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The President’s Preaching and Speaking Engagements
April 23-25, Leader, Southminster Church, Missouri City, Texas, Annual Spiritual Renewal Weekend May 9, Preacher, First Presbyterian Church, Lufkin, Texas May 18, Host, Evening with the President, New Braunfels, Texas June 13, Preacher, Sesquicentennial at First Presbyterian Church, Stephenville, Texas August 22, Preacher, Opening Convocation, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, North Carolina
n my growing-up years, Christian Education was primarily memory work. As an elementary student in an Atlanta church, there was a year in which I and my fellow third-graders memorized large gaps of Bible verses which, it was hoped, we might file away in a mental file cabinet from which we could retrieve it all in times of need. The thing I was proudest of was being required to memorize, at the end of that year, the Apostles’ Creed, which I could then say every Sunday in worship with all of the adults around me. Then we moved to a county-seat town in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where I was confirmed as an eighth-grader in an old church founded in 1736 by Scots who were deeply formed by the Westminster Confession. To be confirmed in that church, I had to memorize the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Every Saturday morning for months, I would sit in the office of Miss Wista McElveen—the beloved Christian Educator there—and recite to her every jot and tittle of that catechism. “Now, Teddy, what is the chief end of man?” Man’s…chief…end…is…to…glorify…God…and…enjoy… [God]… forever.” Thanks to those two congregations, I had under my belt, by the time I was a middle schooler, a pretty good working knowledge of the most familiar texts of scripture, some of the most formative psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the catechism of perhaps the sturdiest piece of the theological architecture of the English Reformed tradition. It was memory work. It didn’t make me a Christian, or even a better person. It was, after all, only a bit of the “grammar” of Christian faith. But I believe I have been building on that grammar ever since. In Luke’s account of the Resurrection, the end of all this grammar is for the Spirit to enliven it with meaning. The Resurrection miracle for Luke was that “they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.” Christian Education puts us in touch with the grammar of the faith, for sure; and, when it is redemptive, it laces all that grammar with the living syntax of faith until it’s impossible to tell the difference between what we know, and how we live this knowledge out. This issue of Windows focuses upon Christian education in today’s challenging times. In the pages that follow, David White, Rodger Nishioka, Sarah Allen, and Ellis Nelson will describe patterns and trends that may be different in many respects from the way I learned the faith from Miss Wista. What remains the same, however, is how the things that we remember are enlivened by the Holy Spirit until we are transformed by such memory. You will also enjoy the rest of the news that lies within, so start memorizing—I mean, reading! Faithfully yours, Theodore J. Wardlaw President
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Cassandra C. Carr, Chair
Michael D. Allen Karen C. Anderson Thomas L. Are Jr. Susan Beaird F. M. Bellingrath III Dianne E. Brown (MDiv’95) Elizabeth Christian Joseph J. Clifford James G. Cooper Marvin L. Cooper James B. Crowley Elizabeth Blanton Flowers Donald R. Frampton Richard D. Gillham Walter Harris Jr. Bruce G. Herlin J Carter King III (MDiv’70) Michael L. Lindvall Catherine O. Lowry Blair R. Monie Lyndon L. Olson Jr. B. W. Payne William C. Powers Jr. Jeffrey Kyle Richard Teresa Chávez Sauceda (MDiv’88) Anne Vickery Stevenson Karl Brian Travis John L. Van Osdall Sallie Sampsell Watson (MDiv’87) Elizabeth Currie Williams
2-13 A Christian education primer
2 4 7
What can we learn about forming people of faith?
BY DAVID WHITE
The role of the pastor
BY RODGER NISHIOKA
The role of the educator
BY SARAH ALLEN
10 The role of the congregation
BY C. ELLIS NELSON
14 19 20 23 24
Community news Development news Faculty news Continuing education news Alumni/ae news
W I N D OW S
SPRING 2010 Volume 125 Number 2
Stephen A. Matthews Max Sherman Edward D. Vickery Louis Zbinden
Channing Burke Shuhan Chan Caitlin Deyerle Nancy Reese Lana Russell
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tion, not simply for the information transmitted, but also for what it teaches informally about being part of a community of faith. There I learned to share, to treat others with respect, to let guests go first in the pot luck line, and to not hit girls (apologies to Becky Sweeney, wherever you are!). Also, in those days, we prayed in schools, observed blue laws, attended services on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, got out of school in the early fall to attend community revivals. It seemed one might absorb Christian faith as easily as breathing the air. Of course, one has only to scratch the surface of Southern religious culture to find deep-seated racism and all sorts of things we should not be proud of. Yet, despite the risk of over romanticizing the past, we must acknowledge that support for the Christian faith has grown weaker at the same time that cultural forces counter to such gospel values as community, altruism, peace-making, and truth-telling have only grown stronger. Children and adults do not come to us as blank slates, much less, as they once did, predisposed toward Christian formation. They come to our churches already formed by myths, habits, and sensibilities, many contrary to Christian thought. For those concerned about how we make disciples, or how we form and deepen people in
a christian education primer
BY DAVID WHITE grew up in a small church in Mississippi, where Sunday school was conducted in the church basement by a company of earnest teachers wielding flannel boards and picture books. In those classrooms I learned much of what I know about the Bible, and I will forever insist that this is an important element of forma-
Christian faith, these current times represent something of a crisis—an opportunity to review previous assumptions and practices while envisioning more faithful and vital ways of fostering Christian formation.
David White is the C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Associate Professor of Christian Education at Austin Seminary. The author of Awakening Youth Discipleship in a Consumer Culture (Cascade, 2007, coauthored with Brian Mahan and Michael Warren) and Practicing Discernment with Youth (Pilgrim Press, 2005), he received a Valparaiso Project research grant to explore the practice of discernment among local congregations.
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
What can we learn about forming people of faith?
