rapprochement of the extreme theologies of his day into a unified vision that integrates faith and reason."
On March 19, Spencer Dew (1998) was interviewed by Melissa Block on NPR's All Things Considered about the Moorish Science Temple of America. He has received archival research grants for a forthcoming book on the group, which was founded by Noble Drew Ali in the 1920s. Listen to the interview here. The story was also picked up by CBS This Morning on March 25. Read his earlier piece for Sightings, "Sovereign Citizenship, Religion, and Law: The Case of Moorish Science" (29 July 2010), here.
Bill Wassner (1981) is now Senior Pastor of Port Orange [Florida] United Church of Christ. His first Sunday was March 6, 2013. He previously served St. Peter's UCC in South Bend, Indiana.
Joe Bessler (former resident) is author of the forthcoming A Scandalous Jesus: How Three Historic Quests Changed Theology for the Better (Polebridge Press). Arguing that the risk of new interpretation contributes to theological renewal, the book explores how these quests opened historic questions about dissent and free public discourse, about human struggle and diversity, and about the power of language to disorient and reorient.
On July 31, Don Pittman (1976) will retire from Phillips Theological Seminary as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean and as the William Tabbernee Professor of the History of Religions. He has served at Phillips since 2000. Previously he taught in Taiwan as a missionary and at Brite Divinity School, where he also served as dean. From 1983-84, he was the acting dean of the Disciples Divinity House.
Erica Brown (1996) will become the Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor at Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois, on April 1.
Emilie M. Townes (former resident) has been named dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School, effective July 1, 2013. A distinguished social ethicist and pioneering womanist theologian who is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman, she will be the school's 16th dean. She is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology and associate dean of academic affairs at Yale Divinity School. Previously, she was the Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary. Read the press release.
Michael Swartzentruber (2007) has been called to Middletown Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky as Youth Minister. He began his ministry in January. Michael and Rebecca, his spouse, also embarked on the adventure of home ownership, buying their first house upon their move to Louisville.
Bill Wright (1995) is the author of "Negative Experience in Calvin's Institutes and Its Systematic Consequences," published in the January 2013 edition of The Journal of Religion. He teaches at Eureka College.
April Lewton (2004; trustee) will be one of the plenary speakers for the 2014 Quadrennial in Atlanta. She will speak on the theme, "I see you with hands of justice." The other speakers are: Sharon E Watkins, Nohemí Pagan, Penny Ziemer, and Cynthia Hale.
Sympathy to Katherine Raley (2008) on the death of her father, Mike Raley, on January 26 in Columbia, South Carolina. Mr. Raley died at home in hospice care after a battle with brain cancer. He was 64. A PhD graduate of the University of Georgia in counseling, he had a 20-year career at the SC Commission on Higher Education, including as the Director of Academic Affairs & Licensing. A memorial service is planned for January 31.
We are saddened by the death of Maxine Mae Gambs McCaw, who was married for over 70 years to John E. McCaw (1939). She died suddenly of pneumonia in the Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines on January 26. She was 93. In addition to her husband, she is survived by four children: Clayle, Milva Lou (Sandison Pearse), Maxhn, and Janine (Mack), and by eight grandchildren and one great grandson. A musical memorial service will be announced at later date.
The following is abridged from the obituary that was published in the Des Moines Register. Born and raised in Des Moines, Maxine began her study of piano at the very young age of five. She began teaching private lessons at the age of 13. In 1937, she enrolled in Drake University as a scholarship student and studied through her sophomore year with Paul Stoye. She was admitted to Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with full scholarship in 1939, where she studied with Harry Kaufman. She then entered Chicago Musical College, now Roosevelt University, where she studied with Rudolph Ganz and Mollie Margolies. She graduated with honors with a Bachelors Degree in Concert Piano in 1942. She also enrolled in classes in the University College and the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. She later studied with Bomar Cramer in Indianapolis and with Hilda Somer in New York City.
She was adjunct professor of piano at Southern Illinois University from 1943-45. She returned to Des Moines with her husband in 1950, continuing private teaching and retired from teaching in 1990. In 1969, she received the Master of Arts degree in piano performance from Drake University studying under Kenneth Drake. In 1979, she attended the International Pedagogy Workshop in Salzburg, Austria led by Clara Rolland. She studied composition with Winifred Glass and Dr. Pyle at Drake University and had Master's Class with Aaron Copeland. With Mabel Niedermayer McCaw she published children's songs. She was a member of the American Federation of Music Clubs, vice president of the board of Des Moines Civic Music, president of Drake Faculty Dames, and president of Fortnightly Music Club. She was also a founding member of the Ray Society of Life Long Learning. She traveled throughout North America, Europe, Russia and China. Memorial contributions may be made to the Christian Church Foundation designated to the recently established John and Maxine McCaw Prophetic Living, Teaching and Preaching Scholarship. The McCaws have also provided for a gift to the Disciples Divinity House.
Garry Sparks (2001) was interviewed on the public radio program Interfaith Voices (Dec. 13) about the Mayan Long Count Calendar and the influence of colonial Christian millennarianism as the root of the 2012 "doomsday" predictions. Listen to his interview here.
