August 29, 2019
Christian formation happens within community. Princeton Theological Seminary is home to a vibrant community of students, faculty, and staff, all of whom help shape our residential community of faith and scholarship. Get to know more about Princeton Seminary by meeting some of its people.
The challenge and joy of teaching preaching to Princeton Seminary students has captivated Sally Brown, PhD ’01, for 18 years during her course Introduction to Preaching. “Everyone I instruct is familiar with the concept of preaching,” says Brown, who is the Elizabeth M. Engle Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship. However, Brown challenges her students to reconsider the lens of their particular tradition and hold lightly to their preconceived notions of preaching.
“Every student comes to my class with a particular tradition in mind—they have certain ideas of what counts as preaching. For some, the sermon is fairly long, and it’s a teaching experience. For others, preaching is a 10-minute homily on a particular text.”
With a tenure of nearly 30 years, Oscar Soto’s infectious jovial spirit has become a staple in the Princeton Seminary community for many students and colleagues. Grateful for the career he established at the Seminary, Soto pauses to recount the arduous journey that led him to where he is today.
“I just started knocking on doors in search for work. I began on one end of Nassau Street and would keep knocking all the way down to the other end. It was tough; not speaking English was a huge barrier.”
Community revitalization, formation of an interfaith organization, and operating a warming station for the homeless have improved the “common life” in Port Jervis, New York, thanks to Zachary Pearce, a Princeton Seminary MDiv candidate.
“The Warming Station mission has been a common cause for the local faith community to engage in together to do God's mission of justice. This is year three of operation and we have served over 170 different individuals, feeding, and housing homeless guests every night in the winter.”
It’s tempting to wonder what the future will be. But could understanding the past hold the key to understanding the future? For Mary Farag, assistant professor of early Christian studies, there’s no need to look to the future to stretch the mind.
“Studying history stretches the mind in ways that traveling can’t even do, because we can dwell in a completely different space and time.”
As the daughter of a pastor, Keri Day spent much of her childhood in the church and, more specifically, the African American church. For Day, this experience was inextricably linked to questions of justice and equality. So, it’s no surprise that her practice of faith also “naturally extended to how we participate in this world as responsible and faithful persons,” she says.
“Black feminism and womanism, as well as decolonial discourses, gave me the language to talk about my unique lived experiences as a black woman within the context of Christian faith.”
Growing up as the daughter of a pastor, Hannah Hawkinson never pictured herself going to seminary or pursuing ministry. “My dad loves his work, but ministry is exhausting,” she says. Her father still pastors the same congregation in the Chicago suburbs where Hawkinson was raised, and she loves visiting when she can. She first wanted to be an English teacher, but soon found herself drawn to biblical and theological studies.
“Sitting in class with a Presbyterian on one side, a Pentecostal on the other side, a Baptist over there, and all of us dealing with common issues or readings … has really been huge for me.”
For the 2018-2019 academic year, Princeton Theological Seminary doctoral candidate Andrew J. Peterson was in Tübingen, Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship, where he conducted research for his dissertation examining Christian accounts of sacrifice and forgiveness. Peterson worked with a team of international researchers at the University of Tübingen’s Institute for Ethics and Institute for Hermeneutics and Inter-Cultural Dialogue at the invitations of Drs. Christoph Schwöbel and Elisabeth Gräb-Schmidt.
“What Christians think about Christ’s death has an enormous impact on the sorts of lives they strive to live themselves and recommend to others.”
Yedea H. Walker
On paper, Yedea H. Walker’s role as pastoral resident is to provide pastoral care on campus and, specifically, at the Charlotte Rachel Wilson (CRW) apartments. In practice, this newly created position is about so much more.
“People just want to be seen and heard, and so many feel they aren’t. That’s my lesson, takeaway, heartbreak, and purpose. To help them feel that they are.”
As an immigrant pastor who served in a city with a rapidly growing immigrant population, Francisco Peláez-Díaz's research interests were sparked early on by the stories of trauma he heard within his community, and amplified by the tragic circumstances of the migratory waves from Africa to Europe. Those global migrations confirmed for him the “importance and urgency of addressing and analyzing the causes, consequences, and implications of such migrations.”
“As long as countries that receive immigrants continue provoking great disruptions in the sending countries, this trend will continue. So, the real solution to the problem of irregular migration lays on the willingness to change some of the macro dynamics between countries.”
Nancy J. Duff’s interest in the intersection between medical ethics and faith has been a long time in the making. Having come from a medical family, it felt natural to Duff to offer a course on medical ethics when she began teaching in 1985.
“In the stories I’ve heard on the ethics committee as well as in personal situations, I realize how much more difficult making end-of-life decisions becomes when patients have never talked to their family or friends about their wishes.”