educators, like other scientifically minded moderns, have The Sunday school model of Christian education come to view learning as independent of a sense of body hroughout the centuries the church has drawn from and place—that is, the knower is unaware of how his or many influences in its ministry of forming Christians; her interpretation of the facts of the world are necessariinfluences as diverse as the synagogue schooling of Jesus’ ly influenced by his or her experiences in the world. day, third-century catechetical preparation for baptism, One example of the myth of objectivity was the “scimedieval cathedral schools, and Reformation emphases entific” notion at the turn of the 20th century known as on Scripture and family formation. Throughout the histhe “Great Chain of Being,” in which white Western tory of the church, Christian formation has involved anthropologists posited a hierarchy of creatures with much more than instruction, narrowly conceived as classCaucasian European males at the top of the evolutionary rooms and curriculum. Yet, the term “Christian educaladder, with women being inferior and with Africans and tion” denotes a particular historical response to the quesother aboriginal peoples somewhat below higher prition of Christian formation. mates in status. Such “science” was undertaken as “objecSunday school, conceived as an hour each week of tive” without recognizing how it was embedded in the religious instruction alongside Sunday worship, has not Western male experience. changed a great deal since When this view is its founding in 1780 by adapted for the teaching Robert Raikes. In its earliToo often, Christian educators have assumed context, learning becomes est iterations, trained clerthe mastery of mere facts gy conducted Sunday that conveying the right “ideas” is without acknowledging schools, but these quickly their dependence upon became the domain of lay sufficient to transform our behavior. social, cultural, or linguisvolunteers. Begun as outtic contexts. For Christian reach to the poor, they In reality, it may be the other way around: education, merely learning soon became a standard facts without acknowledgmeans for educating lay our minds may be changed by our practice. ing their larger significance people. in the context of life and Enough cannot be faith is problematic. said about the importance of Sunday school and its role in the health of the church Worship as the heart of Christian formation through the last few centuries. It is fair to say that the ore recently, Christian educators have begun to church owes much of its vitality, if not its very life, to the reflect theologically on what is distinctive about the faithfulness, creativity, and ingenuity of countless Sunday Christian education context. They have concluded that school teachers and administrators. Sunday schools, espereligious knowledge is not neutral, abstract, or universal, cially as embraced by American churches, became conbut is highly defined by the particularity of its context gregations-within-congregations, creating opportunities and practice—especially that of Christian worship. for members to care for one another, to reach out in misChristian educator Debra Dean Murphy concludes that sion, and to assimilate newcomers into the wisdom, practhe “illusion of objectivism” is, in the end, a “strategy for tices, and perspectives of the community. Today, despite avoiding our own conversion,” while the knowledge that the postmodern tendency to deconstruct nearly everyChristians aspire to is knowledge of God and self, disthing, most thriving churches continue to experiment closed only in and through the doxological—the praise with various forms of Sunday school programs. and adoration of God. In other words, learning the dates However, the Sunday school model of Christian eduof the kingdoms or tracing Paul’s missionary journeys do cation is not without its problems in this postmodern not, in themselves, transform us, apart from grasping era. Specifically, many educators have adopted theories these facts in the context of God’s mighty acts of salvafrom modern secular disciplines—education, psychology, tion and our gratitude. sociology, philosophy, etc.—often at the expense of theKnowing a fact neither challenges nor saves us. ology. Among the assumptions they appropriated were Parker J. Palmer asserts that knowing in the Western scientific appeals to objectivity—the idea that Christian tradition cannot be reduced to grasping distant individuals are capable of interpreting the facts and sigobjective facts, but, following the analogy of the incarnanificance of the world without regard for such influences tion of Jesus, is best understood in personal and relationas social context or tradition. Unfortunately, Christian
al terms—“knowing as loving.” According to St. Gregory, “It is impossible to find truth without being in love. Love itself is knowledge; the more one loves the more one knows.” Many Christian educators are coming to recognize that the acquisition of knowledge that constitutes education within Christian communities is bound up entirely with the praise and adoration of God within the Eucharistic fellowship of the body of Christ gathered together in worship. To know, in this way, is to be transformed. What we do in the liturgical assembly shapes us in powerful ways, forming in the most basic sense who we are in relation to God, neighbor, and the Christian vision. It is in Eucharistic worship that we know most fully, not in the sense that we grasp or master the sacramental mystery, but in the sense that we, in worship, are created as a people who abide in the truth of God’s own Trinitarian life. In this way, the liturgy fulfills its teaching function, as Debra Dean Murphy says, “not as exposition apart from faith, but as a performative act of faith.” Despite this growing emphasis on worship, we should not dismiss more traditional forums for learning, such as classrooms, provided they remain close to the experience of worship. Constructive proposals for worship-centered education include lectionary-based Sunday school curricula, adult mentors who can teach young people the habits and skills that flow from worship, and a Sunday school paradigm that intentionally complements the liturgical life of the community. Debra Dean Murphy relates a compelling story of her own church in which a group gathered to study Christian response to the war in Iraq. The temptation was for participants to express opinions downloaded from their favorite political party or news outlet, but these were not adequate perspectives for considering the question of war in light of the Christian faith. Murphy requested that participants refrain from expressing their opinions for several weeks while they explored the liturgy and rites of baptism and Eucharist, especially for their relevance to the topic of war. Only when they reminded themselves of their own liturgical concepts and practices did they have the language and context for discussing war. In this way, one congregation was able to consider how their response to war might be an extension of their worship, or “the liturgy beyond the liturgy.” This emphasis represents an attempt on behalf of Christian educators to move beyond an unreflective embrace of social science categories to reclaim theological reflection, not only toward the end of Christian education but also through its approaches.
Christian education for a way of life elated to the problem of Christian education’s separation from the worship context, another contemporary concern has been the overly narrow focus on the intellectual life of the learner. Too often, Christian educators have assumed that conveying the right “ideas” is sufficient to transform our behavior. In reality, it may be the other way around: our minds may be changed by our practice. We have long assumed that practices are manifestations of our obedience to God, when in reality they may also be opportunities for meeting God in surprising ways. Under the leadership of Craig Dykstra and Dorothy Bass, many Christian educators are embracing the notion of forming people in Christian practices. Educating in Christian practices assumes that, for the most part, acts of kindness are not random but are established in our life because we have learned to create spaces, however small, to reach beyond ourselves in love toward God and neighbor. Establishing Christian practices is urgent because the rhythms of our daily lives are relentlessly shaped by economic and cultural pressures to consume, objectify, and compete—so that the scandalous Christian story and vision survives only as private piety. And even personal piety is difficult to sustain when cultural forces cultivate sensibilities, such as fear or greed, which contradict our hunger for justice, joy, and community. Dorothy Bass, director of the Valparaiso project, insists that the church represents a source of wisdom that responds to the spiritual hunger of our age. Specifically, when we join others in such practices as honoring the body, forming ourselves as community, household economics, saying yes and saying no, forgiveness, healing, dying well, welcoming the stranger into our midst, keeping the Sabbath, giving our testimony, or discerning God’s will for our lives, we engage “patterns of communal action that create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us. They are places where the power of God is experienced. In the end, these are not ultimately our practices but forms of participation in the practice of God.” Reclaiming an emphasis on Christian practices represents a revolutionary prospect for Christian education. Such an emphasis does not ignore the more rational dimensions of faith that Christian education has traditionally embraced, yet, participating in and refining such Christian practices opens qualitatively rich spaces for children, youth, and adults to study and reflect on the stories and doctrines of Christian faith. Christian practices (and perhaps only Christian practices) make our 5
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
concepts intelligible and meaningful. If, as Alasdair McIntyre asserts, “tradition is an embodied argument about the good,” our witness to the beauty of Christ must mobilize our whole selves, individual and corporate. During World War II, the French Huguenot village of LeChambon harbored dozens of children fleeing certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Their decision to open their homes and barns to these children, always at great cost and risk, was not a random act of kindness but was nurtured by their long-standing habit of showing hospitality to each other and to wandering strangers, generation after generation. According to Dorothy Bass and Craig Dykstra: The practice of hospitality is instructed by the glad surprise that came when Abraham welcomed three strangers to his tent … It is empowered by seeing the practice in the life of Jesus, who accepted the hospitality of sinners and preached about a banquet to which people would come from east and west, from north and south. It continues within a centuries-long process of formation and reformation, as successive generations of Christians seek, in ever new contexts, to shape ways of life that show forth the love of God and the love of neighbor in the very concrete practice of hospitality to strangers.
