DDH News Archive
Year concludes with June 8 Convocation; Frank Burch Brown to speak
06.04.12 - Alumnus Frank Burch Brown, the Frederick Doyle Kershner Professor of Religion and the Arts at Christian Theological Seminary and the Alexander Campbell Visiting Professor of Religion and the Arts at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, will speak at the 2012 DDH Convocation. He is the author of several works including Inclusive yet Discerning: Navigating The Arts of Worship (2009) and the award-winning Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste: Aesthetics in Religious Life. He is the editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts. Mr. Brown is also a composer with twenty commissioned works to his credit.
The 2012 Convocation will be held June 8 at 6:00 p.m. with a reception following at 7:30 p.m. Convocation is a formal service that marks the end of the academic year and celebrates the achievements of graduating Disciples House Scholars and ecumenical community members. Held in the Chapel of the Holy Grail on the last Friday afternoon of the spring quarter, the service is planned by the graduates. Convocation precedes the University’s Spring Convocation, which takes place in the main quadrangle on Saturday morning.
Gratitude to First Christian Church, Greensboro
05.31.12 - House Scholar Thandiwe Gobledale has concluded a nine-month-long internship with First Christian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. The internship was arranged by the Disciples Divinity House, which included providing a stipend for the internship, but the congregation was essential for the experience. The Disciples Divinity House is grateful for the wise leadership of and generous mentoring by Senior Minister Lee Hull Moses.
"A huge part of learning to be a pastor is having the chance to be one, and that is something that we are given, not something that we can claim for ourselves," Ms. Gobledale wrote to the congregation. "Your willingness to treat me as your pastor, to attend the Sunday School class or Lenten series that I led, to let me preach and listen to my sermons, to invite me into your homes and hospital rooms, to allow me to enter into your lives and the life of the church as a minister – this is what enabled me to learn what it means to be a minister. I think this takes trust and faith: trust that with God's help, we could grow together, and we would get through whatever challenges faced us. These last few months, you have taught me so much about what it means to be a community of faith: learning, growing, discerning, disagreeing, worshiping, and walking together as brothers and sisters in Christ with mutual respect and love."
Ms. Gobledale has returned to Chicago for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Jackson Park Hospital this summer, and for her final year of MDiv studies beginning this fall. She joined the Greensboro congregation during her internship, and hopes to be ordained there. Ms. Hull Moses is also Vice President of the DDH Board of Trustees and a DDH alumna.
DeShazier, Jones, and Steinbrecher begin service as Trustees
05.13.12 -Julian DeShazier, Verity Jones, and Paul Steinbrecher began service as members of the Board of Trustees of the Disciples Divinity House at the April 27-28 meeting. The national board numbers twenty-one plus three ex officio members.
Julian DeShazier is the Senior Minister of University Church in Chicago, where he has served since November 2010. He is a BA graduate of Morehouse College and an MDiv graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School. He previously served as Teen Pastor at Covenant United Church of Christ, and has also worked with the Coca-Cola Leadership Program and Fund for Theological Education. He serves on the boards of the UCC’s Council for Youth and Young Adults (CYAAM) and the United Black Christians (UBC). He is also an award-winning musician and songwriter, known as the rapper J. Kwest of Pure Music. He is married to Mallorie DeShazier.
Verity A. Jones is the Project Director of the New Media Project and a Research Fellow at Union Theological Seminary. She is the former publisher and editor of DisciplesWorld, and the past president of the Associated Church Press. She has also served as the Senior Minister of Central Christian Church in Terre Haute, Indiana, and as Associate Minister of the Colchester [Connecticut] Federated Church. A graduate of Yale College and Yale Divinity School, she is an ordained minister with joint Disciples and UCC standing. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Louisville Institute. Verity, her husband William Wagnon, and their daughter live in Indianapolis.
Paul A. Steinbrecher is a principal with Interactive Design, Inc. (IDEA), a Chicago-based architecture firm, which he joined in 1997. His areas of special expertise include historic preservation, libraries, and cultural and religious institutions, and his work includes the Lincoln Park Zoo, Fourth Presbyterian Church, University of Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and since 1995, the Disciples Divinity House. He has been a visiting lecturer and a docent trainer with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. He is a former Director of the Royal Oak Foundation (the American arm of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and served on the board of the TimeLine Theatre Company. On a pro bono basis he is designing the expansion of the library at a translation institute in Kathmandu, Nepal. He is a BA graduate of Grinnell College and received his M. Arch. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He lives in Evanston and regularly attends Monday dinners and forums.
Laura Jennison Reed to work with development, public relations, and recruitment
05.11.12 - Laura Jennison Reed, a current Disciples Divinity House Scholar who will receive her MDiv degree this June, will serve as Assistant to the Dean of the Disciples Divinity House on a full-time basis for the coming year. She will be ordained in her home congregation, North Hill Christian Church in Spokane, Washington, on August 12. A current member of the Administrative Committee and General Board of the Christian Church, she has given leadership to the local, regional, and general church. She is a 2005 cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where she received the Chapin Prize for exceptional achievement in the study of religion and was a leader in the ecumenical Protestant ministry, and she is former HELM Leadership Fellow.
As Assistant to the Dean, Ms. Reed will provide support and leadership for development, public relations, and recruitment work through the 2013 General Assembly. She will work closely with the Dean, the Development Committee of the Board of Trustees, and with the Alumni/ae Council. The appointment extends and expands work that Laura Jennison Reed and Katherine Raley have shared this past year. Ms. Raley, also a graduating House Scholar, will be ordained June 23 at First Christian Church, Columbia, South Carolina. She has been called to serve as Associate Minister of First Christian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "The Board of Trustees and I are grateful for the continuity and leadership that Laura Jennison Reed will provide," commented Dean Kris Culp. "We are grateful, too, for Laura's and Katherine's skilled and energetic work this past year."
Christian Theology in Practice: A stained-glass window and a scholar's reflections
04.30.12 - A stained-glass window in her childhood congregation, First Christian Church in Bloomington, Indiana, features a magnificent tree; that window is now featured on the cover of a new book by DDH alumna and Vanderbilt Divinity School Professor Bonnie Miller-McLemore. That image helped to nurture her faith and theology. She explains, "In Christian Theology in Practice, I trace my hunger to understand more about how local theologies evolve. In particular, I describe my pursuit of university disciplines that helped me understand and enhance the viability and accessibility of everyday theology. ...The book explores the backbone or skeletal structure behind how I have done theology in other writings and in the teaching of seminary and doctoral students as I've thought about death and dying or women's lives and children or spirituality in the midst of family life. ...On the wall over my desk hangs a reproduction of the window from the church. And it now adorns the book cover of Christian Theology in Practice. In both cases, it reminds me of the inexplicably mundane and wondrously tangible forms of theology as they press upon us in daily life." Christian Theology in Practice was published by Eerdmans in January 2012; it is dedicated in memory of two of Bonnie Miller-McLemore's teachers, John Spencer and Don Browning.
In memoriam: Jack V. Reeve
03.05.12 - Jack V. Reeve, alumnus, former Board president, and Honorary Trustee for Life, died Saturday afternoon, February 25, in Indianapolis. He had suffered a stroke and entered hospice care twelve days before. He was 93. He is survived by three children, Jill (Kirk), Joel, and Jay, and their spouses and families. A service of celebration of Mr. Reeve's life was held at Downey Avenue Christian Church in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 3rd, at 3:00 p.m.
A native of Des Moines, Iowa, and a graduate of Drake University, he was a member of the 1942 entering class of Disciples Divinity House Scholars. In 1945, he graduated from the University of Chicago and that same summer married June Varner. During the next sixty-two years until her death in June 2007, they would share many things: ministry in multiple forms and places, the birth of four children and the tragic loss of one, commitment to family and to church, travel and service, and a love of music.
