The Reverend Michael Fesenko, who graduated from Princeton in 1929 and now lives in Toronto, Canada, recently joined classmates in voting for the alumnus/a representative to the PTS Board of Trustees. He is 100 years old. Mr. Fesenko, congratulations and thank you for your continued involvement with PTS!
The Reverend Craig Barnes, pastor of National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and a PTS trustee, was a plenary speaker at the 2001 National Conference for Men of the PCUSA. The April conference took place in Memphis, Tennessee. The theme, “Men in Mission: Sharing Our Daily Bread,” was taken from the Lord’s Prayer, “with the idea that as men we’re asking for the strength to do something and to make a difference.”
The Reverend Dr. James H. Logan Jr., a 1981 PTS M.Div. graduate, was recently elected to the Seminary’s Board of Trustees. Logan is pastor of Bread of Life Christian Ministry, a PCUSA church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is also adjunct professor of urban ministry at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte campus) and professor of homiletics at More Conquerors College in Charlotte.
William P. Thompson, a PTS trustee emeritus, was given the Lazarus Project’s Lazarus Award in February. The Lazarus Project is a ministry of reconciliation between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, a mission of West Hollywood Presbyterian Church in California. The award is given annually “to a person outside the project who has either sought reconciliation between the church and the gay and lesbian community, or who has advanced the spirituality of the gay and lesbian community.”
Black History Month
Black History Month (February) at PTS explored the theme “From Chaos Back to Community: Challenges for the Black Church Today.” At the opening worship service, Cain Hope Felder, professor of New Testament at Howard University School of Divinity, dared his listeners to search for the African presence in the Bible and examine its significance. Another highlight of the month was “Voices of the Movement,” a program featuring participants in the civil rights struggle who shared their reflections and testimonies. Joan
Martin, professor of Christian ethics at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, delivered this year’s Geddes W. Hanson lecture: “Same Ol’ Same Ol’ or New Possibilities: The Pastor As Scholar.” The celebration continued with a Soul Food Dinner in Mackay Dining Hall, where attendees enjoyed a live jazz ensemble. Throughout February, the Seminary’s cable television station aired influential and educational African or African American programs. A worship service featuring seven PTS students each delivering a sermonette on a biblical figure drew out themes of separation, reconciliation, and worth. The month closed with an “Evening Hour of Power” worship service featuring Reginald L. Hudson, pastor of Union Baptist Church in New York.
|Mark Your Calendar!
Mark your calendar for the biennial Black Alumni/ae Conference 2001, to be held October 11-13. This year’s theme is “The Challenges of the Black Church in the 21st Century,” and leaders will include Jim Forbes, M. William Howard, DeForest B. Soaries Jr., and PTS professor Brian Blount. The conference is sponsored by PTS and organized by the Black Concerns Council of the faculty, the Alumni/ae Office, the Association of Black Seminarians, and the Center of Continuing Education. Contact Dean Foose (609-497-7782) for more information.
“Fit” for Ministry
Walking the labyrinth, having a massage,
eating a “healthy foods” dinner: these were just some of the experiences
PTSers had during the Seminary’s fourth annual Festival for Fitness in
Sponsored in part by a grant from the
Presbyterian Church (USA) and by the Seminary’s Office of Student Affairs,
the weeklong event brought healthcare practitioners and resource
organizations to campus to offer information and workshops to students,
staff, and faculty.
The festival’s centerpiece was a daylong
health fair and labyrinth walk. Students could stop by the Main Lounge to
visit booths advancing low blood pressure, financial planning, spiritual
direction, chiropractic care, yoga, natural food, and biofeedback. Then they
could descend to the Auditorium to walk the labyrinth, an ancient spiritual
tool known for its transformative and healing qualities.
labyrinth is a large cloth laid out on the floor imprinted with
the pattern of a winding circle, a metaphor for the spiritual path through
life. “Walking the labyrinth is a form of meditation and prayer, a
metaphor for going home to your inner self, home to God,” writes PTS alum
Lauren Artress in her book Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the
Labyrinth As a Spiritual Tool.