Christian education as practical theology ontemporary approaches to teaching acknowledge the importance of context for discerning God’s direction while also acknowledging historic and normative sources of theology. Thus a third important trend in contemporary Christian formation is “practical theology.” This approach recognizes the difficulty of taking principles taught in one historical era and imposing them upon another. It also acknowledges the church’s need to teach practices that help people make sense of their particular daily lives. Typically, such practical-theological teaching methods involve some version of the following tasks: descriptive-empirical, interpretive, normative, and pragmatic. The descriptive-empirical task of practical theology asks: What is going on? The interpretive task asks: Why is this going on? The normative task asks: What forms of Christian praxis take place in this particular social context? Finally, the pragmatic task asks: How might this area of praxis be shaped to more fully embody the commitments of the Christian tradition within a particular context of experience? The goal of these tasks is to determine a more fitting 6
course of action in a specific context. The value of a practical-theological approach to teaching is that it provides an opportunity for more deliberate reflection on particular life experiences—where there is suffering, anger, frustration, joy, or hope. It attempts to bridge the sometimesgreat divide between our theology and our concrete life experiences. Christian education in this approach is not unilateral—it is not the teacher pouring knowledge into passive students—but acknowledges that all learning is situated in some context. It is an attempt to honor Karl Barth’s double aim of reading the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other and seeks to form students in the spiritual habits of listening to the world’s cries, understanding their social contexts, and discerning, in community, forms of faithful response in the world. In other words, the practical-theological approach to teaching engages the heart, mind, soul, and strength of the learners in community. This approach seeks to make Christian theology more than inert ideas but brings theology into the service of faithful life. People often find themselves needing to make sense of their contexts. For example, a group of teenagers in South Central Los Angeles needs to make sense of the violence in their communities and how God is calling them to respond. Others wonder how God is calling them to respond to the fact that much of their clothing is made in Indonesian sweatshops. Still others yearn for systematic means of reflecting on such things as abortion, homosexuality, or health care. These are difficult conversations that Christians must participate in using the resources of Christian theology in community with other believers. I have a deep appreciation for my childhood Sunday school experience and especially for my teachers. However, the world is experiencing a cultural sea change that has in many ways grown hostile to my young Christian hopes, and it is tempting to imagine that the most the church can do is support the status quo: after all, what can the church do? Like so many, I yearn for a life in community with others, as gathered church, reflecting the life of God. Christian education at its best has always affirmed the fullness of Christian vocation, including the priestly role of comforting the afflicted and the prophetic role of afflicting the comfortable for the sake of justice. Christian education in the second decade of this new century must not merely conform to traditional roles but must diligently re-imagine the possibility for Christian Continued on page 10
a christian education pri m er
The Role of the Pastor in Christian Formation
BY RODGER NISHIOKA
hat does the pastor need to know about Christian education? 1. That it is all about you. Educator Parker Palmer writes in The Courage to Teach that “good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” When Palmer talks about “identity,” he means the intersection of all those inner and outer forces that make up who we are (e.g. faith, family, culture, relationships, values). And when Palmer talks about “integrity,” he means bringing all of those forces into some coherent whole so that our lives are not merely compartments but rather reflect authenticity and health in the whole of our life. I return to Palmer’s definition time and again. When people ask for help in Christian education, more often than not I worry they are asking for the latest technique or gimmick. I understand that. Techniques and gimmicks are novel and attractive and fun. I am not dismissing the role of technique or method. But even the best technique means little if the teacher lacks a sense of his or her own identity as a follower of Jesus and integrity in that journey of following. Rodger Nishioka holds the Benton Family Chair in Christian Education at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He was Austin Seminary’s 2010 Jones Lecturer.
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
a christian education primer
In my research with young adults, persons in their 20s and 30s, many of whom we baptized and confirmed and the vast majority of whom are no longer in our churches or any church for that matter, I asked about the role of the pastor. Focusing on technique, I asked if the pastor is more approachable if s/he is not wearing a robe. The question didn’t make sense to these young adults. The vast majority said they really didn’t care. Instead, they said that if the pastor was real, s/he was going to be real whatever s/he was wearing. And if the pastor was fake, s/he was going to be fake no matter how s/he was dressed. Technique didn’t matter. The identity and integrity of the pastor did. In this sense, it is all about you. It is about your identity and integrity. I am the son of a Presbyterian pastor and evidence that you can be a pastor’s kid and still love Jesus. One of my earliest abiding memories is waking up and going to use the bathroom in the early morning hours and seeing my father sitting in the living room reading his Bible by the light of a solitary lamp. He always greeted me and smiled. As I headed back to bed for an hour more of sleep, that image would remain with me as it does to this day. He never told me what he was readEven the best technique means little ing or pointed out some new learning. What he taught me, however, is that he loves the Bible. Truly. if the teacher lacks a sense of his or her What should you know as a pastor about Christian education? That it is all about you—your identity and integrity.
The Role of the Educator in Christian Formation
BY SARAH DEMAREST ALLEN
What else should you know? 2. That it is all about Jesus. integrity in that journey of following. I understand incarnational theology. I understand that at its core, incarnational theology understands that the Word was made flesh in Jesus—that God became human and walked among us and in so doing, closed the gap between God and humankind. I understand the ongoing tension inherent in this between the more inclusive view of the incarnation and the more exclusive view given the religiously pluralistic world in which we increasingly find ourselves. Here is where I get nervous. I get nervous when we transfer our theology of incarnation too easily to ourselves—that just as God was revealed in Jesus Christ, God is now only revealed through us. I, too, love 16th-century mystic Teresa of Avila’s prayer that “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours…” but here is where it starts to get creepy and make me nervous. I worry that especially for us who are pastors, this incarnational theology encourages us to take on the messianic mantle— the idea that the only way children, youth, and adults are going to learn about God is through us. That is a problem. Several years ago when I was running at a frightening pace, one of my best friends, also a pastor, insisted on taking me out to lunch. At lunch, she told me she had good news for me. When I asked her what the news was, she said, “The messiah has come.” I looked at her puzzled and said, “Okay ...” Then she said, “I have even better news.” I asked her, “Well, what is it?” Then she leaned over to me, smiled, and said, “You are not him!” Lately, I have been telling my students that while we strive to be Christlike, we are not the messiah. And that while God is at work in us through the Continued on page 13 8
own identity as a follower of Jesus and
hen the primary goal of Christian education is the formation of disciples, then the role of educator becomes companion on the journey toward Christ. The educator, whether volunteer, staff, or clergy, shares both knowledge about the living God and discovery of the living God. This is a privilege and a challenge. It is a privilege to share in the formation of disciples; to be present when someone discovers the life-giving grace of Jesus Christ, to help instill and form habits of life-long discipleship. It is a challenge to speak of God and God’s Word in ways that invite relationship with the living God; to speak of God and not only about God. It is easier, and perhaps our nature as fallen people, to distance ourselves and to only speak words about God instead of to recognize and embrace the very presence of God as we speak, teach, and learn. Our faith teaches us that Christ is indeed present whenever we gather. The goal of Christian education is not solely biblical literacy or knowledge of doctrine, but the cultivation of Christ-like habits and practices that grow us as disciples. To live as a disciple is to live in recognition and in response to God’s presence in one’s life and the world. The life of a disciple begins with practice. And, it is the educator—the pre-K teacher, the VBS leader, the youth Sarah Demarest Allen is a 2007 graduate of Austin Seminary and serves as Associate Pastor for Children, Youth, and Families at First Presbyterian Church in Austin.
