PC(USA) seminary news – September 2016

A compilation of news from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and other seminaries

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – A compilation of news from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seminaries including Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, McCormick Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, San Francisco Theological Seminary and Union Presbyterian Seminary; and other pertinent seminary news.

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

 Austin Seminary Launches Master of Arts in Youth Ministry Program

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary has announced a new degree program, the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry (MAYM), in partnership with the Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT). Course offerings start this fall.

Austin Seminary has designed the degree program offering in a retreat-based format where students come to the Seminary three times each semester. The program requires 44 hours of course-work, providing theological education as well as an environment for practical reflection. Graduate residents gain experience in a 3-year supervised practicum as a youth director in a local church while earning the degree.

Applications for this program are initiated through the Center for Youth Ministry Training. To apply, visit www.cymt.org/residents or contact Courtney Wilson at Courtney@cymt.org for more information.

Information about the MAYM program may be found at http://www.austinseminary.edu/MAYM.

 Aggen family endows Hal and Martha Hopson Symposium Fund at Austin Seminary

Maria Hopson Aggen and George Thomas Aggen made a gift to Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary to endow The Hal H. and Martha S. Hopson Symposium Fund, honoring the lives and work of Maria’s parents.

The purpose of the fund is to promote the life of music and worship in the church and to enhance the work of the faculty holder of The Gene Alice Sherman Chair of Sacred Music. The symposium fund will make possible a variety of opportunities such as conferences, guest speakers and musicians, residencies, hymn song festivals, commissioning of hymns and songs, partnering opportunities with other organizations, music and worship related forums, workshops and special assemblies.

Hal Hopson is one of the most prolific composers of church music of his generation. With more than 1,800 published works, for 30 publishers, his compositions appear in major denominational hymnals, including more than one dozen in Glory to God, The Presbyterian Hymnal.

 Columbia Theological Seminary

New Dean of Students Appointed at Columbia Seminary

The Rev. Brandon T. Maxwell will be appointed as the new Dean of Students at Columbia Theological Seminary. Maxwell currently serves as the Assistant Director of Admissions at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and as Pastor of Worship & Spiritual Formation at Park Avenue Baptist Church in Atlanta.

“Brandon stood out as a gifted candidate with rich experiences in business management, pastoral ministry and academic administration,” said President Leanne Van Dyk who made the appointment. “He understands both how to organize systems and engage people personally, which is a valuable combination for our community.”

Maxwell holds an M.Div. from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, as well as both a B.B.A. in Management and a B.A. in Religion from Belmont University. In 2012-2013 he was a Lutherischer WeltBund Fellow at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, Germany.

New Associate Dean for Worship Life Appointed at Columbia Seminary

This summer, Columbia Seminary welcomed Dr. Rebecca Spurrier as the new Associate Dean for Worship Life and Assistant Professor of Worship. The Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of the search committee and President Van Dyk. Interim Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Christine Roy Yoder stated, “Worship is central and vital to the Columbia Seminary community. We are delighted that Dr. Spurrier is here and look forward very much to her leadership.”

Spurrier is a recent Ph.D. graduate from Emory University in Theological Studies. She also holds an M.Div. from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and a B.A. from Calvin College. Her interests include a theology and practice of public worship that reflects the beauty and tension human difference brings to Christian liturgy. Engaging ethnographic theology, disability studies and liturgical aesthetics, her research explores the hope of human interdependence and the importance of liturgical access for ecclesial practice and Christian community.

Leadership in Ministry Faculty to Gather for First Time at the Center for Lifelong Learning

The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant from the Pastoral Excellence Network for its Leadership in Ministry program (LIM). The grant will enable the CLL to gather fourteen LIM faculty members at the Center for Lifelong Learning on the campus of Columbia Theological Seminary. In the spring of 2017 the LIM workshops will become part of the Pastoral Excellence Program of the CLL, with sites in Atlanta, Portland, Boston and Lost River, West Virginia.

The LIM workshops were founded in 1992 by Dr. Lawrence Matthews who served on the faculty of Edwin H. Friedman’s clergy training program.  The workshops focus on providing clergy with a “theory of practice” through the lens of Bowen Family Systems Theory and the leadership concepts of Dr. Friedman. Dr. Robert L. Dibble has been coordinator since 2010.