Nancy Schongalla-Bowman, PTS’s director of
student counseling and one of the festival planners, believes the fitness
festival did a lot to make students aware of the stress that can come with
ministry. “Stress comes with the labyrinth of life,” she said.
“Burnout comes from feeling chronically overwhelmed. We can forget that
stress can be our teacher, prompting us to take better care of ourselves.”
She hopes the festival gave participants a
“deepened awareness of grace and new intention to handle stress more
The festival also included a service of
healing led by PTS professor Abigail Rian Evans. Following the Christian
church’s historical tradition of healing, it observed prayers of faith,
the laying on of hands, and anointing with oil.
The Faces of Mary
Church musicians, pastors, Christian educators, and those interested in the intersection of theology and the arts gathered on campus in February for “Faces of Mary,” a two-day presentation of lectures, poetry, and music in celebration and remembrance of the mother of God.
Kathleen McVey, PTS professor of church history and “Faces of Mary” lecturer, said, “Attention to Mary is important because she has been so significant for the tradition of the church throughout the world and for most of Christian history. Until the sixteenth-century Reformation in Europe, she was as unquestioned a subject for art, music, theological reflection, and popular piety as Jesus himself.”
The conference and its participants took up, as McVey suggested, “a reevaluation of Mary’s role in Christian piety and culture.”
That reevaluation included, according to PTS professor of biblical theology and “Faces of Mary” lecturer Clifton Black, an examination of the humanity Mary injects into the Christian faith, especially during eras when images of Christ have been “rarified or frighteningly distant.”
Featuring the Princeton University Chapel Choir under the direction of Penna Rose and sponsored by PTS’s Center of Continuing Education and the Berkshire Institute for Theology and the Arts, “Faces of Mary” both educated and touched the hearts of those in attendance.
“It was a wonderful weekend,” said Michael Hegeman, PTS Ph.D. candidate and composer of a cycle of songs on Mary, who led a session and whose musical compositions were performed at the conference. “Having Catholics and Protestants interacting, experiencing, and discussing all around this historic and devotional figure was a truly inspirational moment.
|Future of the Organ
Worship services and recitals by well-known artists formed the heart of “The Organ in Christian Worship,” a colloquium held at Princeton February 4-6 for organists, pastors, theologians, liturgists, and organ builders.
Recognizing both the diminishing role of the organ in congregations across North America and the revitalization of the guild of traditional organ builders, Princeton Seminary hosted this event to celebrate the installation of the Joe R. Engle Organ and to foster dialogue about the future of the organ in Christian worship.
Regardless of what participants may have expected, Martin Tel, the Seminary’s C. F. Seabrook Director of Music, hopes the more than 220 people who came from across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico “encountered something that challenged their way of thinking about their roles as musicians and pastors” through reflecting theologically, liturgically, and pastorally on the building of organs and their worship function.
Tel noticed the surprise of some participants when the organ was silent at key points of the worship services. The purpose of this, he said, was to affirm an idea rarely offered at organ colloquiums: “The human voice is the basic voice in the liturgical assembly, and the integrity of the organist is measured in his or her ability to promote that, even when it means allowing the organ to be silent.”
Kathryn Nichols, a PTS alumna (M.Div. Class of 1984), organist, and minister of music and outreach at Bedford Presbyterian Church in Bedford, New York, played a recital and led a workshop. She said, “The conference was a source of inspiration for the participants—it jogged our imaginations and helped us envision a positive future for the organ.”
Michael Bauer, University of Kansas associate professor of organ and church music, performed a piece by contemporary Czech composer Petr Eben, “The Wedding in Cana,” about which he said, “Just as the wedding at Cana represented the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, so does this colloquium represent the beginning of the public ministry for a magnificent new instrument.”