Stewardship was integral to how Jack and June Reeve understood the Christian faith and how they lived their lives. In 1958 Jack Reeve was called from congregational ministry and extensive work with youth conferences to the national staff as stewardship secretary. He continued to emphasize stewardship when he was called to regional ministry in the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin in 1968 and, beginning in 1978, as Professor of the Practice of Ministry at Lexington Theological Seminary. In 1968 he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Disciples Divinity House. As its president from 1990-92 and as a longtime member of its development committee, Jack Reeve provided both encouragement about and an example of generous giving. (Then, too, he built so many Habitat for Humanity homes in Lexington that the local paper dubbed him Habitat's "energizer bunny.") In 2005, he was elected an Honorary Trustee for Life.
After their children had grown, the Reeves decided to share their accumulated resources in four equal portions, one for each of their children and another to be divided between the Disciples Divinity House and Lexington Theological Seminary. After June's death, Jack realized that he could provide that gift during his lifetime. And so, four years ago he capped a lifelong commitment and a lifetime of generous stewardship with a $125,000 gift to the Disciples Divinity House.
It is impossible to estimate all the ways that Jack Reeve's life and work enriched the Disciples Divinity House, and the wider church and world. We relied on his example, his leadership, and his friendship for decades. We know that his generosity, work, and love will stand beneath us for decades to come, and we are grateful indeed.
Eddie Evans Griffin honored for service to DDH Board
11.08.11 - The Board of Trustees honored Eddie Evans Griffin on October 29. She has served as an officer of the board since 1999 and is the current Vice President. She will conclude her service in December 2011. Board President Chad Martin, friends Dolores Highbaugh and Corene Washington, and Dean Kris Culp paid tribute to her guidance, savvy, and care and to her leadership for several special efforts. Present for the celebration in addition to the members of the Board, were her son Brian Griffin and grandsons. Eddie Griffin is a retired administrator of the Chicago Child Care Society and a former Moderator of the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin. The DDH community looks forward to continuing to enjoy her presence at Monday dinners, programs, and chapel services.
Williamson and Allen to discuss their work on preaching without antiJewish prejudice
11.04.11 - Two noted Disciples authors will discuss their scholarly collaboration and especially their three-volume commentary, "Preaching without Prejudice," on Monday, November 7. Clark M. Williamson is Indiana Professor of Christian Thought Emeritus at Christian Theological Seminary and a trustee of the Disciples Divinity House. A systematic theologian, he concentrates on rethinking Christian theology after the Holocaust. A Guest in the House of Israel: Post-Holocaust Church Theology and Way of Blessing, Way of Life: A Christian Theology are among his acclaimed books. Ronald J. Allen is the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Preaching and New Testament at CTS and the author or coauthor of more than 30 books. From 2000-2004, he directed a study about how people listen to sermons that was funded by the Lilly Endowment. Together, they wrote a three-volume commentary that identifies and proposes remedies for anti-Jewish tendencies in the common lectionary. The volumes are entitled Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews (2004), Preaching the Letters without Dismissing the Law (2006), and Preaching the Old Testament (2007), all published by Westminster John Knox Press. Allen and Williamson have collaborated on five other books.
"Why doesn't this feel empowering?": Vaughan reflects on empowerment in Kenya
10.20.11 - Disciples Divinity House Scholar and third-year ministry student Alexis Vaughan has been involved in numerous campus and community-based initiatives. She is involved in the One Chicago, One Nation program, a joint effort of the Interfaith Youth Core, Inter-City Muslim Action Network, and Chicago Community Trust that focuses on interfaith/intercultural organizing. This past summer she traveled to Kenya to learn about a church-related youth empowerment initiative there. On Monday, October 24, at 7:00 pm, she will reflect on her experiences. Support from the Divinity School's International Ministry Travel Grant and a Hughey-Peery Grant from Higher Education and Leadership Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) made her study possible.
A Plurality of Horizons: Reflections on Reconciliation in Bosnia
10.07.11 - On Monday, October 10, Andrew Packman, Disciples Divinity House Scholar and third-year MDiv student, will reflect on his study in Bosnia this summer. He traveled and spoke extensively with religious leaders about the meaning of reconciliation and possibilities for it in Bosnia. His studies were funded by an International Ministry Travel Grant from the Divinity School and also supported by a Hughey-Peery Grant from HELM. The program, at 7:00 pm Monday, is free and open to the public.
New Disciples Divinity House Scholars announced
9.28.11 - Three individuals have been named entering Disciples Divinity House Scholars for the 2011-12 academic year.
Rachel Graaf Leslie, a member of University Christian Church in Hyattsville, Maryland, who recently served with the US Department of State in Bahrain, enters the AMRS program. A native of Iowa, Rachel earned the BA at Iowa State University, the Master of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and a graduate diploma in Middle East Politics at the American University in Cairo; she is fluent in Arabic. Her next posting will be to the US Consulate General in Jerusalem. She has taken an unpaid leave to pursue further study of religion, particularly Islam.
Mark Lambert, a 2010 graduate of Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, where alumna Jennifer Jesse was his academic adviser, has begun the MA program. He grew up in the independent Christian Church, and he is receiving a partial scholarship. He is interested in medieval Christianity, including religious dimensions of the Crusades and in leprosy as represented religiously and responded to in medieval Christianity and Islam.
Alexandra McCauslin enters the MDiv program. A 2008 cum laude graduate of the honors college at Michigan State, where she majored in Political Theory, she was an Americorps volunteer in central Detroit for two years following graduation. She grew up at Central Woodward Christian Church in the Detroit area. She hopes to return to Detroit to work toward racial reconciliation and with young adults and others who are disaffected by the institutional church.
Ayanna Johnson to preach opening chapel service
9.23.11 - Ayanna Johnson, former First Vice Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and current Director of Community Life at Chicago Theological Seminary, will preach the opening service in the Chapel of the Holy Grail on October 3 at 5:30 pm. Rev. Johnson is an alumna of the Disciples Divinity House and, a graduate of Yale University, and a MDiv/AM in Social Service Administration graduate of the University of Chicago. From 2006-10, she served as DDH's Minister-in-Residence; through that initiative, funded in part by the Oreon E. Scott Foundation, she provided Disciples House Scholars with a look at new church development and with resources in cross-racial leadership and ministry.
Letter from London
8.09.11 - Tod and Ana Gobledale write from Brockley and Lewisham in southeast London, where they serve congregations: "Many shop fronts on Brockley Road near St. Andrew’s United Reformed Church, our church, are tightly closed, their metal fronts lowered. People scurry home from Brockley station, into the safety of their locked homes. Few singers came out last night for choir practice; many were held back by street blockades. Bible Study and Weight Watchers were cancelled this evening. The church sits empty.
"What commenced as a peaceful demonstration against the killing of Mark Duggan by police, caught fire and has spread like wildfire. We watch images of violence, looting and vandalism on our TV and computer screens – from Lewisham to Bristol to Birmingham. We share with others, wondering what has happened, how to respond.
"One place to start our response is with prayer. So we invite you to join us in prayer for our community—Brockley & Lewisham, our city—London, and our country—Great Britain. May our churches and all faith communities across the city be beacons of light in the darkness, and speak words of faith and hope. We share this prayer, slightly altered, from Rev. Pat Took, President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain:
Pray for the peace of the city, may peace be within your homes and security on your streets. Pray for the family and friends of Mark Duggan as they absorb the shock of his violent and premature death – pray that the circumstances of his death may become clear for everyone to see and that those who loved him will have confidence that justice has been done. Pray for everyone who has been traumatised by the events of the weekend – the police officers who have been injured, and their families – those who have lost homes and businesses – those who have lost their sense of living in a friendly and safe place. Pray for our police, that there will be among them exceptional men and women, able to understand the hopes and fears of all the different individuals and groups they deal with, able to uphold the law with wisdom, integrity and discretion, able to step over prejudice, their own and other peoples'. Pray for entrepreneurs and business people with drive and energy to create sustainable, worthwhile jobs for folk living across our country. Pray for mothers and fathers to stand steady and faithful at the heart of their families, and offer the disciplines of love, truth and example. May they model how to seek justice without violence. Pray for the young, that they will listen to the voices calling them to live courageously and freely, and will turn away from those influences calling them to alienation and victimhood. Pray for the future when resources may be scarce, jobs and homes hard to come by. May we be those who demonstrate a genuine concern for our neighbours, the salt that resists the tendency to care only for ourselves, the light that reveals all the many dimensions of well being that do not depend on affluence. Peace be within you. Amen (Source and original version: Baptist Union of Great Britain)."