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
sponsor—who creates the space where these practices are first tried; from the preschool class that habitually lights a candle and says together “Christ is here” to the high schoolers who share their lives with God and one another in communal prayer Sunday after Sunday. These first steps, when practiced over and over again, become habits and practices that shape the very fabric of one’s life. Debra Dean Murphy has said that, “prayer is a skill we cultivate and practice in the midst of our fumbling toward faith, in our halting, hesitating steps toward mature discipleship.” Perhaps the whole of Christian life is one of “fumbling toward faith,” with the educator’s role to lead that fumbling; to encourage movement, however clumsy, toward mature discipleship. The goal of Christian education In my ministry with youth, children, and their families, I have found Jerome Berryman, Episcopal priest and founder of is not solely biblical literacy or Godly Play, insightful. When training youth and children’s Sunday school teachers, I often share his understanding of the knowledge of doctrine, but adult’s role as guide. The guide model emphasizes companionship and de-emphasizes expertise. The guide leads the learner. And while the guide indeed teaches the learner, he or she also the cultivation of Christ-like learns from and discovers alongside the learner. In the Sunday school classroom, the role of guide is played out as guide and habits and practices that learner enter into a biblical story, wondering and discovering together how God speaks afresh. As Berryman says, “We all come grow us as disciples. equally to a parable to discover what it means for our lives.” We all come equally to God’s stories, and we all come equally before God as well. Those of us who guide others must be willing to be guided by Christ, for we as Christians are on a life-long journey of discipleship. We are forever students of Christ, our great teacher. When we believe that we have “completed” our Christian education, we fall into trouble because we lose sight of our Guide. Even the guide needs to keep his or her eyes open, for we follow a living Lord, and he continues to teach and to guide us. Those charged with educational ministries in the church have a privilege and a challenge; to guide others in “fumbling toward faith.” We have the privilege of witnessing first steps, and often of seeing those clumsy first steps become a well-practiced dance with the Triune God. We have the challenge of guiding disciples toward faith and not simply teaching them about faith. We have the challenge of practicing prayer, worship, hospitality, and social justice together because we know that in practicing our faith, we deepen it. We take on this privilege and challenge of guiding disciples firmly believing that we are all guided by God in Jesus Christ. L
a christian education primer
ost Christian congregations assume that the way to encourage children and teenagers to become disciples of Jesus is to enroll them in Sunday schools and encourage them to attend worship services. These agencies of nurture that were developed in the 1800s are still needed today, but they are not sufficient for the twenty-first century. Children are influenced primarily by the society in which they live, the church they attend, and their parents. The importance of parents and the church in Christian nurture has not changed. But American society has changed enormously, and this sets the agenda for Christian education for the twenty-first century. During the nineteenth century, American culture was formed by evangel-
The Role of the Congregation in Christian Formation
BY C. ELLIS NELSON
Continued from page 6 formation to engage in God’s prophetic work. The church is called to be the outpost of God’s Kingdom and provide teaching that equips members for life in the Kingdom. Attending to such formation is not merely the responsibility of Christian education professors or Sunday school teachers in dimly lit basements. It is the responsibility of all who seek to give leadership in the church. L 10
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C. Ellis Nelson (MDiv’40) is Research Professor in Christian Education at Austin Seminary. This essay is adapted from his most recent book, Growing Up Christian: A Congregational Strategy for Nurturing Disciples (Smyth & Helwys, 2008). 11
ical Protestantism. Virtually every area of American society—from Sabbath observance to public schools, from public office to the judicial system— embodied a distinct set of white, Protestant, evangelical values. These shaped not only understandings of Christian faith but also notions of civic duty. In 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court flatly concluded, “This is a religious people … a Christian nation.” The result was a fusion of Protestant evangelical Christianity and national identity—a “Christian America,” as evangelical leaders proclaimed. One can argue—accurately—that the reality was not as authentically or as pervasively Christian as its many propoThe latter part of the twentieth nents claimed. But there was a discernible Protestant “spell” or spirit that shaped American culture. century changed the rules of The latter part of the twentieth century changed the rules of engagement between the churches and American society. This is no longer a Christian nation, shaped by evangelical engagement between the beliefs and values. It is a secular society in which the church now competes for the allegiance of people. Consider only one churches and American society. example—Sabbath observance. Evangelical Protestants strongly believed in the sanctity of the seventh day of the week. To that end, they urged their congregations to avoid certain practices (work, buying and selling, etc.) and embrace other behavior (especially church attendance). They helped pass so-called blue laws that closed businesses and prescribed certain behavior on Sunday. Today—in large cities and small towns—the story has changed dramatically: stores are open for business and parents weigh whether to send their children to soccer games or Sunday schools. In short, the twenty-first-century church now competes with American society for people’s time, values, money, and behavior. American society is a secular society, in which individual values and communal institutions are developed independently of the Christian faith. Most congregational leaders and parents recognize this new reality. There is no turning back, but the resources of the past—newly conceived—can help us understand the task of communicating the Christian faith today.
harmony with the Bible and promote a distinctive lifestyle for its members. Children and teenagers would probably learn more about being Christians by being part of such a congregation and from their parents than by being schooled in the particulars of Christian doctrine. Second, we must realize that adults have the most influence in a congregation. This is because they are the officers, teachers, leaders of various church projects, and parents. Thus, in order for a congregation to move toward becoming a Christian sub-culture, it must give priority to an education plan that would include almost all adults. The classes would include Bible, theology, ethics, and for new members, a course on how new members can help the congregation become “in, but not of, the world.” Third, congregations should have a well-designed way to help parents practice their beliefs in their homes. Although the family is recognized as the place where children first get acquainted with God and what God expects of them, many church families are so busy that not much is done to help young children in this regard. Someone from the church should visit homes to discuss the parents’ role in Christian formation. This may be frightening or intimidating, but it can be as basic as leaving short, simple prayers for use before a meal and some booklets that contain Bible reading and stories to be used with a child at bedtime. Children and teenagers would The Sunday school and other agencies of Christian education must continue. But these agencies operate in a new world—a secular society. probably learn more about being Ironically, the task of Christian nurture of young people is really focused on adults. They need to find a relationship with Christians by being part of such a Christ and live a new life of discipleship with and for the next generation of the church. Before children can experience God’s congregation than by being love in Jesus Christ, adults must affirm it and live it in the communities and sub-cultures we call congregations. In doing so, they will be models and mentors of Christian discipleship. schooled in the particulars They make the words of Jesus come alive: “Let the little children come to me …” (Matt 19:14). L
iven the gradual secularizing of American society and, to some extent, the family, what can congregations do to more effectively nurture children and teenagers to become disciples of Jesus? There is no easy answer, but there are three areas of influence where congregations can make a difference. Along with their regular Sunday school and youth groups, these will help children and teenagers become disciples. First, culture is a powerful form of influence—for both good and ill. The negative effects of culture on Christian discipleship are fairly obvious, but the good news is that the power of culture is also available to sub-cultures, such as congregations. Raising the consciousness of a congregation about its role as a sub-culture may be the most important thing it can do to influence members and their children. If a congregation through its worship, service to the community, and concern for the welfare of its members were oriented to continue the ministry of Christ, it would be a sub-culture. As a sub-culture, it would have beliefs in 12
of Christian doctrine.
