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

Columbia Theological Seminary

  • Calvin Theological Seminary names Columbia President Leanne Van Dyk distinguished alumna

The Board of Trustees and the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary recently invited Columbia Theological Seminary President Leanne Van Dyk to attend their Commencement this year to receive that seminary’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Just less than a year ago, Van Dyk was named the tenth president of Columbia Theological Seminary.

“You have been chosen to receive this award because your ministry stands out as an exhibit of grace and truth, and because it therefore brings glory to God and to your alma mater,” said Jul Medenblik, President of Calvin Seminary in a letter congratulating her. The Commencement Ceremony will take place on May 21, 2016 in the Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center.

In addition to her M.Div. from Calvin Theological Seminary, Van Dyk holds degrees from Calvin College (B.A.), Western Michigan University (M.A.), and Princeton Theological Seminary where she earned her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, magna cum laude.

  • Rodger Nishioka to join staff of Village Church

Dr. Rodger Nishioka has announced his resignation as Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Education at Columbia Theological Seminary effective March 31, 2016. He was recently introduced to the Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas as their new director of Adult Educational Ministries.

Born in Honolulu and raised in Seattle at the Japanese Presbyterian Church, Nishioka is the son of a retired Presbyterian minister. Nishioka has taught at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decutur, Georgia near Atlanta for 15 years engaging seminary students and pastors to be teachers and leaders in the ministry of Christian education, particularly for youth and young adults.

“Rodger Nishioka is one of the most energetic and animated speakers I have ever witnessed,” said Dr. Leanne Van Dyk, President of Columbia Theological Seminary. “His passion is infectious! He has truly been a gift to our community, and we know he will make a great impact in and through the work of Village Church.”

Prior to teaching at Columbia Theological Seminary, Nishioka was the national coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and previous to that taught English and Social Sciences at Curtis Junior High School in Tacoma, Washington. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Social and Cultural Foundations of Education from Georgia State University. He earned his Master of Arts in Theological Studies with an emphasis in biblical studies and theology from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with Minor in History and a Teaching Certificate for Secondary Education (Grades 6-12).

  • The biblical art of Sadao Watanabe on exhibit in the Harrington Center

The Center for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary is hosting a new exhibit, Witness to Faith: The Biblical Art of Sadao Watanabe, featuring original works of graphic art by Japan's foremost Christian artist of the 20th century. The exhibit is on display through April 25, 2016 in the Harrington Center. The Columbia Seminary campus located at 701 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, Georgia near Atlanta. The event is open to the public.

Born in 1913, Watanabe was baptized as a Christian at age 17 and devoted his life to depicting the stories of the Bible in a visual language understandable to the Japanese. Watanabe saw himself as a Christian printmaker whose mission was "to stand within the artistic tradition of Japan." In his interpretations, the creatures entering Noah's Ark correspond to the animal signs of the Asian zodiac; Jesus and his disciples wear kimonos and gather at the Last Supper to eat fish and drink sake.

The exhibit is on display on the second floor of the Harrington Center through April 25. It is open to the public during regular office hours (8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday). Arrangements to view the exhibit at other times may be made by contacting the Center for Lifelong Learning at 404-687-4577 or lifelonglearning@ctsnet.edu.

  • New vice president for institutional advancement hired at Columbia Seminary

President Leanne Van Dyk recently announced the appointment of the Rev. Steven Miller as Columbia Theological Seminary’s next Vice President of institutional advancement. He is currently the Vice President of resource development for Cornerstones, formerly Reston Interfaith. Based in Reston, Virginia, Cornerstones is a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services.

“Steven Miller is an experienced and successful fund-raising professional, who brings extensive experience from the nonprofit world, always with a track record of success,” said Van Dyk. “He is committed both to the church and to theological education. He eagerly looks forward to beginning his work here and working hard toward goals of growth in financial support.”

The Rev. Steven Miller is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and has served in local, regional and national positions in the fields of urban ministry and anti-hunger work. He has since led the fund raising department at Bread for the World and has done major and planned giving work with the American Kidney Fund and in his current role with Cornerstones. 