Youth Ministry Audio Journal
In January Princeton Seminary’s Institute for Youth Ministry
Cloud of Witnesses, the first volume of an audio journal (on CD) on youth, church, and culture. The journal includes interviews, sermons, teaching ideas, and conversations with young people. The theme of volume one is “ministry” and includes: an interview with Eugene Peterson, professor of spiritual theology emeritus at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, on pastoral ministry; “Bread on the Water,” a sermon by Anna Carter Florence, assistant professor of homiletics at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia; and Kenda Creasy Dean, PTS assistant professor of youth, church , and culture, on “youth ministry as ministry.”
Cloud of Witnesses
CD cover (above)
To request your FREE subscription, click
More than eight thousand copies of the audio journal have been distributed so far—to pastors, academics, and alumni/ae around the country. Dayle Gillespie Rounds, the Institute for Youth Ministry’s director of education and communication, says they’ve received great feedback from pastors and alums. “People appreciate the varied content and the medium,” she says. “They can listen in their car or on their stereo or computer. The audio format also lets people use the journal in educational settings. Some are using it in youth ministry courses, as well as with their youth and youth ministry leadership teams.”
To request a free subscription to
the audio journal, click
here, or call 609-497-7914 for a free copy. The next volume, on the theme “Spirituality,” is due out this summer.”
Faith-based Initiatives Debated at PTS
The hot topic of faith-based initiatives and charitable choice was the focus of an April panel and lectureship at PTS. James W. Skillen, president of the
Center for Public Justice in Washington, D.C., an organization that advised President Bush on the establishment of the new White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, delivered the annual Abraham Kuyper Lecture, titled “A Kuyperian Moment for the Church in God’s World.”
Charitable Choice, part of the 1996 welfare law that is under fire from groups like the ACLU, is redefining government’s relation to faith-based social service organizations so they stand on equal footing with secular nonprofits in being able to partner with government by receiving funding to meet the needs of the nation’s poor.
|Skillen believes this is really “a debate about pluralism that goes to the heart of what we think constitutes both the republic and religion.” He contends that faith-based initiatives will mean “neither a preference for nor discrimination against religious groups, but rather equal treatment for all.” He believes that holding both secular and religious groups to the same criteria for receiving funding for social programs is the only way both to protect religion and to prohibit its establishment. “Religious groups should have the right to participate in public life on an equal, non-discriminatory footing with non-religious groups,” he said.
A panel of PTS’s Religion and Society faculty in the main disagreed with Skillen’s perspective, although all of them acknowledged that the issue is a complex one. Peter Paris outlined thirteen premises that underline why he is against faith-based initiatives, including the fact that “the proposal must be evaluated in the context of the present government, which has been opposed to large government funding of poverty programs. What faith groups can do, while good, is nothing more than a drop in the sea in resolving the problem of poverty,” he said.
Nancy Duff agreed with Paris. “The Bush administration has been maneuvering itself to shirk its responsibilities in social programs and has already demonstrated that it has no real sympathy with the working class or the poor,” she said. “And to allow the government to determine which group gets funding and which doesn’t is dangerous.”
Mark Taylor argued that giving government funding to faith groups will blunt their ability to offer prophetic critique of the culture in matters of justice. “The prophetic function is the heart and soul of Christianity,” he said. “If churches start getting government funding, they will be less likely to bite the hand that feeds them.”
Ellen Charry is of a mixed mind about the issue. She supports social programs already established by religious communities that get funds as spin-offs from the faith-based communities themselves. But she sees two-fold trouble in the new proposal for direct funding. It runs the danger of both “taking away religious communities’ freedom to proclaim their own message as part of their work, and their freedom to criticize the culture.”
Max Stackhouse’s was the sole voice in support of faith-based initiatives. He thinks the program has “a very significant potential for solving human problems that clearly the public has no will to address through massive government funding.
“Old patterns of social welfare are not working,” he said. “We need new ideas, new patterns. And many people acknowledge that some kinds of human transformation cannot happen without a religious element.” Such transformation should be encouraged, Stackhouse believes, and can be done without religious proselytizing. “Providing services does not mean coercing individuals to accept the beliefs of the providers.”