Click here for full story about LIM Workshops.

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Beth Herrinton-Hodge named Louisville Seminary’s New Academic Support Center Director

The Rev. Beth Herrinton-Hodge, an academic coach and adjunct instructor at the Jefferson Community and Technical College (Shelby County) and Shelby County Adult Education, has been named Director of the Academic Support Center at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Herrinton-Hodge, who is an ordained Teaching Elder and a Certified Christian Educator in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), began her work at the seminary August 22, 2016.

As Louisville Seminary’s Academic Support Center (ASC) Director, Herrinton-Hodge will oversee the center’s programs that assist students, faculty and staff with the various aspects of academic writing, critical analysis, study skills and reading. The center’s services include one-on-one and group tutorials in research and writing, English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring for international students, an online writing lab and accommodations for students with learning disabilities.

Felicia LaBoy to be installed as BCS/Advanced Learning Associate Dean and Assistant BCS Professor at Louisville Seminary’s fall convocation

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will kick off its 163rd academic year with its Opening Convocation, which takes place Thursday, September 8, 2016. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be held at the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel located on Louisville Seminary’s campus (1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, KY 40205). The public is invited to attend.

A highlight of this fall’s Convocation is the formal installation of the Rev. Dr. Felicia Howell LaBoy as Associate Dean of Black Church Studies and Advanced Learning and Assistant Professor of Black Church Studies. LaBoy, a recognized expert in the fields of faith-based community development, social justice, evangelism, racial reconciliation and leadership development, joined the seminary’s faculty in 2015.

Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture and Workshop is September 11-12

The Women’s Center at Louisville Seminary welcomes the Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer to campus on Sunday, September 11, and Monday, September 12, as part of the center’s biennial Katie Geneva Cannon Lectureship and Workshop.

Aymer, an associate professor of New Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, will present “A Stewardship of Incarnation” at 7 p.m. on September 11. In her comments, Aymer will make an argument against a focus on privilege and toward a focus on incarnation as the primary matter at the heart of social justice. On September 12, at 10 a.m., Aymer will facilitate a workshop, “Reading from the Margins” at Louisville Seminary’s Laws Lodge. The workshop will address those who are marginalized in the biblical context and our own, and discover how this work will affect how we teach, preach and do ministry together.

The lecture, workshop and luncheon are free to all who attend, but registration is required for the September 12 workshop. To register and for more information, contact the Rev. Dr. Maxine Thomas at mthomas@lpts.edu or (502) 894-2285.

Louisville Seminary’s Fall Exploratory Weekend is October 7-8

Registration is open for Louisville Seminary’s Fall 2016 Exploratory Weekend October 7-8. This is an opportunity for those interested in attending Louisville Seminary to meet with faculty, students and staff, attend classes, tour the campus, join the community in worship and explore metropolitan Louisville. For more information and to register, see http://www.lpts.edu/admissions/visit-our-campus.

McCormick Theological Seminary

Ken Sawyer to be inaugurated professor of Church History

McCormick will open its 187th academic year with Convocation and the inauguration of Kenneth S. Sawyer, Ph.D. as professor of Church History. Convocation, which signals the official start of the new term, is an opportunity for grateful worship and the celebration of new beginnings. Our Convocation service will be held Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. in the Augustana Chapel at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street. A reception will follow the service in the Buchanan Lounge. Read more about Ken Sawyer’s contributions to McCormick here.

McCormick to offer Dr. Jeremiah Wright Scholars DMin Program

This fall, McCormick welcomes a new cohort into a three-year doctor of ministry program that will examine the intersections of prophetic ministry and the Black Atlantic Diaspora. Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, along with McCormick’s faculty, will provide students with an unprecedented opportunity to deeply engage in the cultural and theological formation of the church as well as participate in study tours to West Africa and South Africa.

Second Visionary Award honors Dr. William G. Enright

This year’s Visionary Award Dinner will celebrate the ministry of Dr. William Enright (Th.M. ’65). A former McCormick board member and the Senior Pastor Emeritus of Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Dr. Enright has helped churches and faith-based organizations across the country reimagine their conversations and convictions about stewardship and giving. The founding Karen Lake Buttrey Director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, he has been a powerful voice in the church and a visionary leader in the work on race and interfaith relations in civic life.