Sympathy to Joan Bell-Haynes (1995) on the death of her father, Walter Lee Bell, Sr., on November 29, from lung cancer. A memorial service is planned for December 6 in Macon, Georgia.
Manuel Sánchez (former resident) now serves as Deputy Governor and member of the Governing Board of the Bank of Mexico. Mr. Sanchez was nominated by President Felipe Calderon in April 2009 and his appointment was ratified by the Standing Commission of the Mexican Congress in May of 2009. His term will end at the end of 2016.
Aaron Smith (2007) became Assistant Director of Employer Resources at the Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis in April 2012.
Kerry Waller Dueholm (2000) has concluded six years of ministry at Villa Park Christian Church and has begun studies in pastoral counseling. She and her family have moved to Wauconda, Illinois, where spouse Ben Dueholm is Associate Pastor of Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church. Ben, a former DDH chef, is also a MDiv graduate of the Divinity School.
Hopes and Fears: Everyday Theology for New Parents and Other Tired, Anxious People by Lee Hull Moses (2001; Trustee), senior minister of First Christian Church in Greensboro, NC, and Bromleigh McCleneghan, Associate for Congregational Life, Rockefeller Chapel, was published by the Alban Institute in October. The book, which is about being not-perfect parents in a not-perfect world, is full of life, theology, and humor. Bonnie Miller-McLemore (1978) wrote the forward to the book. See more here.
Congratulations to Irami and Bonnie Osei-Frimpong (2005) on the birth of their daughter Carenen in Chicago on October 26. When she was 12 days old, Carenen attended her first Monday dinner with her mom.
We celebrate with Ed Kolbe (1956) his 52 years of ordained ministry. After having served nine interim (transitional) ministries after "retirement," Ed reports that he has concluded his interim ministry. In May, Ed, Mary Ruth, and their dog, Taco, moved to a senior independent living community in Arlington, Texas.
An article in the fall 2012 issue of Just Women offers a portrait of JoAnne Kagiwada (trustee) entitled The Matriarch of NAPAD. In addition to narrating her founding and continuing role with the North American Pacific Asian Disciples (NAPAD), the article discusses her work on behalf of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II---including her husband David Kagiwada (1951) and his family and members of her own extended family. "Kagiwada organized the lobbying and education work that led to the passage of the Civil Liberties Act in 1988. Congress authorized the distribution of $20,000 in individual payments for survivors of the camps."
Kristel Clayville, a PhD candidate in Religious Ethics, presented “Holmes Rolston: The Integration of Textual Thinking with an Environmental Theory of Responsibility” at the Religion and Ethics Workshop at the Divinity School on October 18.
Cheryl Jackson was installed as the new moderator of the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin at the regional assembly on October 13.
Former trustee Eddie Evans Griffin was one of three inaugural recipients of the Disciple of Merit Awards, presented by the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin at the regional assembly on October 12. The award recognizes outstanding service to the congregation, region, and general church. Read more here about her outstanding service at Park Manor Christian church, as regional moderator, to the Chicago Child Care Society, to DDH, and more. Dorothee Sallee and Dwight Bailey were also honored as award recipients.
Congratulations to Ryan Singleton (2005) and Felipa Reyes, who married on October 12. They met during the 2009 Chicago Marathon and used a running theme in their wedding and reception. More great news: his book, The Children of Enoch, will be published by Westholme Publishing in May 2013. It grew out of his work in Chicago's low-income housing world; for the past two years, he has served as a caseworker at an SRO in the Uptown neighborhood.
Congratulations to Lizy and Santiago Piñón (1998) and their son Gabe on the arrival of three new additions to their family on August 23 in Chicago. In the order of their births, they are: 5:54 Felicita Liz, 5:55 Frida Migdelia, and 5:57 Santiago Francisco. (They are pictured here in mid-October and in that order, l-r.) They were born at 25 weeks and will stay in the NICU at Loyola Hospital until December. Lizy is staying nearby. Santiago continues teaching at TCU; he and Gabe are able to visit mom and baby sisters and brother every couple of weeks.
Congratulations to Michael Kinnamon (1973), who has been named the Divinity School's Alumnus of the Year for 2013. Internationally regarded as an ecumenist, scholar of ecumenism, and church leader, he received his MA and PhD degrees from the Divinity School as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar. From 2008-12, he served as the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. In August, he began a three-year term as the Spehar-Halligan Visiting Professor of Ecumenical Collaboration in Interreligious Dialogue at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry (STM). He will deliver the Divinity School's 2013 Alumnus of the Year address on Thursday, May 2, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. in Swift Lecture Hall with a reception to follow. More here.
Randall Doubet-King (1970) attended Monday dinner on October 7, to have a chance to catch up with classmate Dennis Landon (1970). Landon, who is President of Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM), preached DDH's opening chapel service and led a forum. More here.
In September, Barbara and Marshall Dunn (1965) were in southern Africa for a two week safari in Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and a week in Capetown. They report, "The animals and scenery were spectacular and exciting, with sunsets and night skies unlike any we see here. We saw baby lions nursing, baby elephants crossing water with trunks for snorkels, giraffes gracefully bending to drink, and on and on."
Our condolences to David Hall (1989) upon the death of his father, Gary Hall, in September. A memorial service was held in San Francisco, California, on October 13.