Blogging from Bosnia
7.20.11 - Disciples House Scholar Andrew Packman is in Bosnia this summer, studying reconciliation. His travel and studies are funded by an International Ministry Studies Grant from the Divinity School and additional funding through HELM. Follow his blog, The Rarer Action, at http://the-rarer-action.blogspot.com/
Bonnie Miller-McLemore honored as Distinguished Alumna
7.11.11 - The Alumni/ae Council honored Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore as the 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award at the DDH Luncheon during the General Assembly of the Christian Church, meeting in Nashville. The luncheon was held July 11 at the Nashville Renaissance Hotel (more information here).
Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore is the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion of Vanderbilt University. Her research in religion, psychology, and culture, pastoral and practical theology, and women and childhood studies focuses on understanding the person and lived theology in the midst of everyday struggles, such as illness, dying, working, and parenting. A Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology, she is the author, co-author, and editor of numerous chapters, articles, and twelve books, including Children and Childhood in American Religions (Rutgers 2009), Faith’s Wisdom for Daily Living (Fortress 2008), and In the Midst of Chaos: Care of Children as Spiritual Practice (Jossey-Bass 2006). She is currently editing the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology; compiling Christian Theology in Practice: Discovering a Discipline (Eerdmans), a collection of her essays in pastoral and practical theology; and working on a book, Lived Theology: Understanding its Politics, Rehabilitating its Place. She has served as president of the International Academy of Practical Theology, president of the Association of Practical Theology, and co-chair of two new program units of the American Academy of Religion, the Consultation on Childhood Studies and Religion and the Group on Practical Theology. She became a Disciples Divinity House Scholar in 1978 and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. at University of Chicago (1980, 1986), and was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In 1994, she co-chaired DDH’s Centennial Campaign and Celebration with Don Browning.
The Alumni/ae Council cited her distinguished contributions to the field of practical theology and to feminist moral reflection, her contributions to the wider academy and to the profession—especially to women in the profession. They noted her teaching, service, and mentorship at Vanderbilt, and her long record of service to and support of this Disciples Divinity House—and indeed of both DDHs. Bonnie Miller-McLemore is the sixteenth recipient of the award, which was established in 1979, and the first alumna to receive it. Previous recipients, in chronological order, were Arthur Azlein, Irvin Lunger, Barton Hunter, Robert Thomas, Marvin Smith, William Weaver, Frank Mabee, Dan Genung, John Bean, J. Robert Moffett, Samuel Pearson, Raymond Williams, M. Ray Schultz, Ian McCrae, and Don Browning.
DDH at the General Assembly
7.06.11 - Several Disciples Divinity House alumni/ae and trustees will be featured at the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), meeting in Nashville, July 9-13. Trustee Holly McKissick, who is senior and founding minister of Saint Andrew Christian Church, Olathe, Kansas, will preach the opening worship on Saturday evening. Michael Kinnamon and Yvonne Gilmore are among the Sunday morning guest preachersin local congregations. On Monday evening, the ministry of David Vargas will be celebrated at a dinner. Vargas, a DDH alumnus and trustees, has served Overseas Ministries for 28 years, including as its President since 2003. Kinnamon, Ken Brooker-Langston, and Jen Kottler are among workshop presenters; Joe Blosser, Adam Frieberg, Sandhya Jha, and Tim Lee are members of planning teams for learning tracks and worship; Dennis Landon and Mark Miller-McLemore will be hosting events and making reports.
Alumni/ae Council President Michael Karunas will host DDH's own luncheon on July 11, at 12:15 pm in the Music City Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel. Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Divinity School and the Graduate Department of Religion of Vanderbilt University, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award. Dean Kris Culp will bring remarks and updates. (More information about the luncheon here).
PhD graduates to Valparaiso, TCU, Western Seminary, and High Point
6.27.11 - Garry Sparks, a June PhD graduate, has accepted a visiting professor appointment at Christ College, Valparaiso University (the honors college). This year, in addition to being a DDH Scholar, he was the Divinity School’s Mellon Dissertation Fellow, the highest dissertation award. His dissertation, which focuses on sixteenth-century texts that he translated from the original K'iche' language into both Spanish and English, uses cultural ethnography as essential to theological method. He argues that the Americas’ “first theology” emerged in a mutually transforming dialogue between Christian theology and Mayan spirituality—a dialogue that is conveyed in a variety of historical texts as accessed through a contemporary process of dialogical translation.
Chris Dorsey, also a PhD student in theology, anticipates graduation in December. Until March, he was the Vice President for Marketing and Development at Chicago Theological Seminary. He is writing on the medicalization of health care in Senegal. He has been named the 2011 Faculty Fellow at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.
Joe Blosser, a June graduate in the Religious Ethics area, wrote his dissertation on Ernst Troeltsch and Adam Smith. He will move from DePaul University in Chicago to a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy and Director of Service Learning at High Point College, a United Methodist school in North Carolina. The college's service-learning program in will be inaugurated in 2012-13 under his leadership.
Santiago Piñón has been named to a tenure-track position in the Department of Religion at Texas Christian University; he is now completing his dissertation and is aiming for fall graduation. A student of theology, he attends to theological interventions between colonial power and the indigenous peoples of the Americas, in particular, the sixteenth-century Spanish Dominican Francisco Vitoria and his work, the Law of the Nations.
All four are ordained Disciples of Christ ministers. Mr. Sparks and Mr. Piñón both completed their MDiv degrees as well as their PhD work at the University of Chicago Divinity School as Disciples House Scholars.
“Throughout my entire time at DDH I have tried to be true to myself and have resisted becoming someone other than the person I was when I arrived,” Mr. Piñón commented. “Of course, I have experienced change. . . . Yet, the change I have gone through hasn’t changed me. I am still the guy who hates wearing ties and a coat, who prefers cheap beer to fine wine, and who reads Tillich, Unamuno, Dussel, and Nietzsche. Nonetheless, I have changed. In addition to becoming a more critical scholar, academic, and theologian, I have also become a more patient husband, a caring father, and, I hope, a better friend. These changes would have been impossible if it had not been for the Disciples Divinity House. . . . I owe a debt that can never be repaid.”
Matthew Myer Boulton to presidency of Christian Theological Seminary
6.20.11 - Matthew Myer Boulton has been named the sixth president of Christian Theological Seminary. He earned the PhD in theology from the University of Chicago in 2003 and the MDiv from Harvard Divinity School (1998). Matt and Elizabeth Myer Boulton, who is a DDH alumna, were married in the Chapel of the Holy Grail at the Disciples Divinity House; they were ordained together as ministers in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Since 2007 he has been Associate Professor of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School. He taught previously at Andover Newton Theological School. He is the author of God Against Religion: Rethinking Christian Theology through Worship and of Life in God: John Calvin, Practical Formation, and the Future of Protestant Theology (forthcoming this fall). The Myer Boultons are among the co-founders of the bluegrass gospel band, Butterflyfish, and of SALT, a not-for-profit project dedicated to reclaiming and sharing the beauty of Christian life through film, photography, music, poetry, and ideas.