The Visionary Awards Dinner will be held Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis. For sponsorship opportunities or ticket information, email Lisa Dagher or call 773-947-6320.

Dr. Allan Boesak Keynotes McCormick Days October 20-21, 2016
Unless the Cry is Heard, the City Cannot Flourish

People flourish when there is justice, dignity, and peace. When injustice reigns, a cry rises up that must be answered.  Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, the Desmond Tutu Chair of Peace, Global Justice and Reconciliation Studies at Christian Theological Seminary, will encourage us to listen to the cries of hopeful defiance and respond with the compassionate action of Christ. His keynote address, which will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20, will invite us to look and listen for ways to make our cities, countries, and societies flourishing spaces for all.

A dynamic line up of alumni, professors, liturgists, students, artists, social justice advocates, and thought leaders will challenge your thinking and motivate your actions at this year’s McCormick Days. Register now and be prepared to join fellow alums for two days of inspiring preaching, film screening, practical ministry information, and networking opportunities. Check out each day’s schedule and speaker bios here.

Introductory course for Certificate in Latin@ Theology to be offered this fall 

This fall, an introduction course, the Tasks of Latin@ Practical Theology, will be taught by Rev. Daniel Rodriguez-Diaz, Ph.D. Offered over several weekends, the course will explore the vocation of becoming a “practical theologian” in Hispanic ministry, examine two models for doing theology from a Hispanic location and perspective, and provide basic skills and knowledge to do bibliographical research.

Tuition reduced for Certificate in Black Church Studies

To allow for broader participation in the Certificate in Black Church Studies program, the tuition has been reduced. This weekend program, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Stacey Edwards-Dunn, director of the Center for African American Ministries and Black Church Studies, will sharpen a pastor’s or lay leader’s skills in preaching, leadership, Bible, Black sacred music, administration, pastoral care, ethics, history, and theology. Classes start this fall.

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Violence in Scripture: Online Continuing Education Course

Jerome Creach, Robert C. Holland Professor of Old Testament at Pittsburgh Seminary, will teach the online non-credit course “Violence in Scripture” Sept. 26-Oct. 21, 2016. During these four weeks, students will explore the problem of violence in its many forms as it appears and seems to be accepted and sometimes even promoted in Scripture. The goal of the class will be to offer ways of reading passages that contain violent language and imagery in order to understand them as part of the “good news,” God’s word for us. The class will be self-paced and available for participants to engage with the instruction at their own convenience, i.e. instruction is offered asynchronously with no set times that you need to sit in front of your computer. Learn more.

McClure Lectures in World Mission and Evangelism to be Held Sept. 26-27

The annual W. Don McClure Lectures will be held Sept. 26-27, 2016, at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Keynote speaker, Stephen Bevans—Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD Professor Emeritus of Mission and Culture at Catholic Theological Union—will address the topic of “Transforming Mission.” These lectures and discussions are free and open to the public. Additionally, the World Mission Initiative will host a dinner Sept. 26 in celebration of Director Don Dawson and Associate Director Jen Haddox who are transitioning from leadership positions with WMI. Learn more.

Webinar: Are We There Yet? Safe Travels with Youth

In this prerecorded webinar, Lisa Brown explores “Are We There Yet? Safe Travels with Youth.” During this hour-long presentation she discusses a comprehensive overview of best practices and insights on how to survive travelling with youth groups. Tips range from what type of suitcase works best to guidance on group travel in rural or urban areas. Access the webinar online.

Merit- and Need-based Aid Now Available for Part-time Students

Pittsburgh Seminary now offers financial aid to part-time students. Those enrolled in a graduate degree program for six credit hours per term may qualify for need- and merit-based aid as well as a 50 percent discount off the first class. “We believe that God continues to call people for ministry and we want to make that preparation a reality,” said James Downey, vice president for enrollment, planning, and institutional effectiveness. Learn more about the Seminary’s financial aid program and policies. Rolling admissions allows students to also start courses in September, November, and March.