While at the Seminary for his lecture, James Skillen was awarded the Seminary’s annual $10,000 Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life.
For an audiotape of Skillen’s lecture, contact PTS Media Services at 609-497-7902.
PTS Corner of History:
Princeton’s Children and
by William Harris, librarian for archives and special collections
Children have always had a place of prominence in Princeton Seminary’s history. The young Charles and Sarah Hodge brought their little Mary to the Oratory in Alexander Hall to be baptized by Dr. Archibald Alexander on Christmas Day 1825. Dr. Hodge records it as one of the great experiences of his life. We have a large photograph of his grandchildren, taken about 1875, playing Civil War in front of the Stockton mansion, Morven.
Who can forget seeing the distinguished President John Mackay, en route home, removing his coat and vest and playing a round of soccer with his grandsons, Jimmy and Johnny Metzger and Johnny Loetscher?
Some of the best stories are told by the Blackwood, Homrighausen, and Jurji children about their neighbor, Professor Albert Einstein. There are wonderful accounts from these children of his assistance with arithmetic, the violin, and even theology. Jim Blackwood, a teenager when the Einsteins moved to Princeton, was employed by Dr. Einstein as his chauffeur. Mrs. Carolyn Blackwood, a noted Southern cook, often sent cookies and other desserts to Dr. Einstein by her boys after she learned that he had a “sweet tooth.” On one occasion he went to Mrs. Blackwood’s home at 52 Mercer Street to thank her in person for the “best ‘kuchen’ which he had ever eaten.” While what she had made for him was actually a tea cake, the boys always referred to it thereafter as Einstein’s Favorite. Mrs. Blackwood later wrote a very good book titled
The Pastor’s Wife, published by Westminster Press in 1951, in which she gave many practical and helpful suggestions. One of them was the recipe for “Einstein’s Favorite” found on page seventy-three. The present occupant of that home, Mrs. Harriet Black, the wife of PTS New Testament professor Clifton Black and herself an outstanding Southern cook, had fun modernizing the recipe first prepared in her kitchen for Dr. Einstein. I can testify, along with Dr. Einstein, that they are my favorite, and I can heartily recommend them to all. Mrs. Black’s revised standard version of Mrs. Blackwood’s recipe is as follows:
by Suheir Hammad
I remember now what it means to be a Palestinian.
This cramped scrambling from station to station in search of better
sharper newer footage.
Mid-East Mayhem. Jerusalem Rage. Peace Derailed.
What is the media calling genocide this half-hour?
I remember what genocide is.
If before they were shot down in the streets like wild dogs the dead
had been throwing rocks bricks shooting crippled Russian ammunition
even smuggled in second hand Israeli weaponry—it is still a massacre. What? We are only to sympathize with those who hand their
murderers guns and lay down for them? What? We are to believe news
anchors floating in the hype hatred built? We are to understand anti tank missiles fired into buildings crowds into families and bodies?
People are not tanks.
This image will haunt all those who view it. A child crouched and
caught in crossfire. A terror through him no one living can fathom.
A fear particular to the last minutes of a twelve-year-old life.
I remember what it would mean to be a mother. My abdomen cramped in
Rami looking for protection under his father’s arm. Screaming and
holding his hands over his ears. Arms trembling akimbo. So loud the
shooting and the guns and the Hebrew Arabic French English—the
language of death around him. His little heart bruised his ribs
beating so hard. His feet under him—unable to run to walk to dig a
cover to hide in. His father reduced to a human shield begging.
And we watched this little boy murdered. And heard the
justifications and the dragging of feet over his blood on the ground.
Even the ambulance driver who ran to reach him was killed.
Remind me what it means to be human.
When we spend money on films to scare us and sex to drive us. When
we jump from amusement rides for a rush and buy glitter to
camouflage. Remind me what we are supposed to do to be after we
witness this. Not how we get up and go to work to school to bed.