Strategies for Christian nurture today
The role of the pastor
Continued from page 8 presence of the Holy Spirit, we are not God. The person I now encourage my students to most emulate is John the Baptizer. John kept looking for Jesus and pointed out the Messiah when he appeared. John—eccentric, bizarre, wonderful John—directed the attention of the people away from himself and toward God revealed in Jesus Christ. So what is important for pastors to know about Christian education? That Christian education is both all about you and it isn’t. Ultimately, it is all about Jesus Christ. Surely this is Good News for us all. L
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
COMMUNITY NEWS Alumni/ae and seniors honored at ASA Banquet
of Dallas, Texas, the income from which is to be awarded to a member of the graduating class for the purpose of post-MDiv advanced studies. Selection is made on the basis of Christian character, scholarship, and personal ability; the fellowship carries with it a grant of $8,000. The winner of the Pile-Morgan Fellowship for 2010 is Jason Webster. A member of Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, Webster served in the military, studied martial arts in Thailand, and worked in communications and technology before discerning a call to Christian service. He has pursued the MDiv while continuing to work full time as an executive vice president at a local technology firm. Jason is married with two children, and he and his wife are planning to enter the mission field after completing further graduate studies. The Alumni/ae Association of Austin Seminary established the David L. Stitt Fellowship for continued study in 1971 in honor of the Seminary’s fourth president. The Board of the Austin Seminary Association grants the award to one member of the senior class on the basis of scholarship, Christian character, personality, and ability. The fellowship carries an award of $10,000. The 2010 David Stitt Fellowship recipient is Lisa Straus. A member of Westlake United Methodist Church, Straus is a Jean Brown Scholar. She has a BA degree from Smith College in classical languages and French studies and taught Latin and worked in educational administration while pursuing graduate studies at Stanford University before discerning a call to seminary. Straus is interested in studying women in the Bible, theology, and Christian ministry and has been accepted into the ThD program at Boston University. 15
he Austin Seminary Association (ASA) held its Annual Meeting and Banquet on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, and honored two Distinguished Service Award recipients and five graduating students. Austin Seminary’s annual Distinguished Service Awards are given to alumni/ae for their enduring contributions to the church. Award recipient Laura Mendenhall received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Austin Seminary in 1997 while she was head of staff at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin. She then went on to serve as president of Colombia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, from 2000 to 2009. She is now senior philanthropy advisor for the Texas Presbyterian Foundation. Well known for her service to the Presbyterian Church, Mendenhall has been involved in the life of the church at every level. Mendenhall’s interests include the role of the sacraments in the life of the church, the use of daily prayer in structuring Christian community, and strategies for faithful proclamation of Christian stewardship. The second Distinguished
Maury Rabb and Andrew Payne, children of the late Clint Rabb (MDiv’74), and Laura Mendenhall (DMin’97) accepted the 2010 ASA Award for Service. Service Award was given posthumously to Clinton C. “Clint” Rabb, who graduated from Austin Seminary in 1974. Rabb spent almost twenty years as a pastor and chaplain in Texas, then in 1995 he began to serve on the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church working to reestablish the United Methodist Church in Lithuania and Latvia as those countries emerged from Soviet rule. He also worked to establish a Methodist presence in Laos and Vietnam. He created the program “In Mission Together” which partners U.S. congregations and individuals with UMC mission centers around the world. In 2006 Rabb became Assistant General Secretary for Mission Volunteers overseeing the 110,000 UMC volunteers around the world. After thirty-five years of ordained ministry, Clint Rabb died in January from injuries sustained in the earthquake that hit Port au Prince, Haiti. According to President Wardlaw, Rabb had learned of this honor in December and was humbly and joyfully anticipating its acceptance; two children of Rabb and his wife, Suzanne Field Rabb (MDiv’95), attended the banquet to accept the award in his memory. The first of five student fellowships, the Janie Maxwell Morris Fellowship was established in 1953 by a bequest from Mrs. Milton Morris of Austin, Texas. It is given to a senior to pursue further graduate study; the fellowship carries a grant of $2,000. The winner of the 2010 award is Paul DuBois. A member of Manchaca United Methodist
Senior fellowship winners: Jason Webster, Stella Burkhalter, Lisa Straus, Paul Dubois, and Ken White. Church, Dubois has a BS degree in geophysical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and was an environmental consultant before coming to seminary. He is currently serving in an internship at University United Methodist Church, Austin, and is pursuing ordination as an elder in The United Methodist Church. In 1946 an endowment was established by Mrs. W. P. Newell of Albany, Texas, as a memorial to her late husband, W. P. (Dick) Newell. The income from this fund is to be used annually to “provide a scholarship, a graduate study fellowship, or in some other manner enrich the life of a person training for the Christian ministry.” This year, the fellowship provides a grant of $3,000 to Ken White. With a BS degree from the University of Evansville and an MS from Memphis State University, White worked as a software developer before coming to seminary. He served in an internship at Church of the Savior in Cedar Park, Texas, and has recently accepted a call as their associate pastor for discipleship.
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
The Alsup-Frierson Fellowship for Excellence in Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics was established in 2005 by the families of Professor John Alsup and Carol Alsup of Georgetown, Texas, and former Trustee Emeritus Clarence Frierson and Betty Frierson of Shreveport, Louisiana. The fellowship is given “to enable the honoree to pursue further study in the biblical field toward the end of fostering the ongoing dialogue with scripture in preaching and teaching, within the context of an ecclesiastical calling,” and carries a grant of $4,000. The winner of the 2010 award is Stella Burkhalter. A member of Oak Hill United Methodist Church, Burkhalter has a BS degree from the University of Texas at Austin and worked in public relations, marketing, and event planning before coming to seminary. She served in a teaching church internship at The Rock United Methodist Church, Cedar Park. In 1984, an endowment was established in honor of Leo V. Pile and Helen Porter Pile of Harlingen, Texas, and Edmond Holland Morgan and Estella Martin Morgan
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
Seminary achieves re-accreditation. Austin Seminary recently received
re-accreditation from both the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Austin Seminary was one of the first institutions to go through a concurrent accreditation process with the two agencies. The Stanley R. Hall Liturgics Lab, a gift from the Class of 2009, was dedicated on February 2. Participating in the service were Gail Snodgrass, widow of Professor Hall; alumni/ae Carrie Finch (MDiv’09), Jean Reardon (MDiv’05), and Matthew Thompson (MDiv’09); Professor Bill Greenway; student Kaci Porter; and President Ted Wardlaw and Dean Michael Jinkins. Christian Theological Seminary President Ed Wheeler was the Martin Luther King Commemorative Preacher, February 9. Fuller Seminary Professor Jehu J. Hanciles delivered the Settles Lectures, February 25, on migration and mission and African Christianity. “Images of Spirit: Voices of Faith,” an exhibit of metal working curated by Artist-in-Residence C.D. Weaver, is showing between March 1-April 30. An Open House for the eight exhibiting artists was held on March 22. Austin Seminary Day on March 24, brought one hundred visitors to campus, including several who chartered a bus from the Dallas area. They attended worship, sat in on classes with Professors Cynthia Rigby or David Jensen, and enjoyed a box lunch with the Seminary community. The 2010 Nancy Taylor Williamson Distinguished Scholars Conference took place April 9-10. The conference theme was “Children, Youth, Church, and Culture.” Fourteen invited scholars included Austin Seminary’s Allan Cole, Dave Jensen, and David White; Jon Berquist, Jerome Berryman, and academicians Marcia Bunge, Pamela Couture, Joyce Ann Mercer, Bonnie Miller-McLemore, Evelyn Parker, Katherine Turpin, Bradley Wigger, Karen Marie Yust, and John Wall. The 2010 College of Pastoral Leaders Annual Conference was April 1214, at Austin Seminary; Professor Jennifer Lord was the keynote speaker. The George S. Heyer Lecture will be held on April 21. The speaker, Dr. Stephen Inrig, assistant professor (History of Medicine), Division of Ethics and Health Policy, at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, will present a historical perspective on the recent health care reform debate. The Association for Doctor of Ministry Education (ADME) 2010 Meeting will be held on the Austin Seminary campus, April 22-24. Dr. David Jones, director of Austin Seminary’s DMin program, serves as president of ADME. Guest speakers include Marsha Snulligan-Haney, Sam Haddad, and Carl Savage. 18
First Presbyterian, Bryan, lauded for commitment to Christian education
n the early 1980s, First Presbyterian Church, Bryan, Texas, received two bequests from members of the congregation. The funds were invested and, according to the pastor at the time, the Reverend Bob Leslie (MDiv’59), “The Session had, I thought, a terrific idea. They decided that the income would be used for two purposes: to enlarge the ministry and mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and to enlarge the ministry and mission of the First Presbyterian Church, Bryan.” After consulting with Austin Seminary’s interim president, C. Ellis Nelson (MDiv’40), the church offered to provide funding for continuing education seminars devoted to the topic of Christian education. “At that point there were not a lot of opportunities for continuing education in Christian education— especially affordable opportunities,” says Pam Engler, director of Christian education at FPC, Bryan, since 1983. “And so the intent was to make this affordable, not only for a person receiving a salary but for the volunteers who needed or wanted the training.” The church would pay honoraria and expenses to bring an expert to campus twice each year, and participants would only pay a small fee for registration and housing, if needed. Says Leslie, “That made it possible for people to come from churches of limited means as well as for those coming from the
Pam Engler, below left, receives a plaque from President Wardlaw commemorating her work over the past twenty-five years coordinating the Christian education seminars at Austin Seminary. Above, fans of the seminars gather to celebrate the Silver Anniversary of the program. very largest congregations.” For Leslie it was critical for the seminars be held on the Austin Seminary campus. “I’d had [Professor] Ellis Nelson for Christian education, and it was so superb that I really wanted other people to know that Austin Seminary had a concern for Christian education. I wanted to get people who were involved in Christian education—whether the professionally trained educators or the people who had the responsibility for devising and managing the Christian education work of a local church—to get on the Seminary campus. The resources that were available, not only in terms of bringing in outside educators to lead these seminars, but simply being on the campus, with the resources of persons and the library, would be invaluable to them in their future work.” For twenty-five years, many of the brightest stars in the constellation of Christian education have inspired countless participants to continue their work in local congreWINDOWS / Spring 2010
gations, many of whom have written the Session letters of appreciation. Part of Engler’s role has been as a liaison between the church and seminary. “We do try to be quite intentional about talking about the ties between this congregation and Austin Seminary,” she says. “I want the congregation to know how many lives they are able to impact, how many congregations are enriched by the fact that people from their churches attend these seminars. I know you can’t come up with an exact number on that, but it’s a lot.” “Because I have opted to be a pastor for forty-one years,” Leslie says, “I am very much aware of the
necessity of the seminary and local church to be constantly in conversation and dialogue, and this has been a way of facilitating and implementing that concept.” This extraordinary ongoing commitment on the part of First Presbyterian Church, Bryan—in particular the vision and tenacity of Bob Leslie and Pam Engler—was celebrated during the “Silver Anniversary” conference, “Envisioning the Future of Christian Education and Formation: Talking across Disciplines,” April 5-7, on the Austin Seminary campus.