Kelso Museum Opens New Exhibit

“Tell er Rumeith: An Outpost on the Incense Road,” a new exhibit at the Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology, profiles a site on the Syrian border in northern Jordan, biblical Gilead, excavated by Paul Lapp in 1962 and 1967. Drawing on a recently published excavation report on the site edited by Nancy Lapp, the Museum’s curator emerita, and Tristan Barako, the exhibit focuses on 930 BCE to 730 BCE, a period of conflict between Israel, Aram and Assyria, when Rumeith was permanently occupied, first as an outpost guarding the fertile Irbid plain and later as a farming village. The exhibit also explores evidence that the site was a stopping place on the caravan route to Damascus both during its period of occupation and later during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

The Museum is open to the public during the summer Wednesday-Saturday 12:00-4:00 p.m. and during the academic year Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. To schedule your visit, call 412-924-1394, visit the website, or simply stop in.

Princeton Theological Seminary

The Church and the 2016 Presidential Campaign

Princeton Theological Seminary will host a conference to address the church’s role in the public realm during times of political conflict and unrest.

“Civil Courage: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and American Politics Today,” will be held Thursday, September 29 from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Daniel J. Theron Assembly Room in the Princeton Theological Seminary Library, 25 Library Place in Princeton.

Anne Lamott and Diana Butler Bass to Headline 3rd Annual Frederick Buechner Writer’s Workshop at Princeton Seminary

The Frederick Buechner Center and Princeton Theological Seminary are pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Frederick Buechner Writer’s Workshop. Slated for June 6–9, 2017 at Princeton Seminary, best-selling authors Anne Lamott and Diana Butler Bass will headline the event. Registration information is forthcoming and will be available on the websites of both organizations.

For more information about the writer’s workshop, contact Brian Allain at info@frederickbuechner.com, or Dayle Gillespie Rounds at coned@ptsem.edu.

Union Presbyterian Seminary

Remembering T. Hartley Hall, fifth President of Union Presbyterian Seminary

President Emeritus T. Hartley Hall IV (M.Div.’57) died Thursday, August 18 in Asheville, North Carolina. Dr. Hall served as the fifth president of Union Presbyterian Seminary (then Union Theological Seminary) from 1981-1994.

In 1954, Hall entered Union Theological Seminary as a student. He graduated cum laude in 1957 with the Bachelor of Divinity degree. Ordained by East Hanover Presbytery in 1957, he graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1958 with the Master of Sacred Theology degree in New Testament Studies. While at Yale he served as assistant pastor of First Congregational Church, Branford, Connecticut, and later as interim pastor.

Hall has served as a campus Christian life minister in Raleigh, North Carolina; as Presbyterian chaplain at North Carolina State University; pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Lenoir, North Carolina; and pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Tyler, Texas. Prior to assuming the presidency at Union, he served as the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tennessee, from 1973-1981.

He is survived by his four children and their grandchildren.

Union witnesses history at General Assembly

This year, Portland, Oregon played host to the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that kicked off June 18th. The week long event made history with the election of co-moderators for the first time, Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston, as well as adopting The Belhar Confessions into the Book of Confessions. Union graduates, alums, professors and staff were on hand not only in leadership roles, but as people helping shape the direction of the denomination.

Several members of our faculty and staff shared their talents and insight with the General Assembly. Dean, Charlotte campus, Richard Boyce and Assistant Professor of Christian Education Sung Hee Chang (M.A.C.E.’99; Ph.D.’09) were asked by Union alum and the Moderator for the 221st General Assembly, Heath Rada (M.A.’70) to develop a Bible study for the event. Their curriculum, “Messy Tables, Messy Mission,” was used in both Monday and Tuesday’s Bible study by the assembly at large. Director of Admissions Mairi Renwick (M.Div.’11) and Associate Director of Admissions Lisa McLennan (M.Div.’13) represented Union at the Seminary Fair, giving information about our degree programs, new initiatives and continuing education.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Evangelism John Vest from the Richmond Campus offered the keynote address, “Cultivating a Culture of Evangelism,” at the Union Presbyterian Seminary Alumni Luncheon. The alums also heard from President Brian K. Blount and Director of Alumni Development Clay Macaulay. During the luncheon, the newly elected co-moderators visited to give a quick word to the group. Denise Anderson is a pastor from National Capital Presbytery and Jan Edmiston is a presbytery executive from Chicago. Over 80 Union and PSCE alums gathered together in fellowship.


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?