And fuck an eye for an eye. The body of a twelve-year-old Israeli
boy will not equal one freckle on Rami’s cheek. The killings have
not stopped even as I begin to write this five days after French
television focused a lens on a father and son backed into a wall.
Who knew they would capture forever on film what it means to be a
species bent on self-destruction? The killing off of our young.
I remember Palestine.
And Sierra Leone Bosnia Rwanda the American South Algeria the Trail
of Tears. I remember Auschwitz the Congo Lebanon Cambodia.
The names of nations have never been beautiful enough for poems. The
names of martyrs have always been too numerous for poems.
Remind me who God is. Who God is supposed to be and why I’m supposed
to believe in anything other than war. From now on dead children are
my God. I will pray to them and petition them for forgiveness and
declare crusades in their names.
I remember what it feels to be twelve and unable to run from men’s
aggressions. But I am here. We are here. And we are altered. What
it means to be alive has shifted. The paradigm is not the same.
Sparing a dime shedding a tear not enough.
I remember Rami. But not the way his siblings will. Not the way his
father will once he regains consciousness. Not the way his mother
will, or the boys who will come after him hungry and fed on
I will remember him when I pray because it will be in his name.
I will remember him when I look at you because God is in everyone.
I will remember him when I go to work to school to bed because God is
in the daily.
I will remember him when I write because God is in the details.
I will remember this little boy murdered in Palestine by those who do
not believe in God—the story on repeat two thousand years after a
carpenter was crucified for his magic.
I will remember him when I cry because tears are not enough.
I will remember him when I have a choice between fear and strength,
which is really love, and God is love.
And I will choose God.
I will remember that last minute of Rami’s life. When he was cramped scrambling from one face to another. Searching for mercy.
Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad visited the PTS campus under the sponsorship of the Association of Black Seminarians and the Women’s Center to read her poetry. This poem, “Land Holy,” concluded the evening. It is her newest poem and inSpire is the first place that it is being published. The editors realize that some of the language might be offensive to some readers. However, we hope that readers will agree that the obscenity of the violence it describes is the real obscenity to be concerned about.
Faculty and Staff Publications
Nancy Duff contributed a chapter to Beyond Cloning: Religion & the Remaking of
Humanity, edited by Ronald Cole-Turner and published by Trinity Press International.
Time Exposure: The Personal Experience of Time in Secular
Societies, by Richard Fenn, was recently published by Oxford University Press.
Restoring the Image: Essays on Religion and Society in Honour of David
Martin, edited by Andrew Walker and Martyn Percy and published by Sheffield Academic Press, includes a chapter by
Dean Foose wrote Searching for a Pastor the Presbyterian
Way, which was published by Westminster John Knox Press.
Jacqueline Lapsley wrote Can These Bones Live? The Problem of the Moral Self in the Book of
Ezekiel, published by Walter De Gruyter.
Patrick Miller wrote Israelite Religion and Biblical Theology: Collected
Essays, published by Sheffield Academic Press.
Max Stackhouse and D.S. Browning coedited
God and Globalization, Volume Two: The Spirit & the Modern Authorities (Trinity Press International).
Mark Taylor wrote The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown
America, published by Fortress Press.
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale edited the Abingdon Women’s Preaching Annual, Series 2, Year A, published by Abingdon Press.
PTS Book Sale Helps Overseas Seminaries
The Seminary’s annual book sale raised $20,555, which will be donated to seminaries and Christian colleges around the world.
Each of the following institutions will receive approximately $3,000 to assist the development of library and other essential seminary facilities: Serampore College in North India, where PTS associate professor of the history of religions Richard Young formerly taught; Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt, where Darren and Elisabeth Kennedy (both M.Div. Class of 1999) are teaching; several theological institutions in Kerala, India, that have been supportive of Princeton summer field education students; College Protestant Lome-Agbalepedogan in Togo, where Kossi Ayedze (PTS M.Div. and Ph.D. graduate) teaches; Clark Theological College in Nagaland, India, a donation site referred by Ph.D. candidate Atola Longkumer, who graduated from there and claims it is one of the schools in India most supportive of women; and Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas, Cuba, recently visited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, PTS professor of Old Testament literature and exegesis and director of Ph.D. studies. A school in Lithuania is also being considered.