Please name Austin Seminary in your estate plans.
FACULTY NEWS David Jensen inaugurated as full professor in Shelton Chapel ceremony
John Alsup, The First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, D. Thomason Professor of New Testament Studies, has written an extensive dialogue-review for the next issue of Horizons in Biblical Theology on D. C. Parker’s New Testament Manuscripts and Their Texts (Cambridge, 2008). He also led a Lenten Season study series at The Sunrise Beach Federated Church. Allan Cole, the Nancy Taylor Williamson Associate Professor of Pastoral Care, co-edited “Male Melancholia, Identity-Loss, and Religion,” published as a double issue of Pastoral Psychology, 58 nos. 5 & 6, 2009. He presented a paper, “What Makes Care Pastoral?” at the New Directions in Pastoral Theology at Union Seminary and delivered the lecture, “The Life of Prayer,” at The Moorings Presbyterian Church in Naples, Florida. Stitt Library Director Timothy Lincoln has been awarded a publication grant by the American Theological Library Association for his project, “Theological Students at Work: A Phenomenological Study.” The research focuses on the process of writing research papers undertaken by seminary students. In January Jennifer Lord, associate professor of homiletics, presented a paper and convened the Liturgical Language seminar group at the annual meeting of the North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL). She was elected Delegate for Seminars and now serves on the executive committee of NAAL. In February she became a member of the Presbytery of Arkansas. Academic Dean Michael Jinkins is serving as director of the 2010-11 Colloquy for Deans of Theological Schools for the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, the first such program for academic deans under the auspices of the Wabash Center. On March 2-5 he conducted congregational leadership workshops for the Presbytery of Northern Kansas. On April 17 he addressed The Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington D.C. on the subject: “The Life of the Mind in the Service of God: Why a Thinking Faith Still Matters.” Two recent essays were published on the “ResourcingChristianity” website of Union Presbyterian Seminary and in The Association of Theological Schools’ Colloquy. David Jones, director of the Doctor of Ministry program, spoke on March 30 to the Capital Area Psychological Association at their monthly meeting on “Revisiting Bowen Family Systems Theory: Its Therapeutic and Didactic Utility and Challenges.” Janet Maykus, principal of the College of Pastoral Leaders, was one of the speakers at the first Austin TEDx (a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”) Conference. She was the keynote speaker at the annual Society for the Advancement of Continuing Education in Ministry conference in Nashville; she also serves as president. Her article, “You’ve Come to the Right Place,” appeared on Duke University’s Faith and Leadership website. She also continues to study improv. W.C. Brown Professor of Theology Cynthia Rigby discussed the theolContinued on page 23
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
Allan Cole installed to the Nancy Taylor Williamson Chair of Pastoral Care
n March 24, 2010, Associate Professor Allan Hugh Cole Jr. was installed in the Nancy Taylor Williamson Distinguished Chair of Pastoral Care at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Cole is the first occupant of the chair which was established by the Board of Trustees in 2004. The ceremony was held in the Shelton Chapel on the Austin Seminary campus with Trustee Elizabeth Christian presiding. Also included in the service were Seminary President Theodore J. Wardlaw, Academic Dean Michael Jinkins, and Professors John Alsup, Lewis Donelson, Arun Jones, David Jensen, and Jennifer Lord. Nancy Williamson, for whom the chair is named, and her husband, Hugh Williamson, former member of the Austin Seminary Board of Trustees, were unable to attend because a sudden spring snow stranded them in their home city of Denver, Colorado. Nevertheless, President Wardlaw read remarks prepared by Mrs. Williamson, which spoke of her vision for the chair and her confidence in Dr. Cole as the first person to hold the position. Dr. Cole joined the faculty of Austin Seminary in 2003 and also serves as the Associate Dean for Masters Programs. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he previously served pastorates in upstate New York and on Long Island. He was a visiting lecturer in pastoral theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and a scholar-in-residence at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey. He holds the PhD and MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, an MS from Columbia University, and a BA from Davidson College. Cole is a member of the Society for Pastoral Theology, The American Academy of Religion, and he is also a Licensed Social Worker. His teaching and research interests include pastoral theology, loss and bereavement, anxiety, prayer and other faith practices, the psychology of religion, and congregational care. Cole serves as editor of the Journal of Childhood and Religion and serves on the editorial boards of two journals, Pastoral Psychology and Insights: The Faculty Journal of Austin Seminary. He also chairs the committee that oversees the Seminary’s dual degree program in social work with The University of Texas. Cole is author or editor of five books, including: The Life of Prayer: Mind, Body, and Soul (Westminster John Knox, 2009); Good Mourning: Getting through Your Grief (WJK, 2008); Be Not Anxious: Pastoral Care of Disquieted Souls (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2008); an edited volume, From Midterms to Ministry: Practical Theologians on Pastoral Beginnings (Eerdmans, 2008); and Losers, Loners, and Rebels: The Spiritual Struggles of Boys (WJK, 2007; coContinued on page 23 21
r. David Hadley Jensen was inaugurated as Professor of Constructive Theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary on March 11, 2010. Cassandra Carr, Chair of the Board of Trustees, presided over the service with assistance from Seminary President Theodore J. Wardlaw, Dean Michael Jinkins, and Professors Arun Jones, Cynthia Rigby, Allan Cole, and Lewis Donelson. D a v i d Jensen has been teaching at Austin Seminary since 2001. Prior to that, he taught theology, church history, and ethics at Manchester College in Indiana. Jensen earned a BA from Carleton College, an MAR from Yale University, and David Jensen celebrates his inauguration with his mother, the PhD from Gretchen Jensen, his wife, Molly, and daughter Grace, and Vanderbilt Unihis father, John Jensen, and aunt Marcia Knutson. versity. His teaching and research explore the interconnections between Christian theology and daily life. His inaugural address was titled, “Adopted Into the Family; Toward a Theology of Parenting.” Jensen’s books include Living Hope: The Future and Christian Faith (Westminster John Knox, 2010); The Lord and Giver of Life: Perspectives on Constructive Pneumatology (editor, Westminster John Knox, 2008); Responsive Labor: A Theology of Work (Westminster John Knox, 2006); Graced Vulnerability: A Theology of Childhood (The Pilgrim Press, 2005); and In the Company of Others: A Dialogical Christology (Pilgrim, 2001). He has a chapter, “The Bible and Sex” in the recent book, The Embrace of Eros: Bodies, Desires, and Sexuality in Christianity (Margaret Kamitsuka, editor, Fortress Press, 2010). Jensen is currently working on two book manuscripts—one that develops a theology of human sexuality and another that reflects on the experience of parenting in light of Christian faith. He is also editor of a book series with Fortress Press, “Mindful Living,” that encourages theological reflection on everyday practices such as eating, shopping, playing, and working. Professor Jensen is on the steering committee of the Childhood Studies and Religion group of the American Academy of Religion and serves on the editorial board of four journals, including Religious Studies Review and Austin Seminary’s faculty journal, Insights, for which he served as editor in 2009. Jensen has been appointed acting academic dean beginning in the Fall 2010 Continued on page 23
CONTINUING EDUCATION NEWS Professors publish and contribute to new volumes
The Dean’s Bookshelf
What’s the faculty reading?
