News and Events
A three-part forum during the 2008-09 academic year will bring together Disciples leaders, especially young adult and emerging leaders, to discuss "the arts of leading across diversity." The series is planned and hosted by Ayanna Johnson, DDH's Minister-in-Residence, the current First Vice Moderator of the Christian Church in the U.S. and Canada, and a new church pastor. Sandhya Jha was the first guest on November 17. She has recently completed Room at the Table: Struggle for Unity and Equality in Disciples History (Chalice Press, forthcoming), which surveys the history of Disciples of nonwhite ethnic backgrounds in the United States. Ms. Jha is the Minister of the First Christian Church of Oakland, California, and the Minister of Transformation for the Northern California-Nevada region. The next session in the series is scheduled for Monday, February 9.
As of this fall, the University of Chicago’s $55 million graduate aid initiative includes entering Ph.D. students in the Divinity School. Future Disciples House Ph.D. students will be included in this initiative. The initiative provides entering Ph.D. students with a five-year financial aid package of full tuition, a $20,000 stipend, health benefits, plus funding for two summers of research. “This is good news for the Disciples Divinity House,” Dean Kris Culp commented. “It will extend generous support to new Ph.D. students, while allowing limited House resources to be focused on M.Div. students, on a select number of A.M. students, and on advanced Ph.D. students who are completing their dissertations." Previously, DDH awarded its entering Ph.D. Scholars 60% tuition or $21,300 at 2008-09 rates, a modest stipend ($3,300), and housing assistance. (The Divinity School provided the remaining 40% of tuition and sometimes an additional stipend.) “We are committed to continuing a program of shared intellectual, theological, and vocational inquiry that includes all Disciples Scholars—M.Div., A.M., and Ph.D. students,” Culp added. The Scholarship Committee of the Board of Trustees has been studying the implications of the funding initiative for the DDH’s entire scholarship program.
Alumna April Lewton, current Ph.D. student Garry Sparks, and Disciples colleague Jessica Vazquez Torres worked to document the concerns of immigrants by helping to conduct exit polls in the November election. Their efforts were reported by DisciplesWorld magazine. Read the story.
The 114th academic year of the Disciples Divinity House opened on September 29. Teresa Hord Owens, alumna and Dean of Students of the University of Chicago Divinity School, preached the opening chapel service. Taking Psalm 1.1-3 as her text, she reflected on the beginning of her own studies as a House Scholar and the many streams that nourish study. This fall, three new Disciples Divinity House Scholars have joined nineteen returning Scholars. They are: Anna Liv Gibbons, a 2008 Religious Studies graduate of Grinnell College who is a member of First Christian Church, Eugene, Oregon; Katherine Raley, a 2007 cum laude graduate of Furman University and member of First Christian Church, Columbia, South Carolina; and Jonathan Wallace, a 2008 graduate of the University of Memphis and member of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, where he also served as a youth minister.
Dan B. Genung (1938), recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1993 for his remarkable ministry, died August 12 at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California. He was 93. In 1942, after Mr. Genung received his A.M. and B.D. degrees from the University of Chicago as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar, newlyweds Dan and Frances Genung were called by the Christian Missionary Society of the Disciples of Christ to South Central Los Angeles. They established a new church and community center in facilities vacated when its previous congregants, citizens of Japanese descent, were confined in WWII detention camps. Against a backdrop of racial intolerance and high tension, the Genungs created the racially integrated All Peoples Christian Church and the All Peoples Community Center, whose multi-ethnic community and service in the inner city continue to this day. Dan Genung’s fifty year ministry later included service in three other congregations. Also distinguished by his journalistic skill, he was the author of A Street Called Love, about his experience at All Peoples, and of Death in His Saddlebags, a history of Arizona territory from 1863-1916, based on his grandfather’s memoirs. He is survived by Francis, and by their four children. A memorial service is planned at Pilgrim Place on September 20. For his Distinguished Alumnus address, click here.
The engineering firm of Jacobs Carter Burgess is conducting a study of the DDH building this summer. Working in consultation with long-time DDH architect Paul Steinbrecher, they are assessing what is needed to air condition the kitchen and dining areas, the environmental and energy effects of the building, and what is needed to prepare for accessibility. Initial observations suggest that the 1928 building is already more energy efficient than might be supposed. However, its sturdy construction poses challenges for air-conditioning and accessibility needs.
Alumnus Harry B. Partin (1947) died June 10 in Durham, North Carolina. He was 82. Mr. Partin was a professor of the History of Religions at Duke University for thirty years in the Department of Religion and also in the Graduate Program in Religion. Born in Nicholasville, Kentucky, he graduated from Transylvania University. As a Disciples Divinity House Scholar, and earned his B.D., A.M., and Ph.D. degrees at the Divinity School. Before he joined the Duke faculty in 1964, he served on the staff of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, where he conducted a five-year study of the relations between Christians and adherents of other major religions, principally Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Trained particularly in Islamic history and religion, his broader interests included the history and phenomenology of religion. Later in his career, he developed an interest in the study of “new religions” and, in 1988, co-authored Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America with Robert Ellwood, which became a widely used college text. Mr. Partin was a Danforth Fellow and a member of the Committee on History of Religions of the American Council of Learned Societies. He was a longtime member of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham. He is survived by his wife of more than fifty years, Marilyn Partin, and their three children.
Three individuals have been selected as Disciples Divinity House Scholars beginning in fall 2008. They are Anna Liv Gibbons, a 2008 Religious Studies graduate at Grinnell College who is a member of First Christian Church, Eugene, Oregon; Katherine Raley, a 2007 cum laude graduate of Furman University and member of First Christian Church, Columbia, South Carolina; and Jonathan Wallace, a 2008 graduate of the University of Memphis, where he majored in African and African-American Studies, and a member of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. They were selected from a highly competitive pool. Each has been awarded full M.Div. tuition, a $3,000 stipend, and free housing or a housing subsidy. As Disciples Divinity House Scholars they will participate in a teaching/learning ethos that undergirds their preparation for ministry and fosters excellence in leadership and scholarship. They will join nineteen returning Disciples Divinity House Scholars who are earning M.Div., A.M., or Ph.D. degrees at the world-renowned University of Chicago Divinity School.
Ana K. Gobledale spoke at the Annual Convocation of the Disciples Divinity House on Thursday, June 12. An alumna and author, she has recently returned from Mulgrave, Australia, where she was Professor of Practical Ministry at the Churches of Christ Theological College. The convocation marked the close of the 113th academic year and celebrated graduating Disciples Divinity House Scholars. The tradition began in 1933.
An Associated Press story about young activists, religion, and politics features House Scholar Beau Underwood. In it, reporter Lillian Cunningham writes, "Beau Underwood is putting his faith in politics. He's a 22-year-old at the University of Chicago Divinity School, an active member of the Disciples of Christ and -- in his spare time -- he's showing candidates that the path to political righteousness doesn't always veer right...." Click here to read the article