Seeking the Female Face of God
“Women are making contributions that not only challenge any idea that would subordinate them, but that also surprisingly enrich the understanding and practice of the faith,” said Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, distinguished professor of theology at Fordham University. This year’s Women in Church and Ministry lecturer, Johnson presented PTS with new ideas for how to speak about God in her lecture, “Women Imaging God.”
Believing the way a faith community speaks about God indicates that community’s core values and shapes its identity and sense of call, Johnson explained that naming God exclusively as a powerful male has often legitimated the abuse of women by male authorities. Because “image is never neutral in its effects,” women imaging God in female terms promotes change, or conversion, of a community’s mind and heart to the true equality and dignity of women.
Feminine images of God are the fruit of women’s pastoral creativity and biblical and theological scholarship, Johnson said. Pulling examples from both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, her offering of feminine metaphors for God broadened listeners’ sense of the divine. The Hebrew word for God’s mercy, Johnson said, comes from the same root as the word for uterus; Scripture asks God to forgive us with the kind of love a mother has for the child of her womb. (Isaiah 49:15) Jesus also spoke about God in “many startling ways” in the Gospels. Immediately following the parable of the Good Shepherd, who leaves ninety-nine sheep to look for the lost one, he goes on to tell a similar parable, this one with a female protagonist searching for her lost coin. Both parables depict the imagery of God as Redeemer, one using images of typically male work, the other of typically female work. Johnson wondered why Christians have embraced the first image and not the second: “For all the churches and statues of the Good Shepherd, where are the ones dedicated to God the Good Homemaker?”
Searching for words that bless rather than demean the reality of being female, Johnson said women “are engaged in creative naming toward God out of the matrix of our own experience.” Offering names such as Wellspring and Fountain of Life, Mother and Womb of Life, Sophia, Lover, Friend, Angry Prophet, and Indwelling Spirit, Johnson noted that these names are more than just politically correct. “They also allow us to search for the sacred in areas where tradition has longed stopped looking for it—namely, in what is associated with women.”
To order an audiotape of Johnson’s lecture, call (609-497-7902) or email
(firstname.lastname@example.org ) the Seminary’s Educational Media Office. The cost is $3.50 per tape.
Rhee-Connecting in Korea and the U.S.
Syngman Rhee, the moderator of the 212th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), began his visit to the PTS campus in March by recalling the close relationship Princeton has had with the church in Korea.
“This is the seminary where many of the leaders of the Presbyterian church in Korea have been trained, and are presently being trained,” he said. He cited two of “the most prominent leaders in theological thinking in Korea: Dr. Kyung Chik Han and Dr. Kim Chae Choon,” both PTS alums and founders of churches in Korea.
But the connections Rhee really came to talk about were larger—nothing less than reconciliation between North and South Korea, and reconciliation within the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Rhee was elected moderator in June 2000 on the fiftieth anniversary to the day of his flight from North Korea at the outbreak of the Korean War, when he was nineteen years old. He has worked hard toward peace between the two Koreas since he came to the U.S. in 1956, and the symbolism of his being elected moderator the same month that the leaders of North and South Korea had their first summit meeting was deeply gratifying.
“This was not just a coincidence,” Rhee said. “I believe that it is an example of the power of a ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation is difficult and it is costly. To be in a place of reconciliation means to touch base with one side and then build a bridge and touch base with the other.”
Rhee now carries that message of hope throughout his American denomination. “I’ve discovered that Presbyterians are faithful people who need the strength to keep bearing witness. If we do not nurture the roots of faith, our church may end up like a cut flower: beautiful but dying.
“And we need an increasing awareness of the spirit of reconciliation in our church, and a commitment to other places that need reconciliation around the world, like the Middle East.”