June 10 Convocation celebrates PhD, MDiv, and AM graduates
6.15.11 - The annual convocation of the Disciples Divinity House was held June 10 in the Chapel of the Holy Grail. Alumnus and former Board President Larry Bouchard, who is Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Virginia, was the speaker. Four Disciples House Scholars who received their PhD degrees in June or will receive them later in 2011 were honored: Joseph Blosser, Chris Dorsey, Santiago Piñón, and Garry Sparks. Receiving MDiv degrees in 2011 are House Scholars Anna Liv Gibbons, Aaron Smith, and Jonathan Wallace, and ecumenical community members James Hoke, Michael Le Chevallier, Elsa Marty, and Pumsup Shim. House residents Diana Brown, Jennifer Jaszewski, Michael Lichens, Christopher Soltys, Cally Steussy, and Aaron Wooden received or will receive other Master’s degrees.
The first DDH Convocation was held in 1933. Recent speakers have included Don Browning, W. Clark Gilpin, Ana Gobledale, Claudia Highbaugh, Verity Jones, JoAnne Kagiwada, Hubert Locke, Daisy Machado, Holly McKissick, Mark Miller-McLemore, Stephanie Paulsell, David Vargas, Clark Williamson, and Geunhee Yu.
In Memoriam: Sybel A. Thomas, Trustee and Church Leader
6.08.11 - Sybel A. Thomas, church leader, and remarkable spirit, died June 7 at her home in Chicago. She was a trustee of the Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago for more than fifteen years. Through the House and in many other contexts, she and her late husband Harvey, who died in December, invested significant time and attention in young people and in future leaders.
Sybel Thomas was a member of the first moderator team at the first General Assembly of the newly restructured Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and thus also the first African American and first lay woman to serve as one of the moderators. She held many other crucial leadership roles throughout the church and in community organizations over the years, including as president of the World Christian Women's Fellowship and as an Elder of Park Manor Christian Church in Chicago.
Sybel and Harvey Thomas shared 62 years of marriage. They are survived by their son Craig and by grandchildren; another son, Harvay Jr., preceded them in death. The memorial service has been set for Friday, June 24, at Park Manor Christian Church in Chicago. The service will start at 6:30 pm with the wake at 5:30 pm.
Bouchard to speak at June 10 Convocation
6.01.11 - The 2011 Convocation will be held June 10 at 5:30 p.m. Larry D. Bouchard, Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Virginia will speak. He studies intersections between religious thought (including theology, philosophy of religion, and ethics) and imaginative literature, especially prose fiction and drama. His forthcoming book, Theater and Integrity: Emptying Selves in Drama, Ethics, and Religion (Northwestern University Press, August 2011), reconceptualizes relations of selves and their "integrity" in ethics and theology, as refracted through studies of theatrical drama. He is also the author of Tragic Method and Tragic Theology: Evil in Contemporary Drama and Religious Thought and the coeditor of Interpreting Disciples: Practical Theology in the Disciples of Christ. An alumnus, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1997 and served as its president from 2005-2010.
In Memoriam: K. Everett Munson, May 22, 1916 - May 22, 2011
5.23.11 - K. Everett Munson, Honorary Trustee for Life, died at his home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, on his 95th birthday, May 22, 2011. He became a member of the Board of Trustees in 1966, and served as president from 1975-77 and 1986-89. For thirty-six years he was minister of First Christian Church of Maywood, Illinois. Near at hand to the Disciples Divinity House, he gave financial and development leadership to the Board of Trustees, and he was a beloved and influential teaching pastor for many House Scholars. He was a leader in the community and in Chicago and Illinois churches. One testimony to the significance and spirit of his leadership was the honorary doctorate granted by Eureka College, where he was a trustee, in 1959.
Born on May 22, 1916, in Galesburg, Illinois, he and his four younger sisters grew up in Monmouth, Illinois. He received his BA at Monmouth College in 1940. On their wedding day in 1940, Everett Munson and Virginia Leonard were both ordained to the ministry in the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. That fall, he began his studies at the University of Chicago as a Disciples House Scholar, eventually earning his BD. He served as pastor of numerous rural Illinois congregations, including Coldbrook, where he and Virginia served from 1940-44, and Mt. Morris, where they served from 1944-1949. In December, 1950, they accepted the call to Maywood. In their semi-retirement, the Munsons served several Chicago-area congregations as interim pastors.
Everett Munson was predeceased by Virginia Munson in 1998, and by three of his sisters. He is survived by a sister and a sister-in-law, and by his three children and their spouses, Dorothy (Munson) Steele and her husband Claude Steele, Carolyn (Munson) Gray and her husband Richard Gray, and Karl L. Munson and his wife Meg Munson, and by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, at the Hoover Hall Memorial Chapel at 900 N Main, Monmouth, IL. Visitation will be at 1:00 pm. Interment will be at the cemetery following the memorial service.
Divinity School conference honors Gilpin and marks his retirement
5.16.11 - A conference on May 19-20 will honor W. Clark Gilpin, the Margaret E. Burton Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology, at his retirement from the Divinity School faculty. Entitled Writing Religion: Representation, Difference, and Authority in American Culture, the conference will ask how the project of "writing religion" has shaped questions about representation, difference, and authority in American culture. It features lectures by Divinity School colleagues Curtis Evans and Catherine Brekus, a panel discussion, and a lecture by Mr. Gilpin, "Writing Transcendence: When Words Exceed Themselves in Nineteenth-Century America."
Mr. Gilpin served as the Dean of the Disciples Divinity House from 1983-90, shaping a sense of call to leadership among House Scholars; he served as Dean of the Divinity School from 1990-2000, playing a remarkable and significant role in leading one of the major divinity schools in the world; and he was the first Director of the Marty Center, inaugurating new forms and venues of public conversation about religion. A historian of Christianity who studies the cultural history of theology in England and America since the seventeenth century, his first book was The Millenarian Piety of Roger Williams. While serving as dean, he wrote A Preface to Theology. Recent projects include work on the letter from prison as a genre of religious literature and a study of solitude in New England intellectuals. With Catherine Brekus, he recently edited a book entitled American Christianities. He earned his MA and PhD from the Divinity School as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar. He leads the Disciples History and Thought Seminar at the Disciples Divinity House, and he is a member of the Board of Trustees. Read the University's press release here.
In Memoriam: Ian James McCrae
5.12.11 - Alumnus Ian J. McCrae died this morning at Belton Research Hospital in the greater Kansas City area. A memorial service will be held Monday, May 16, at 3:00 pm at Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, Kansas, Holly McKissick, Senior Minister. He is survived by Cynthia McCrae, his wife of 60 years, and their five children, plus grandchildren, extended family, and many dear friends.
An educator, ethicist, and change agent, Ian James McCrae directed denominational efforts in human rights, economic justice, and global awareness for nearly thirty years, and also served in campus ministry and as a seminary professor. More recently, he was the Volunteer Assisting Minister at Saint Andrew Christian Church, where among other things, he had an important mentoring role with a new generation of Disciples House Scholars.
A native of Canada, he earned his A.B. from the University of Toronto and received his B.D. in 1950 from the University of Chicago as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar. In Chicago he met Cynthia Rice, who was a student at Chicago Theological Seminary. They married in 1950. He received his S.T.M. from Yale Divinity School in 1958; in 2006 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Christian Theological Seminary. In 2007, he was awarded DDH's Distinguished Alumnus Award. It commended him “for a lifetime of service across the breadth of the church” and specifically for his “keen mind, clear vision, and sharp wit and for vistas of mercy and justice opened because of them; for mentoring persons in ministry, amidst the priesthood of all believers; and for a life of faith that melds and models conviction, integrity, honesty, and humility.”
