News Releases

April 02, 2024 —  

Alexis Vaughan will speak at the DDH Convocation on Friday, May 31. A service will be held in the Chapel of the Holy Grail to mark the conclusion of DDH'S 129th year and to celebrate its graduating House Scholars and Residents. A gathering on the backyard patio will precede the service. The celebration will conclude with toasts and dessert. An alumna and trustee, Alexis serves as Managing Director, Domestic Operations, for Week of Compassion, the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Week of Compassion works with partners to alleviate suffering throughout the world. Previously, Alexis was the inaugural Director of Racial Equity Initiatives at Interfaith America, she also served as the social justice coordinator for the National Benevolent Association. An ordained Disciples minister, she earned her MDiv from the Divinity School as a Disciples Scholar in 2012, and a BA from Duke University.

March 29, 2024 —  

Ventilation work, LED lighting in the dining room, and kitchen renovations aimed at improving daily DDH life were completed in late March. Students are enjoying better air circulation, brighter lighting, a safer kitchen, and a more environmentally responsible space. New induction ranges and stovehood have been set in new cabinets, with new lighting and floor finish. Most of the work, though, is hidden from sight, with a massive air handler and new ductwork that ensure adequate airflow in the dining room and a rapid response hot water heating system. The design team used environmentally friendly ways to reduce heat in the spaces without introducing air conditioning and while addressing safety concerns associated with gas stoves and ovens. Sparkling pots and pans, suited to induction cooking, were generously gifted by Board President Pam Jones.

Some of the ventilation work got underway last summer. Kitchen renovations began on December 11 with old equipment and surrounding cabinets being torn out and the floor resurfaced and new equipment being set in place over winter break. The nearly $300,000 engineering and renovation project took three years to design, procure proper equipment, and complete.

February 12, 2024 —  

At its February 1-8 meeting, held in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, Kris Culp was elected one of five vice moderators of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. The global theology commission is comprised of scholars and church leaders from Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal traditions. The commission, which predates the WCC, was established to address theological matters that are church dividing and to further visible unity. Today, theological anthropology and technology, contextuality and decolonialism, ecclesiology, and moral discernment are among study topics.

Pictured with Andrej Jeftic, Director of the Commission (left), and Moderator Stephanie Dietrich (center) are four vice moderators: Myriam Wijlens, Jackline Makena, Culp, and Glenroy Lalor. Not pictured is Metropolitan Job of Pisidia.

January 01, 2024 —  

Alexis Vaughan begins service on the Board of Trustees, effective January 1. Also on January 1, she begins a new staff role at Week of Compassion as Managing Director, Domestic Operations. An ordained Disciples minister, she earned the MDiv from the Divinity School as a Disciples House Scholar in 2012, and a BA from Duke University. In the Capital Area, she interned with Sojourners, served as pastor of two congregations, and was one of the founding clergy members of the interfaith Congregation Action Network, which works with and on behalf of immigrant and refugee communities. More recently, she was the inaugural director of racial equity initiatives at Interfaith America and served as the social justice coordinator for the National Benevolent Association. She lives in Chicago.

December 28, 2023 —  

During her dozen years as a trustee of the Disciples Divinity House, from January 2012 through December 2023, Verity Jones enriched the work of the Board in many ways. As she concludes her service, we give thanks for her leadership, creativity, and vision. As chair of the Development Committee, she gave crucial leadership during DDH's 125th Anniversary Celebration and a campaign that topped its goal to raise $5 million in gifts and future commitments. She also served as a member of the Scholarship Committee. Jones brought experience from her own BA and MDiv education at Yale, and as a Disciples congregational minister, a writer and media expert, a nonprofit and educational leader, and former publisher of DisciplesWorld Magazine. She is currently a program director in the Religion Division at the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

December 20, 2023 —  

Renowned sculptor Richard Hunt died December 16 in Chicago, at age 88. His work, "Becoming" (2021), crowns DDH's courtyard. It was commissioned as a memorial to alumnus Thomas V. Stockdale and to encourage and inspire students. Hunt's sculpture summons freedom and possibilities that may be at the edge of imagination but are nevertheless within reach.