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

  • Strength of Faith in Times of Fear is focus of Louisville Seminary’s annual Festival of Theology

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will host its 2016 Festival of Theology and Alum Reunion April 3-5. The theme for this year’s festival is Making Room for Grace: Practicing Faith in an Age of Fear. Festival programs will feature renowned theologians who will consider how affirming one’s faith and respecting the faith traditions of others can lead to a more unified, peaceful and productive society. All festival activities will take place on Louisville Seminary’s campus (1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, Kentucky, 40205). Registration fees begin at $25 per person. Registration and more information is available online at www.lpts.edu/reunion.

Speakers include Heath K. Rada, moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Christine Pohl, associate provost and professor of Christian ethics at Asbury Theological Seminary, and Eric H.F. Law, founder and executive director of the Kaleidoscope Institute; Wesley Ariarajah, professor of ecumenical theology at Drew University School of Theology; Cindy Guertin-Anderson, LMFT, (MAMFT ’06) clinical director of the Center for Women and Families in Louisville, Kentucky; and J. Herbert Nelson II, (DMin ’02) director of the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C.

  • Grawemeyer Award winner Susan R. Holman to discuss interdisciplinary approach to global health issues at Louisville Seminary

On Wednesday, April 13, Susan R. Holman will discuss how incorporating religious views and traditions with dialogue about economic and social rights can be useful in combating global health problems as part of her Grawemeyer lecture, “Health Justice — Hermeneutic of Blessing?” The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in Caldwell Chapel at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, Kentucky, 40205). A reception and book signing will follow.

Holman’s ideas are examined in her book, Beholden: Religion, Global Health, and Human Rights, which earned her the 2016 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Holman’s lecture coincides with lectures in Louisville by the other 2016 Grawemeyer Award winners, who will discuss their winning works at programs hosted by the University of Louisville through mid-April. The University of Louisville presents Grawemeyer Awards each year in music composition, world order, psychology and education. The University of Louisville and Louisville Seminary jointly give an award in religion. This year’s awards are $100,000 each. For a complete list of 2016 Grawemeyer Award recipients and a schedule of their public talks, log onto www.grawemeyer.org.

  • Louisville Seminary announces 2016 Distinguished Alum and First Decade Award Recipients

The 2016 Louisville Seminary Distinguished Alum Award recipients are: 

  1. The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty (MDiv ’95) is chair of the department of theology at Bellarmine University and professor of theology. The church's role in addressing issues of social and economic justice has long been Hinson-Hasty's concern. In addition to numerous articles and other publications, she is the author of Dorothy Day for Armchair Theologians (2014) and Beyond the Social Maze: Exploring the Theological Ethics of Vida Dutton Scudder (2006) and co-editor of Prayers for the New Social Awakening (2008) with Christian Iosso and To Do Justice: A Guide for Progressive Christians (2008) with Rebecca Todd Peters.
  2. The Rev. Dr. Ann Laird Jones (MDiv ’82) is a minister member of St. Andrew Presbytery. Since 1993, she has served as the director of arts ministry at Montreat Conference Center, where she focuses on collaborative worship planning and visual arts in worship, directing the Currie Craft Center/Sally Jones Pottery and leading lectures and conferences in the field of arts and theology. Since 1982, she has served churches and campus ministries in Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi, where she is currently the stated supply pastor at the Benoit Union Church. Jones has been an active member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at the Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly levels.
  3. The Rev. Charles Leo Stanford, Jr. (BD ’58)served as pastor at New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Vidalia, Louisiana, Jones Memorial Presbyterian Church in Meridian, Mississippi, and at Okolona Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1962, James Meredith became the first African American to gain admission to the University of Mississippi, which caused great controversy. Stanford was pastor at Jones Memorial at the time, and in response to the controversy, he preached a sermon titled “Love Disqualified,” based on I John 4:20. (“Those who say, ‘I love God’, but hate their brothers or sisters are liars, for those who hate a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”) This sermon is included in the book The Unsilent South: Prophetic Preaching in Racial Crisis (1965) by Donald Shriver.