"Breaking Open": Young Leaders series features Hull Moses
5.09.11 - "Living with eyes opened means recognizing that this place we live in, here in this middle time between the empty tomb and the rise to heaven, is a place that is sometimes as filled with pain and grief as it is with life and love." Lee Hull Moses offered these reflections in a sermon that was broadcast on “Day 1,” a nationally syndicated radio program hosted by Peter Wallace, on May 8. Hull Moses, who is Senior Minister of First Christian Church of Greensboro, North Carolina, was featured in a special series, "Young Leaders of the Church.” An alumna and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Disciples Divinity House, she is the co-author of Gifts of Gilead and serves on the editorial board of Fidelia’s Sisters, an online publication of the Young Clergy Women Project.Her sermon, “Breaking Open,” explores the story of the two disciples’ post-resurrection walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:28-35). "That's where the church lives," she concluded, "in this world that is far too broken, offering little glimpses where grace breaks open and we can see that life just might win again."Listen here.
Anderson to be ordained
5.03.11 - Rebecca Andersonwill be ordained Saturday, May 7, at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church in Chicago. The Illinois/Wisconsin Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); her home church, Hope Central (DoC/UCC) in Boston, and the congregation of the Holy Covenant, which has been a formative place of service for her---all invite your presence at and prayers for the service of ordination. Ms. Anderson entered the University of Chicago Divinity School's Master of Divinity program as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar; she graduated in June 2010. She is a BA graduate of Hampshire College where she majored in playwrighting; she also brings professional experience in stand up comedy, as a teacher, and as an interpreter at Hancock Shaker Village to her ministry.
Plans for staff changes announced
4.15.11 - Several shifts in staffing at the Disciples Divinity House will occur at the end of the current fiscal year, June 30. These plans, developed over the past year, address changing needs and situate the Disciples House to respond to new opportunities.
Effective July 1, Parag Shah, who has served as a contract accountant since 1996, will join the staff on a part-time basis to oversee finances. For nineteen years, he was the Associate Dean of Students in the Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Affairs of the University’s Biological Sciences Division. He is a CPA and is now building his accounting consulting business. Also on July 1, Administrator Marsha Peeler will move to 85% time. This will allow her to rebalance life, health, and work, and yet to remain fully engaged in the work of administering the House.
After nearly six years of service as Associate Dean, Brittany Barber will conclude her work on June 30, 2011. She has begun a paid study leave in order to devote her full energies to making the transition from responsibilities that focused on fundraising and interpretation to new opportunities for congregational ministry and direct service. Two current House Scholars Katherine Raley and Laura Jennison Reed, will each serve approximately half-time next academic year as Assistants to the Dean; both will be in their final year of MDiv studies. This summer, Ms. Reed will give full-time leadership to interpretation and development work, including coordinating DDH efforts at the Disciples General Assembly in July.
Dean Kris Culp commented, "The Board of Trustees and I are grateful for these individuals and for the opportunity to work with them over many years and in the future. We celebrate especially Brittany Barber's care for the House, its mission, its alumni/ae and friends, and its students, and we wish her the best in her new endeavors."
In Memoriam: Marvin E. Smith, August 1, 1913 - March 11, 2011
3.15.11 - Marvin E. Smith, former President of the Board of Trustees and Acting Dean of the Disciples Divinity House from 1975-77, died March 11 in Gainesville, Florida. He was 97. After receiving the AB and BD degrees from Drake University in 1938 and 1939; he enrolled in the Divinity School as a Disciples House Scholar. He studied Christian education with W.C. Bower and history with W. E. Garrison, and he received his BD from the University in 1941. A native of Illinois, Mr. Smith and his family traced their affiliation with the Christian Church back to Barton Stone's ministry in Jacksonville, Illinois.
In 1940 he married Grady Maxwell. Their two daughters, Emily and Eva, were born in Lewiston, Idaho, where Marvin served a nine-year pastorate. He later served the First Christian Church of Stockton, California, before moving to the Christian Board of Publication (CBP) in St. Louis. As Director of the Local Church Curriculum Division at CBP, he helped to launch the Christian Life Curriculum. For twelve of his nearly 20 years at CBP, he edited the educational leaders magazine, Bethany Guide. The Smiths were active members of Union Avenue Christian Church in St. Louis, and he taught the Interpreters Class.
Marvin Smith became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Disciples Divinity House in 1961. He served as its President from 1972-75, and then again from 1977-1985. When Dean Blakemore died in 1975, Marvin Smith became Acting Director; he served in that capacity for two years, retiring from CBP to do so. He tended with care the full scope of the work of the Divinity House, from Board policies to the building's furnishings. Generations of students knew his interest and encouragement. In 1989 Mr. Smith was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of the Disciples Divinity House; in 1998, he was named an Honorary Trustee for Life. He had previously been honored with Drake University’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award and with the honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Culver-Stockton College.
The funeral service was held at Carlock Christian Church (near Bloomington, Illinois) on Sunday, March 20. Samuel C. Pearson officiated; Katherine Kinnamon and Dean Kris Culp also participated. Marvin and Grady Smith spent their early retirement years in Carlock, where they maintained the family farm. After Grady's death in 1999, Marvin lived with his daughter, Emily Schwartz, in Gainesville, where he remained an avid reader and a volunteer. The day he died, he had gone to his volunteer work at 10:00 am, collapsed, was taken to the hospital, and died about noon of a massive heart attack. His daughters ask that memorial contributions be made to the Disciples Divinity House.
Gilpin, Lewton Elected to Board; Northcutt Concludes Term
12.20.10 - W. Clark Gilpin and April J. Lewton have been elected to the Board of Trustees. Clark Gilpin, an alumnus and former dean of the Disciples Divinity House and of the Divinity School, is the Margaret E. Burton Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology in the Divinity School. Mr. Gilpin also leads the Disciples History and Thought Seminar at the Disciples Divinity House. April Lewton, an alumna of the Disciples Divinity House and the Divinity School, is Director of Annual Giving and Community Engagement at Chicago Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ms. Lewton is known for her generous and incisive leadership in the general, regional, and local church. She is the former Moderator of the North American Pacific Asian Disciples (NAPAD) and a current member of the General Board of the Christian Church and its Administrative Committee.
Amy A. Northcutt concludes eighteen years of service as a trustee in December. She was President of the Board from 1998-2004; recently she chaired its scholarship committee. During her presidency, the Board grappled with increased stress on endowment resources due to accelerating tuition costs and needed capital expenditures; over $2 million in estate or planned gifts were completed; a long range planning process clarified the work of the House; and a new model for the Board’s work was developed. An alumna who is Deputy General Counsel of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Ms. Northcutt recently has been named Acting Director of NSF’s Office of Information and Resource Management.
Chapel Windows Featured
11.11.10 - The stained glass windows in the Chapel of the Holy Grail were featured in a tour of stained glass in Chicago this fall and in a just-published newsletter. The September tour was offered by the Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation of Boston. The tour viewed windows that were designed by the Connick Studios: the 1928 windows at the Disciples Divinity House and those at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Bond Chapel, University Church, and the Quadrangle Club, among others. Former DDH resident Albert M. Tannler, who is Historical Collections Director, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, and a director of the Connick Foundation, was a co-organizer of the tour and authored the newsletter article. The chancel window depicts motifs, figures, and scenes from the story of the quest for the holy grail; the stunning window gave the chapel its name. (The central panel of the lower portion of the window is pictured to the left.)
Service at Bond Chapel Remembers Don Browning
10.25.10 - Divinity School Dean Margaret Mitchell led the Divinity School and the Disciples Divinity House Board of Trustees in remembering Don Browning at a service in Bond Chapel on Saturday, October 23, 2010. Tributes were given by Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics; William Schweiker, Director of the Martin Marty Center and Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics; Kristine A. Culp, Associate Professor of Theology and Dean of the Disciples Divinity House; and Elizabeth Marquardt, a former student. The tributes will be published in Criterion, a publication of the Divinity School.