Pastors in El Paso learned about “Living the Kingdom: A Theology of Play” from Professor Rigby, center. ogy in the works of author Marilyn Robinson on a radio broadcast which aired in Australia. In March she appeared on a podcast for “God Complex Radio” and gave a presentation for an ecumenical group of pastors in El Paso.
he College of Pastoral Leaders has awarded grants to sixty-nine clergy forming sixteen cohort groups to pursue renewal projects during 20102012. A partial list appears below; the remainder will appear in the Summer issue of Windows. The next grant application deadline is October 31, 2010.
Belhar Confession Robert A. Arbogast, Olentangy Christian Reformed Church, Columbus, OH G. David Daley, West Park Christian Reformed Church, Cleveland, OH Edson Lewis Jr., Olentangy Christian Reformed Church, Emeritus, Columbus, OH Thea Lunk, Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI Jung Un Park, All Nations Community Church-Christian Reformed, Toledo, OH George Vander Weit, Han-Bit Korean Church, Emeritus-Christian Reformed, Rochester Hills, MI Harry R. Winters, Akron Christian Reformed Church, Akron, OH Empire Slayers David W. Collins III, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Karnes City, TX Philip C. Holck, Good News Lutheran Church, San Antonio, TX Laura Holck, St. Mark Lutheran Church, Adkins, TX Michael C.Lawrence-Weden, Peace and Lord of Life Lutheran Churches, San Antonio, TX Hardcore Christianity Ryan Kemp-Pappan, Douglass Boulevard Christian Church, Louisville, KY Adele L. Sakler, Non-Denominational ministry, Citrus Heights, CA Andrew Tatusko, Mount Aloysius College-Presbyterian, Duncansville, PA Meredith White-Zeager, Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Lakewood, OH Lemmings Joseph F. Hastings, Catholic Relief Services-Western Region, Seattle, WA Linda Lopez Liang, St. Peter R.C. Parish, Seattle, WA Helen West Osterle, St. James R. C. Cathedral Parish, Seattle, WA Michael Ramos, Church Council of Greater Seattle (R.C.), Seattle, WA Patricia C. Repikoff, Hispanic Services-Eastside Catholic Deanery, Shoreline, WA Ronald L. Ryan, St. Anne R.C. Parish, Seattle, WA Patricia Wittman-Todd, St. Mary R.C. Parish, Seattle, WA Liminality William J. Christman, Oxford Hospice and First Presbyterian Church , Baxter Springs, KS James Mitchell Fisher, Oxford Hospice and Center Baptist Church, Ash Grove, MO Buddy L. Horn, Oxford Health Care Hospice-Unity Church, Lampe, MO Clifford B.Rawley, Oxford Health Care Hospice-United Methodist , Springfield, MO Franklin D. Regan Jr., Oxford Health Care Hospice-Assemblies of God, Springfield, MO Spirituality of Terroir David J. Clark, Ankeny Christian Church, Ankeny, IA Timothy C. Diebel, First Christian Church, Des Moines, IA Alan Lobaugh, University Christian Church, Fort Worth, TX William H. Steward, Grace United Methodist Church, Des Moines, IA Soul Friends Virgil M. Fry, Lifeline Chaplaincy-United Church of Christ, Houston, TX David Martin, Lifeline Chaplaincy-United Church of Christ, Fort Worth, TX Tommy D. Nuckles, Lifeline Chaplaincy-United Church of Christ, Austin, TX Paul W. Riddle, Lifeline Chaplaincy-United Church of Christ, Houston, TX Jesse R. Stroup, Lifeline Chaplaincy-United Church of Christ, Dallas, TX Transformers: Pastors in Disguise Patricia R. Case, General Assembly of the Christian Church (DOC), Indianapolis, IN Rebecca L. Hale, General Office of the Christian Church (DOC), Indianapolis, IN Gene Lawson, Real Faith Christian Church, Clarksdale, MS Dawn D. Weaks, Raytown Christian Church, Raytown, MO Voice Lessons Katheryn Barlow-Williams, Oak Hills Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX Sue A. Ebersberger, Norriton Presbyterian Church, Fairview Village, PA Linda E. Owens, Bound Brook Presbyterian Church, Bound Brook, NJ Ann Marie Quigley-Swanson, Northwoods Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX Heather Parkinson Wright, Greenwich Chaplaincy Services-Presbyterian, Greenwich, CT
ometimes we are asked, “What’s the faculty reading?” So I asked them. Their responses are all over the map. Some professors are reading (perhaps predictably) books related to their teaching and research interests. Cindy Rigby, professor of theology, for example, is reading Daniel Migliore’s The Power of God and the gods of Power. She says that the book reflects in new ways on the sovereignty of God, especially in the midst of an increasingly pluralistic culture. Jennifer Lord teaches homiletics, and her interest in matters liturgical has led her to David Mellot’s book, I Was Dust and I Am Dust: Penitente Practices as a Way of Knowing. She says that she has long been curious about particular Roman Catholic Christians “whose Holy Week practices include private rituals of flagellation and other acts of penance.” The author of this book, she continues, “was welcomed into one Penitente community, the Northern New Mexico village of Arroyo Seco, and was granted great access” to this community’s practices. Our professor of Christian education, David White, is reading Gordon Mikoski’s, Baptism and Christian Identity: Teaching in the Triune Name. David notes Mikoski’s remarkable ability to understand the deep connections between Christian education and Christian worship. I certainly don’t want to give the impression that our professors are only reading books in their scholarly fields, as important as this is. John Alsup, long-time professor of New Testament, reports that he has been reading Patrick Taylor’s trilogy, An Irish Country Doctor, An Irish Country Village, and An Irish Country Christmas, which were recommended to him by Kay Lewis, widow of our late colleague and friend Alan Lewis. Timothy Lincoln, our librarian, has been reading John LeCarre’s Mission Song (as well as Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics and Praxis by Richard Berstein, a book that—you guessed it!—Bill Greenway, our professor of philosophical theology, suggested to him). And Lewie Donelson, our other long-time professor of New Testament and a devoted reader of contemporary poetry, is reading The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni as well as the private orations of Demosthenes, in Greek. But, then, Lewie is the only person I know who reads Jacques Derrida in French for fun. Also just for the fun of it, I’ll mention two great new books from my bedside table: Rebecca Skloot’s moving and fascinating, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; and Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith’s Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life. Michael Jinkins (DMin’83) Academic Dean
wo Austin Seminary professors have seen their research energies come to fruition in the publication of new books for the church. W. C. Brown Professor of Theology Cynthia L. Rigby has written Promotion of Social Righteousness (Witherspoon Press, 2010), and Jennifer Lord, associate professor of homiletics, is the author of Finding Language and Imagery: Words for Holy Speech (Fortress Press, 2010, part of the “Elements of Preaching” series).