Rhee told of a small Iraqi Presbyterian church he visited in Basra, a port city in southern Iraq. “I was amazed to see the logo of the PCUSA on the wall, and I asked them if they were part of our denomination. They said no, but that they did not have their own emblem and felt that our seal expressed what reconciliation was all about. So they decided to use it as their own.”
Quoting a favorite song from the musical The Sound of Music, Rhee expressed his hope for the Presbyterian Church: “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good,” Maria sings to Captain Von Trapp. Despite theological wrangling, loss of membership and funds, and real disagreement, Rhee knows the PCUSA “has done something good” and will continue to do so..
The late David H.C. Read, renowned preacher and longtime pastor of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, was once quoted as saying that “the worst sin in preaching is dullness.”
Hoping to learn not to commit that sin, seventy pastors gathered in Princeton to hear four of preaching’s best talk about their art in the second biennial PTS Festival of Preaching in March. Anthony Cardova Campbell (Boston University), William J. Carl (pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Dallas), Jana Childers (San Francisco Theological Seminary), and Paul Scott Wilson (Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto) addressed the creativity needed for preaching today, a creativity, they said, that is also implicit in the relationship between preacher and listener.
Carl told participants that including parishioners in the sermon-writing process (he gathers groups of members to talk about the texts and encourages others to offer thoughts via email) has “transformed my preaching. They bring their resources to the Scripture in a way that we ministers sometimes don’t.”
Childers, a Class of 1982 PTS graduate, reassured her audience that writer’s block, a frequent preacher’s obstacle, can be therapeutic rather than devastating. “A pattern of setting a problem aside to mull it over is considered a valid part of the creative process,” she said.
Commemorating WW II
Japanese American Internment
More than 120,000 Japanese Americans (two-thirds of whom were U.S.-born American citizens) were imprisoned in American concentration camps between 1942 and 1946 as a result of Executive Order 9066, which was signed on February 19, 1942. The PTS Asian American Program Office sponsored a commemoration of this event in February with a worship service and special presentation, both led by Steven Toshio Yamaguchi, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, California, and a 1988 PTS M.Div. graduate.
Faculty and Staff Accolades
James Charlesworth, the George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, was one of the experts featured in the Discovery Channel’s Easter Sunday presentation of “Jesus: The Complete Story,” coproduced with the British Broadcasting Company. In addition to the television airing, Charlesworth participated in an online Q and A at
www.discovery.com in which he and other experts responded to the public’s questions.
In December, Ellen Charry, PTS’s Margaret W. Harmon Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, began as a regular commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things
Considered. Her assignment is to comment on the religious dimensions of public issues, though, so far, she has been able to speak on topics of her own choosing, such as the Middle East conflict and faith-based welfare initiatives. Transcripts or audio copies of her commentaries are available from the NPR web site at
All Things Considered.
George Hunsinger, director of the Center for Barth Studies, delivered the 2001 Mitch Snyder Lecture at the First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, United Church of Christ, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Cleophus LaRue, the Francis Landey Patton Associate Professor of Homiletics, spoke at the 106th annual session of the Maramon Convention in Kerala, India. The Mar Thoma Church claims to have been established in Kerala by St. Thomas in 52 A.D.
J. Wentzel van Huyssteen, PTS’s James I. McCord Professor of Theology and Science, gave a special lecture titled “Fallen Angels or Rising Beasts? Theological Perspectives on Human Uniqueness” at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, which was the first academic event to take place within the new exchange agreement between PTS and the university’s faculty of divinity. Lecturing about the interaction between theology and science, van Huyssteen argued, “In a complex world we don’t need to uncritically adopt every scientific theory, but our function is to revisit traditions in the light of new insights.”
Carol Wehrheim, visiting lecturer in Christian education, was named the Association of Presbyterian Church Educator’s Educator of the Year for 2001. This award was given on February 2 in recognition of her ecumenical work in publishing materials for churches and her advocacy for children and educators in the church.
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