Don S. Browning, the Alexander Campbell Professor Emeritus of Ethics and the Social Sciences in the Divinity School, studied the influence of religion on American family life, as well as the intersection of psychology, the social sciences, moral theory, and religion. From 1977-83, he was the Dean of the Disciples Divinity House, and he served as a trustee until his death. He died June 3 at his home in Hyde Park at the age of 76. The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Browning Family Fund at the Disciples Divinity House.
April Lewton Preaches Opening Chapel
10.05.10 - Invoking E. S. Ames, Stephanie Paulsell, David Kagiwada, and a host of other alumni/ae, April Lewton inaugurated the 2010-11 academic year with her homily on Monday, October 4, in the Chapel of the Holy Grail. Lewton, an alumna who serves as the Director of Annual Giving and Community Engagement at Chicago Theological Seminary, is also a current member of the General Board and Administrative Committee of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a past Moderator of NAPAD (North American Pacific Asian Disciples), and a member of the Alumni/ae Council of the Disciples Divinity House. For the full list of events for the fall quarter, click here.
2010 Entering Scholars Announced
09.15.10 - Brandon Cook and McKinna Daugherty have been named the 2010 Oreon E. Scott and the William Weaver Entering Scholars, respectively. Both are beginning their M.Div. studies.
Brandon Cook, a graduate of Transylvania University who majored in German Studies and Psychology, has a passion for congregational ministry and interests in ecumenical work and disaster relief and development. His home congregation is May’s Lick Christian Church, Kentucky. At Transylvania, Brandon served as an officer of Disciples on Campus, and participated in and planned learning opportunities in the Philippines for fellow student. He has been active in the national and world student ecumenical movement (STEP, SESCM, and the World Student Christian Federation).
McKinna Daugherty was born in Japan, but spent her formative years in Olathe, Kansas, where she became a member of Saint Andrew Christian Church. This past summer she spent a month in Japan and also returned to her home church as an intern. A graduate of Texas Christian University, who majored in Vocal Music and Religion, McKinna’s sense of call to ministry has been shaped by a global perspective and a commitment to social justice, as well as by her study of religion and music. At TCU, she received numerous scholarships and honors including election to Theta Alpha Kappa and vocal performances; she also volunteered in a homeless ministry and served as Media Coordinator for University Christian Church in Fort Worth.
Convocation marks close of DDH's 115th year
06.14.10 - The annual Convocation Service on June 11 celebrated graduating Disciples Scholars and DDH Residents. Graduates included Disciples Divinity House Scholars who received their Master of Divinity degrees or will receive them later this year: Rebecca Anderson, Aaron Smith, Michael Swartzentruber, and Beau Underwood. Underwood also received the Master of Arts in Public Policy degree. Also among the graduates were two ecumenical residents, Heather Mackenzie and Emily Rostkowski, and Alan Terlep, House Scholar from 2005-06, who received his PhD in the History of Christianity with certification in ministry. The service preceded the University-wide graduation, which was held in the main quadrangle on Saturday morning.
Verity A. Jones spoke on "The God of Hope," calling the graduates to a hearty, realistic engagement through their work and ministry, and not mere optimism. Publisher and Editor of DisciplesWorld magazine from 2003-10, Jones is the President of the Associated Church Press, works with the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program, and serves on the advisory board of the Divinity School's Border Crossings project. She has written for the Christian Century and other publications, in addition to DisciplesWorld. A native of Richardson, Texas, she grew up in Enid, Oklahoma. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale College, and a summa cum laude graduate of Yale Divinity School. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, she previously served as pastor of Central Christian Church in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Pamela James Jones Begins Service as Trustee
04.25.10 - Pamela James Jones has joined the Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Religion and Philosophy faculty at Central Michigan University and an ordained American Baptist minister. She earned an AB from Spelman College and a JD from Temple University, and formerly was a Lecturer in Business Law at Wayne State University in Detroit. She earned the MDiv degree from the Divinity School in 1997 before beginning PhD work in the History of Christianity. A DDH resident during her MDiv and early PhD years, she also returned regularly while writing her dissertation on enslaved Christian women’s identity in the antebellum period (1830-65). From 2003-08 she was a staff minister at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit. She and her husband, Ted, who is chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wayne State University Medical School, have two adult children.
Senior Ministry Presentations Focus on Disciples Public Witness, Preaching, Unity
04.05.10 - A series of presentations this quarter allow third-year House Scholars to present their culminating MDiv projects. Two are focused on preaching: on May 10, Michael Swartzentruber will explore "The Imaging Word: A Theology of Preaching"; on May 24, Rebecca Anderson will present "Mind the Gap: Preaching as Comedy." Beau Underwood's project on "Disciples and Democracy" brought former General Minister and President Richard L. Hamm to DDH to discuss resolutions and discernment as means through which Disciples engage public life. Finally, in late May, Aaron Smith will consider unity and polarization from a theological, biblical, and public policy perspective.
Disciples House Scholars, Residents Lead Student Ministry Conference
03.28.10 - Michael Swartzentruber, a third year ministry student and Disciples Divinity House Scholar is co-chair with Emy Cardoza of the 2010 Student Ministry Conference, "Worship in Crisis," to be held April 23 at the Divinity School. House Scholar Aaron Smith and House residents Michael Le Chevalier and Jimmy Hoke are chairing committees in preparation for the event. In addition, alumnus Matt Rosen will be the speaker at the Divinity School's Ministry Alumni Reunion Dinner, scheduled in conjunction with the conference. He is the Director of Advocacy and Social Justice for So Others Might Eat (SOME), an interfaith, community-based organization in the District of Columbia that offers a comprehensive, holistic approach to caring for the homeless and poor.
Margaret M. Mitchell named Dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School
02.24.10 - Margaret Mitchell, Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature, has been named the next dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School. Her appointment takes effect July 1. She is an alumna of the Divinity School and a former ecumenical resident of the Disciples Divinity House. To learn more about her, her scholarship, and the appointment, read the University press release.
Bouchard Concludes Five Years as Board President; Chad Martin Accepts Gavel
01.02.10 - On December 31, Larry D. Bouchard concluded his service as president of the Board of Trustees. An alumnus, he joined the board in 1997 and has served as its president since 2005. He is an associate professor in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, where he explores drama, theology, and what he calls “counter-intuitive” visions of personal integrity. As president, Mr. Bouchard kept the board focused on its mission, and framed decisions with their deepest implications in view. At the same time, he evidenced how good humor and deep affection can foster wisdom and purpose in governance.
The presidential gavel passes to Chad H. Martin, who has served as treasurer of the Board of Trustees since 2003 and as a member of the executive committee since 2001. As treasurer he led the Board in decisions about budget priorities through changing financial times. Mr. Martin has been the chief financial officer for Pacific Pulmonary Services since 2004. Previously, he worked in investment banking with Goldman Sachs. He earned an MBA from Stanford University. He also serves on the board of the Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Chad and Crista Martin live in the San Francisco area with their daughter.
Mareta J. Smith, succeeds Chad Martin as treasurer. She has been a member of the finance committee since joining the board in 2006. She is an attorney who specializes in estate planning and tax law with Shook, Hardy, & Bacon, a Kansas City-based firm. She is a member of Country Club Christian Church in Kansas City, where she also serves as a trustee. Eddie Evans Griffin, a retired social work administrator, elder at Park Manor Christian Church, and former regional moderator, continues as vice president. Alumna Lee Hull Moses, who is Senior Minister of First Christian Church, Greensboro, North Carolina, continues as secretary.