Richard Hunt's "Hero Construction" (1958) stands in the Grand Stairway of the Art Institute of Chicago. A 1971 exhibition at MoMA was the museum's first retrospective for an African American sculptor. Hunt was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center, the Fifth Star Award from the City of Chicago, the Art Institute's Legends and Legacies Award, eighteen honorary degrees, a Guggenheim fellowship, and dozens of other awards.

According to the Washington Post, Richard Hunt brought a buoyant lyricism to the heaviest of metals, creating works of steel, bronze, copper, and iron that rose skyward like trees or fire or spread outward like wings. Among his 160+ public sculptures are "Flight Forms" (2002) at Midway Airport; "Swing Low" (2016), suspended in the lobby of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture; a towering monument to Ida B. Wells, "Light of Truth" (2021) in Bronzeville; and "Book Bird," for the Obama Presidential Center. Among Hunt's last works was a model for "Hero Ascending," a memorial to Emmett Till that is to be completed by his studio crew and installed outside Till's childhood home.

November 15, 2023 —  

On November 13, a Monday forum by alumna Aneesah Ettress Veatch, Academic Engagement Coordinator at the Smart Museum of Art, focused on the art of gratitude--figurative and literal. She led a close-looking exercise on a work by Theaster Gates, Soul Food Starter Kit. The work, a wooden hutch filled with stoneware plates, bowls, and serving pieces, also includes a poem, "Soul Manifesto #2." Gates accompanied the work with a series of dining experiences which provoked "questions about the relationship between objects and ritual, between gratitude and food... about their own cultural values and their own cultural utensils." Every aspect of the work considers sharing food and community as central to gratitude. Her program was paired with a soul food Monday night dinner from the South-side institution, Pearl's Place.

October 02, 2023 —  

Thirteen students have been named Disciples Divinity House Scholars for 2023-24. Thanks to a generous gift in memory of Samuel C. Pearson, scholarship awards have been increased.

NEW SCHOLARS: Delaney Beh, the M. Ray and Phyllis Schultz Scholar is a 2023 summa cum laude graduate of Butler University. They served as the Just Peace intern at First Congregational UCC in Indianapolis, and are preparing for chaplaincy as an MDiv student. William N. Weaver Entering Scholar, Kevin Poe, is a first-year MA student. He is a 2023 summa cum laude graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio, where he studied philosophy, religion, and South Asian studies. He was awarded the 2022 Undergraduate Research Prize for outstanding ethnographic research, which he conducted in Thailand and India. MA student Tristan Spanger-Dunning is the Oreon E. Scott Entering Scholar. A 2023 MA graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, he studies the social and intellectual history of the Disciples of Christ. Second-year MDiv student, Nate Travis, is a returning DDH resident, the new president of the House Council, and the recipient of the W.B. Blakemore Scholarship in recognition of his commitment to welcome in the church and his interest in Disciples’ connection with American pragmatism. Kylie Winger, a second-year MDiv student and returning DDH resident, is a new Disciples Scholar and the M. Elizabeth Dey Scholar. She is also the Head Resident. She was the Valedictorian of her 2019 class at Middlebury College, where she majored in Literary Studies. She taught English in Japan for three years after college.