Continued from page 20 semester while Michael Jinkins is on sabbatical. Jensen’s experience in ministry includes serving as director of children’s programs at Nancy Webb Kelly United Methodist Church in inner city Nashville, Tennessee. In 1990-91, he spent a year teaching English in the mountains of Austria. A native of Oregon, Jensen is a member of University Presbyterian Church in Austin and says he is happiest when spending time outside with his wife, Molly, and their children, Grace and Finn.
John J. Ahn, assistant professor of Old Testament, is coeditor with Stephen L. Cook of a new book, Thus Says the Lord: Essays on the Former and Latter Prophets in Honor of Robert R. Wilson (T & T Clark, 2009). Ahn also contributed an essay to the book, “Zephaniah, A Disciple of Isaiah?” David H. Jensen, professor of constructive theology, has published a chapter, “The Bible and Sex,” in the book The Embrace of Eros: Bodies, Desires, and Sexuality in Christianity (Margaret Kamitsuka, ed., Fortress Press, 2010), and Janet Maykus, principal of the College of Pastoral Leaders, has a chapter in A Lifelong Call to Learn Continuing Education for Religious Leaders, Bruce Roberts and Robert Reber, eds., published by Alban Institute.
Continued from page 21 authored with Robert C. Dykstra and Donald Capps). Professor Cole is also author of numerous chapters in edited volumes and reference books in the fields of pastoral theology, the psychology of religion, preaching (commentaries), and social work. Cole is married to Tracey Cole and they are parents to two little girls, Meredith and Holly.
WINDOWS / Spring 2010
Lana Russell to serve as liaison to graduates and congregations
to Rachel Doris Smith, daughter of Monica T. Smith (MDiv’99) and Andy Smith (MDiv’99), born on January 25, 2010. to Caroline Moses, daughter of Alex Moses (MDiv’01) and Jennifer K. Moses, born in December 2009. New Mexico, Sierra Blanca Presbytery and Santa Fe Presbytery. Classes reunions for 1960 and 1970 brought several folks back to campus during the 2010 MidWinters. On hand for the reunion luncheon were Fred Morgan (MDiv’71), J Carter King (MDiv’70), Gene March (MDiv’60), Ken Altfather (MDiv’70), Barbara Altfather, and Ralph Bucy (MDiv’52).
he Reverend Lana E. Russell is Austin Seminary’s director of church and alumni/ae relations. She joined the staff in January after five years as associate pastor at Kirk in the Hills Presbyt e r i a n Church in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Russell formed early ties to Austin Seminary when she took classes as a Special Student from 1988-1993—both at the Seminary’s West Texas extension, where she served on the board, and on the Austin campus. Before entering seminary full time, she served on the board of St. Andrew’s Mission of Tres Rios Presbytery and the Midland Association of Churches; she was executive director for the Midland affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. She earned Master of Divinity (2003) and Master of Theology (2004) degrees from Princeton Seminary where she received the Charles H. Jagow Preaching Prize and the Charles H. Jagow Prize in Homiletics and Speech. She is a fellow in the inaugural class of the Institute for Pastoral Leadership at Princeton. “Building and maintaining strong relationships with our alumni/ae and Synod congregations are an institutional priority,” says Donna Scott, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “I am thrilled to have Lana at Austin Seminary and serving in this role. I am confident she will represent both of these constituencies well.”
Phillip Faris (MDiv’93) was installed as pastor of Graceminster Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana, on February 28, 2010.
Derek Forbes (MDiv’08), above left, puts the finishing touches on the communion table he handcrafted for the Stanley R. Hall Liturgy Lab, dedicated during MidWinters. Monica Hall (MDiv’08), right, offers encouragement.
New ASA Board members announced
During the ASA Banquet and Annual Meeting the following alumni/ae were elected to the serve on the ASA Board: Belinda Windham (MDiv’91), president; Richard Culp (MDiv’93, DMin’01), president-elect; along with new members Judy Baskin (MDiv’02), Aquanetta Hicks (MDiv’08), Kathleen Hignight (MDiv’95), Ryan Kemp-Pappan (MDiv’08), and Catherine Robinson (MDiv’86).
Corrine “Sis” Smith McGehee, wife of Bob McGehee (MDiv ’57), died in Decatur, Alabama, April 25, 2009.* Fred H. Babb (MDiv’59) is serving as Interim Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Hillsboro, Texas.
W. Alexander Moses (MDiv’01) was called to serve as senior pastor of Fayette Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, Georgia (Atlanta). Melani Longoni (MDiv’03) directed the Third Annual Retreat for the Arizona Association of Independent Catholic Clergy. The theme for the day was “exploring the use of feminine imagery to point toward the mystery that is God.” Jennifer J. Rogers (MDiv’04) wed Adam C. Cooper on January 2, 2010, in Germany. Rick Brooks (MDiv’05) and his wife, Teri, suffered two recent losses: their son, Adam, died on April 4 and Teri’s mother, Jane Brown, died on April 7. Ryan Kemp-Pappan (MDiv’09) made an appearance on “God Complex Radio,” March 12, discussing the recently deceased theologian Mary Daly. The program is co-founded by Austin alumnus Carol Howard Merritt (MDiv ’05).
Juan I. Herrera Ortegon (MDiv’07) to serve First Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg, Florida Mitchell S. Holley (MDiv’08) to Air Force chaplaincy in Irving, Texas Teresa L. Summers-Minette (MDiv’08) to serve Grace Presbyterian Church in Grove, Oklahoma Christopher J. Kirwan (MDiv’09) to serve Williamston Presbyterian Church in Williamston, North Carolina Joseph M. Moore (MDiv’09) to serve Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas Matthew L. Thompson (MDiv’09) to serve First Presbyterian Church in Lamesa, Texas
Carol S. Wood (MDiv ’80) recently retired from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Anne E. Clifton (MDiv’87) married David E. Hébert on January 30, 2010, at First Presbyterian Church in Garland, Texas, where she is the pastor. Sallie Watson (MDiv’87) has been called as Regional Presbyter/Stated Clerk of two governing bodies in
Jack K. Bennett (ThM’58) New Braunfels, Texas, January 21, 2010* Reynaldo N. Suarez (MDiv’66) Houston, Texas, January 7, 2010 Toney D. McMillan (MDiv’67) Arkadelphia, Arkansas, November 22, 2009 Clinton C. Rabb (MDiv’74) Hawthorne, New York, January 17, 2010 J. Michael Chadwick (MDiv’76) Fort Worth, Texas, October 20, 2009 James M. Davis (MDiv’80) Carrollton, Texas, December 8, 2009 Leslie G. Andrew (MDiv’81) January 22, 2010, Bella Vista, Arkansas
Outgoing ASA President Patty Hernden (MDiv’93) presides over the business meeting at the ASA Banquet.
* For more from Austin Seminary alumni/ae go to
Sunday, May 30 at 2:30 p.m.
University Presbyterian Church
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
100 East 27th Street, Austin, Texas 78705-5797
The Reverend Thomas L. Are Jr. Commencement Speaker
Non Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Austin, Texas Permit No. 2473
Saturday, May 20 The Rev. Dr. Arun Jones and The Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Rigby Preaching and Presiding at Table
All Are Invited!
Stitt Library receives rare book
Mrs. Lu Brannon (seated), widow of John Brannon (MDiv’52), and Phil and Kathy McLarty (standing at left) donated a 1655 edition of The History of the Church of Scotland by John Spotswood, to the Stitt Library in March. Paul (who was born while his father was a Seminary student) and Peggy Brannon joined their mother. Stitt Library Director Timothy Lincoln gave the Brannons a tour of the campus. “I knew everyone the buildings are named after!” said Mrs. Brannon.
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