Alumni/ae provide leadership at General Assembly
07.23.09 - Several alumni/ae will have prominent roles at the upcoming General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which meets in Indianapolis, July 29-August 2. As the First Vice Moderator, Ayanna Johnson will lead prayer and reflection at the start of each day's business session; she has also been responsible for planning worship throughout the Assembly. Michael Kinnamon, who is General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, will give the 25th Peter Ainslie Lecture as a dinner co-sponsored by the Council on Christian Unity and the Historical Society. Among those leading workshops are Kinnamon, Ken Brooker Langston, Bonnie Carenen, Sandhya Jha, Tim Lee, Mark Miller McLemore, and Vy Nguyen. And don't forget our own luncheon, where Don Browning will be honored as Distinguished Alumnus.
Karunas nominated as Alumni/ae Council president; slate of nominees announced
07.17.09 - Michael Karunas, Senior Minister of First Christian Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, heads a slate of officers and nominees for the Alumni/ae Council. An MDiv graduate, he was a member of the entering class of 1995. Also nominated as officers are W. David Hall and Amy Lignitz Harken. Six others have been nominated to the Council: William Crowl, Elizabeth Guonjian, Lowell Handy, Stephen Duvall, Katy McFall, and Peiying Peng. The election will be held at the DDH luncheon at the General Assembly.
Entering Scholars announced
07.02.09 -Four persons have been selected as new Disciples Divinity House Scholars for entrance in fall 2009. Three seek the M.Div.; the fourth enters the A.M. program.
Thandiwe Gobledale is a 2006 cum laude graduate of Pomona College where her strong academic record was matched by an equally strong record of service. After graduation, she worked in India and Nepal.
Andrew Packman is a 2007 summa cum laude graduate of Loyola University in Chicago. He was raised in Centralia, Illinois, and in the First Christian Church there. For two years, he has served as a ministerial intern with alumnus Michael Karunas at the First Christian Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Laura Jennison Reed is a native of Washington state who has given leadership to the local, regional, and general church. She is a 2005 cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College. She received the Chapin Prize for exceptional achievement in the study of religion and is a former HELM Leadership Fellow.
Alexis Vaughan is a 2006 graduate of Duke University, where she won the Environmental Leadership Award and worked with the Center for Race Relations. She was an intern with Sojourners magazine. Her home church is the United Christian Parish of Reston, Virginia, where alumna Joan Bell-Haynes is pastor.
Convocation celebrates ten graduates
06.15.09 -On June 11, at the close of the 114th academic year of the Disciples Divinity House, graduates gathered in the Chapel of the Holy Grail with families and friends to celebrate achievements and to launch new endeavors. Six of the ten graduates were Disciples Divinity House Scholars. Spencer Dew receives the PhD for his studies in Religion and Literature. Andrew Langford receives the AM degree. Four Scholars receive MDiv degrees: Bonnie Carenen, Adam Frieberg, Bethany Lowery, and Tabitha Knerr. Ms. Knerr also receives the Master of Policy degree. Lowery, Carenen, Frieberg, and Knerr will be ordained this summer or fall. Langford and Lowery will continue in PhD studies in Bible and History of Christianity. Also participating were House residents Malkah Bressler (MAPH) and Kevin McCabe (AM), and Ian Gerdon (MDiv), and former House Scholar Jake Bitner (MDiv). W. Clark Gilpin, the Margaret E. Burton Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology at the Divinity School was the speaker; he is the former dean of the Divinity School and of the Disciples Divinity House.
In Memoriam: Divinity School Professor Emeritus Peter Homans, 1930-2009
06.03.09 - University of Chicagonews release
Scholars join delegations to China, Bosnia
06.02.09 - Jonathan Wallace, a first year M.Div. student and Disciples Divinity House Scholar, was selected to participate in a People-to-People delegation to China from May 29 to June 9. He and four other Disciples seminarians together with Xiaoling Zhu and Julia Brown Karimu from the Division of Overseas Ministries will visit Beijing, Xi'an, Nanjing, and other cities while learning about Christianity in China. Also in June, incoming Disciples House Scholar Andrew Packman will travel to Bosnia with a delegation of seminarians sponsored by Week of Compassion. Packman, a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago, is currently a ministerial intern at First Christian Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
07.15.09 Read reflections on the Bosnia trip from Andrew Packman and others in the delegation here.
W. Clark Gilpin to speak at Convocation
05.15.09 - On June 11, graduating Disciples Divinity House Scholars and residents will gather in the Chapel of the Holy Grail with families, colleagues, and friends to celebrate their academic achievements and to launch new endeavors. Speaking will be W. Clark Gilpin, the Margaret E. Burton Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, where he previously served as Dean. He also is the former Dean of the Disciples Divinity House and currently leads DDH's seminar on Disciples History and Thought. Mr. Gilpin is a historian of Christianity who studies the cultural history of theology in England and America since the seventeenth century and the author of an intellectual biography of Roger Williams, the seventeenth-century advocate of religious liberty, and of A Preface to Theology. He is currently working on two books, one on the letter from prison as a religious genre in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England, and another on solitude in American religious and literary history.
"The Arts of Leading Across Diversity" series to feature Johnson, Lewton
05.02.09 - On May 4, Ayanna M. Johnson, First Vice Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the founding pastor of Community of Hope Christian Church, will be featured in the final forum of a three-part series on leadership across diversity. The series has extended through the 2008-09 academic year; it has brought together Disciples leaders, especially young adult and emerging leaders, to discuss challenges faces and arts of leadership required for a diverse and often fragmented church and society. April Lewton, an alumna who is a community organizer with the Asian American Institute of Chicago, will interview Rev. Johnson during the forum. In June, Johnson concludes three years as the Minister in Residence at the Disciples Divinity House, an initiative funded by the Oreon E. Scott Foundation.
Conference on theology and culture to be held Wednesday and Thursday
04.18.09 - Long preparations will come to fruition this coming week, when a major conference on theology and culture is held at the Divinity School, April 22-23. Entitled Culturing Theologies, Theologizing Cultures: Exploring the Worlds of Religion, the conference will bring together scholars and practitioners to re-examine the role and value of culture in theological reflection and the role and value of theology in cultural reflection. The conference was planned by House Scholars Garry Sparks and Chris Dorsey and is offered as the Divinity School’s Sharpe Lectures; it is co-sponsored by Disciples Divinity House’s Hoover Lectures. Lecturers include Webb Keane, Kathryn Tanner, William Schweiker, Larry Bouchard, Robert Franklin, and Jean Comaroff. Panel presentations feature the work of Mr. Sparks, Mr. Dorsey, and fellow House Scholars Santiago Piñón, Jr., and Kristel Clayville. The conference is featured in a recent article in DisciplesWorld magazine.
House Scholar profiled in Christian Century article
04.10.09 - "No doubt there is a thin line between being a pastor and being a performer," Jayson Byassee observes in a recent Christian Century article. Thinking that "pastors probably can learn something from professional performers about the practice of ministry," he interviews four former professional performers who have become or are becoming pastors. Among them is current Disciples Divinity House Scholar Rebecca Anderson, who reflects on parallels between her work as a comedian and the vocation of preaching that she is now pursuing. Read the article.
Ecumenism to be highlighted on April 6
03.20.09 - A commitment to ecumenical and interfaith conversation has long been a feature of the Disciples Divinity House. This year, Ian Gerdon, a Roman Catholic M.Div. student and long-time House resident, is completing an internship in ecumenical ministry at DDH and in other venues. His ministry has included organizing a study group on the Disciples-Roman Catholic bilateral dialogue and regular evening prayer; he will speak in chapel on April 6. That same evening, Robert Welsh, who is the chief ecumenical officer of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), will present a forum about the work of the Council on Christian Unity.
Six travel to Nashville for Seminarians' Conference
03.13.09 - Early in March, six Disciples Divinity House Scholars made a pilgrimage to Nashville for the Disciples Seminarians' Conference. Organized by Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM) and sponsored by the General ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the biennial gathering provides an opportunity to meet other new leaders and to learn about resources for ministry. It was held March 5-8 at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, which is adjacent to the Disciples of Christ Historical Society and near the Disciples Divinity House at Vanderbilt. Grants from DDH and HELM underwrote travel expenses to the conference. The roots of the Seminarians' Conference can be traced to a pilgrimage made by seven House Scholars and Dean Blakemore in 1953. Click here to read an account of that trek. Click here to read House Scholar Adam Frieberg's reflections on the 2009 conference, as reported by alumnus Ryan Singleton in DisciplesWorld.
