News and Events
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.