CONTINUING SCHOLARS: Rachel Abdoler is writing her PhD dissertation on a thirteenth-century Coptic author’s interpretation of the passion of Christ, and its background of Arabic Christian and Islamic writing. She is an MDiv alumna and the recipient of the Barbara and Clark Williamson Scholarship. Marissa Ilnitzki, the Martin Family Scholar, is a third-year dual MDiv/MA student preparing for hospital chaplaincy. She completed CPE at Northwestern Memorial Hospitals and is studying this year at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Kate Myers is a second-year master’s student at the Crown School who is practicing clinical therapy in her fieldwork. She is the recipient of the Florence Drum and Eleanor Tenant Scholarship, which was created by the late Katherine Dey to remember dear friends who were formidable churchwomen. The Rolland and Laura Frances Sheafor Scholarship has been awarded to Charlie Platt, a third-year MDiv student. He studied Buddhist-Christian dual belonging in Oaxaca, Mexico over the summer. Luke Soderstrom, the recipient of the Barton Robinson Scholarship, is exploring concepts of children in American Moravian theology and practice and its role in shaping Moravian piety in his PhD dissertation. Morganne Talley is the Dr. Geunhee and Mrs. Geunsoon Yu Scholar. A second-year MDiv student, Morganne’s field placement is with Pride in the Pews, an organization that advocates for black LGBTQ+ communities within and outside black churches. Virginia White has received the Edward Scribner Ames Scholarship. She is writing a PhD dissertation on “Reckoning with Social Evils: Performativity as a Foundation for Reenvisioning Lament and Laughter as Moral Practices.” The William Daniel Cobb Alumni/ae Scholarship enabled eight scholars to attend the 2023 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Louisville, Kentucky. Justin Carlson is engaged in a full-time, DDH-sponsored internship in a congregation this year as the Bernard F. and Annie Mae Cooke Scholar. He has completed two years of MDiv studies and exploring creativity and pastoral authority in relation to congregational ministry at First Christian Church in Tacoma, led by alumnus Doug Collins. His internship is also supported by the Edgar DeWitt Jones Scholarship of Central Woodward Christian Church

August 09, 2023 —  

Mark Lambert, who was DDH’s 2022-23 Faculty Fellow, has accepted an offer as an assistant professor at Des Moines University (DMU). He will be in charge of the bioethics curriculum with half of his time for research. DMU is an osteopathic school of medicine and health sciences, a thriving institution that is building an entirely new campus. To teach in a medical school is a nearly unparalleled opportunity for an alumnus of DDH and the Divinity School. An AM and PhD alumnus of the Divinity School, he has served as a Divinity School Teaching Fellow in the College of the University of Chicago for the past two years.

Administrator Daette Lambert will transition to remote work when she and Mark and their family move to the Des Moines area in mid-August. Dean Kris Culp commented, “DDH is fortunate that her superb leadership will continue. The Board of Trustees and I are grateful for Daette’s commitment and excellent work, and for the pleasure and gift of being able to work with her in the past and into the foreseeable future.” Daette Lambert has been the acting chief of staff during the dean’s sabbatical; Mark has led the PhD dissertation seminar and advised the theological education leadership fellows. Their contributions have helped DDH life and thought to flourish.

August 03, 2023 —  

Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens was reelected to a second term as General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. Hord Owens is the first African American and second woman to lead the Disciples, and the first African American woman to lead a mainline Christian denomination. She is also a DDH and DIvinity School MDiv alumna, and a former Dean of Students at the Divinity School. This spring she was honored as the Divinity School's Alumna of the Year.

Belva Brown Jordan, the Moderator of the Assembly, led a service of installation on August 1. Pictured here, they were joined by Hord Owen's family and the previous General Minister, Sharon Watkins. Hord Owens was charged with continuing a ministry of visionary love, spiritual leadership, prophetic imagination, and ecumenical service. She encouraged the Assembly to “imagine new ways of being church and to stay at the table no matter what we face. Our commitment to staying at the table is grounded in our covenant relationship with God and with one another.”

The vote took place on the final day of the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which convened in Louisville, Kentucky, from July 29 to August 1, 2023. The nomination process, which was set in motion months ago by the Administrative Committee of the General Board, resulted in the General Board forward her name to the Assembly for consideration. The nomination was readily approved by the Assembly. Read the press release.