New CWS post brings Vietnamese refugee full circle
02.24.09 - Alumnus Vy Nguyen is now the assistant director for Church World Service's California/Southwest Region. He and his father were resettled in the U.S. from Vietnam by the Disciples and CWS in 1990, arriving just two days after Vy's eighth birthday. An article in DisciplesWorld tells how Vy Nguyen's personal background proves valuable in his new position with the global, ecumenical organization. Read the story.
"Perspectives on Community" panel considers intentional religious communities
02.24.09 - Ian Gerdon, a Roman Catholic M.Div. student, has thought a lot about community during his years as a resident of the Disciples Divinity House. Reflecting on the possibilities and frustrations of shared life, work, and worship at the House, he proposed to arrange a panel exploring patterns of and theological perspectives on community. Thanks to his organization and gracious hosting, that panel came to fruition on Monday, February 23. Assembled to share their perspectives were: Alexandra Conroy, Executive Director of L'Arche Community of Chicago; Elbert Lott, core member of L'Arche Community; DDH alumnus Ross Martinie Eiler, who is co-founder of Christian Radical/Catholic Worker House in Bloomington, Indiana; Edward Glanzmann, Novice Master of the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago; and Tom Roddy of Reba Place Fellowship in Evanston, Illinois.
Faculty speak about current work in DDH Forum
02.03.09 - Jeffrey Stackert, who joined the Divinity School faculty this year as Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, spoke at a DDH Forum on Monday evening, February 2. His talk, "Seeking Asylum at the Altar: Conceptualizations in the Hebrew Bible," discussed the notion of altar asylum in the Hebrew Bible against the background of blood vengeance and in relation to later notions of city asylum. Prof. Stackert is the second faculty member to present a forum this year; Prof. Willemien Otten spoke in the fall quarter.
In Memoriam: Robert Sulanke
01.30.09 - Robert G. Sulanke (1935), an esteemed congregational minister and church leader, died January 15 at Westminster Health Care in Muncie, Indiana. He was 95. A native of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Lynchburg College, Mr. Sulanke received his B.D. degree from the University of Chicago as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar in 1938. That same summer, he married Francis Abney of Chicago. The couple moved to Maryland where he served Beaver Creek Christian Church and, later, Govens Christian Church in Baltimore. In 1947 the Sulankes moved to Muncie to begin what became a thirty-five year ministry with Jackson Street Christian Church (later renamed Hazelwood Christian Church). Under his leadership, the church moved from a landlocked location in downtown Muncie to an eight acre estate near the Ball State campus. The new building was completed in 1954; when the congregation moved in, they were debt free. He served on the boards of the Pension Fund and of Church Extension. In 1962, Christian Theological Seminary awarded him the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
Mr. Sulanke retired in 1982 at age 70. He then served two interim ministries in Kokomo, Indiana, one for six years. He led an active life well into his nineties, walking over a mile each day and serving as the volunteer chaplain at Westminster Village where he and his wife lived. Frances Sulanke preceded him in death in 2007; they are survived by four children, seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Mr. Sulanke explained that as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar, he was “taught to appreciate the past but to live in the present.” He provided for the education of today's House Scholars through an estate gift arranged through the Christian Church Foundation.
Conference to re-examine theology and culture
01.14.09 - A spring conference will bring together scholars and practitioners to re-examine the role and value of culture in theological reflection and the role and value of theology in cultural reflection. Where and how do new theologies and theories of culture intersect? How do these emergent perspectives aid interpretation of and engagement within the ecumene, the whole encultured world? Entitled Culturing Theologies, Theologizing Cultures: Exploring the Worlds of Religion, the conference will be held April 22-23. Planned as the Divinity School’s Sharpe Lectures, it is co-sponsored by the Disciples Divinity House’s Hoover Lectures. Conference organizers are Garry Sparks and Chris Dorsey, both theology Ph.D. candidates and Disciples Divinity House Scholars.
University of Michigan anthroplogist Webb Keane, author of Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter, will keynote the conference. Opening and closing lectures will be given by Divinity School professors Kathryn Tanner and William Schweiker, respectively. University of Virginia professor and DDH Board president Larry Bouchard will speak about art, secularism, and “spirituality.” Other speakers are Chicago anthropologists Jean Comaroff and Robin Shoaps, Morehouse College president Robert Franklin, and Columbia philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne. Two sets of panel presentations will explore theological worlds within contemporary Palestine, Southern India, and Senegal, and historic intersections of cultures and ideas including 16th-century Spanish scholastic humanism and land theology in the book of Leviticus. Panelists include Mr. Sparks, Mr. Dorsey, and Divinity House Scholars Kristel Clayville and Santiago Piñón, Jr.
"The Arts of Leading across Diversity" series inaugurated
12.10.08 - 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.
University initiative benefits entering Ph.D. students
12.01.08 - 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.
Chicago Disciples' efforts help document immigrant concerns in recent election
11.25.08 - 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.
114th academic year opens
10.03.08 - 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.
In Memoriam: Dan B. Genung
08.15.08 - 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.
Engineering study underway
07.11.08 - 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.
In Memoriam: Harry B. Partin
06.19.08 - 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.
Entering Scholars for 2008 announced
06.15.08 - 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.
Author and global missionary speaks at Convocation
06.13.08 - 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.
Underwood featured in AP story on religion and politics
04.25.08 - 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
Townes recognized as Divinity School Alumna of the Year
04.17.08 - Emilie M. Townes, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity School and a former DDH resident, delivered her Alumna of the Year address, "The Dancing Mind," at the Divinity School on April 17, 2008. She was selected for the honor by the Board of Trustees of the Baptist Theological Union. After earning her B.A. from the University of Chicago and her M.A. and D.Min. from the Divinity School, Ms. Townes earned her Ph.D. from the Joint Garrett-Northwestern University Program in Religious and Theological Studies in 1989. She is ordained in the American Baptist Church. She previously taught at Union Theological Seminary, Saint Paul School of Theology, and DePaul University. She is the author of Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil, Breaking the Fine Rain of Death: African American Health Issues and a Womanist Ethic of Care, and In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness, and Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope. In addition, she is the editor of two volumes: A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Perspectives on Evil and Suffering and Embracing the Spirit: Womanist Perspectives on Hope, Salvation, and Transformation. This year she became the first African American woman to serve as president of the American Academy of Religion.
In Memoriam: Harold E. Ranton
Harold E. Ranton (1948) died February 27 in Sacramento, California. He was 87. Mr. Ranton served in World War II as a sea-search radar technician for the Army Air Corps in the South Pacific Theater. A graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, he earned his B.D. as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar at the University of Chicago. After his ordination, he was called to the First Christian Church of Eureka, California, where he served for twenty-five years. From 1977 to 1985, he served Freeport Boulevard Christian Church in Sacramento, California. He was named Minister Emeritus of the South Sacramento Ecumenical Parish. After his retirement, he served a number of interim ministries and also did pulpit supply in area churches. He is survived by his wife of twenty-three years, Janice Ranton, four children, three step-children, two sisters, and two brothers.
Anne Carr, Theologian, 1934-2008
02.14.08- University of Chicago News Office
Saint Andrew Leadership Initiative to be Established
10.26.07 - A $100,000 pledge over five years will establish the “Saint Andrew Leadership Initiative” at the Disciples Divinity House. The Initiative will help make possible internships as part of the DDH scholarship program. The Initiative honors Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, Kansas, and extends their commitment to visionary leadership in ministry.