The 2016 Louisville Seminary First Decade Award recipient is:

The Rev. Dr. Angela Cowser (MDiv ’06) is assistant professor of the sociology of religion and director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE) at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In the classroom, community, and church, Cowser comes as a pastor, community organizer, and sociologist. As such, she gives her students theological, ethical, sociological, and practical tools to help them do justice wherever they find themselves; that is, to reckon honestly with the world as it is, while they dream, plan, and organize toward the world as it can and should be. Her research efforts include black police officers and how they make sense of evil, suffering and death; black entrepreneurs' understanding of wealth, power, and faith; the shape of prophetic leadership in post-Christian America; public-private church; and black church leadership.

Princeton Theological Seminary

  • Recording artists Jochen Brusch and Sven-Ingvart Mikkelsen to perform April 1

The duo of Jochen Brusch and Sven-Ingvart Mikkelsen will perform a concert titled “Nordic Delights” on Friday, April 1 at 7:00 p.m. in Miller Chapel on Princeton Theological Seminary’s campus. It is free and open to the public. Parking is available behind the Mackay Campus Center.

The concert will feature Brusch on violin and Mikkelson on organ with a repertoire of songs including Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite (prelude, sarabande, and rigodon), Pink Floyd’s Shine On, You Crazy Diamond, Repent Walpurgis (J.S. Bach/Procol Harum), original compositions by Brusch (Adagio), and Summer Fantasy by Mikkelsen.

For more information, call the Chapel Office at 609.497.7890.

  • Princeton Seminary’s Annual Used Book Sale Supports Global Theological Education

The book sale will take place Thursday, April 14 through Saturday, April 16 in the Seminary’s Whiteley Gymnasium 36 Hibben in Princeton. The schedule is as follows:

Thursday, April 14 and Friday, April 15: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Entrance fee of $7. Box Day: Saturday, April 16, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. $10 per box.

Book donations will be accepted during these specified dates and times: Monday, April 4–Friday, April 8: 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., and 5:00–8:00 p.m. Saturday, April 9: 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

For more information about the book sale, or to schedule a drop-off at the Whiteley Gym, contact annualbooksale@ptsem.edu.

  • Author and theological scholar J. Kameron Carter to deliver annual Warfield Lectures

J. Kameron Carter, associate professor of systematic theology and black church studies at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, will deliver The Annie Kinkead Warfield Lecture series March 28–31 at Princeton Theological Seminary on “Dark Church: Meditations of Black (Church) Assembly.”

“In the wake of racism as nothing less than unfinished race war against the earth, dark church invites a re-inhabitation of the earth in an unsettlable grace that unsettles and foreshadows the end of the world as we know it, thereby engendering new possibilities of life together,” Carter said. 

The schedule for the lecture series is found at this link. The free lectures will be held in the Daniel J. Theron Assembly Room, 25 Library Place in Princeton. Parking is available in the lot behind the Seminary Library. For more information, contact the Department of Communication at communication@ptsem.edu or call 609.497.7760.

  • Princeton Seminary lecture explores humanity’s relationship with the environment

Princeton Theological Seminary’s associate professor of Old Testament and director of The Center for Theology, Women, and Gender, Dr. Jacqueline Lapsley, will explore this question in a free lecture titled “Down to Earth: The Bible and Environmental Ethics,” Tuesday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the Daniel J. Theron Assembly Room in the Princeton Theological Seminary Library, 25 Library Place in Princeton. Parking is available in the lot behind the Seminary Library.

“The Bible offers important perspectives on human finitude and limits,” Lapsley said. “It also offers perspectives on human vocation—what are we supposed to be doing while on earth? In the Bible, we read about a God who cares not just about us, human beings, but also about how we treat non-human creatures. This biblical vision of the nature and integrity of creation is diametrically opposed to the attitude of the industrialized West toward the environment. How did the Bible’s vision become so distorted in the Christian West that we have produced such widespread environmental degradation?”

Lapsley’s lecture is part of the Princeton Theological Seminary Library’s ongoing series of community events, including the April 7 theme, The Battle for Yellowstone: Morality and Sacred Roots of Environmental Conflict. Speaker: Dr. Justin Farrell, author, and assistant professor of sociology, Yale University.

For more information, contact kate.skrebutenas@ptsem.edu or call 609.497.7933.

  • The Center for Theology, Women, and Gender inaugural conference March 18 and 19

On Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19 Princeton Theological Seminary’s Center for Theology, Women, and Gender (CTWG) will host its inaugural conference, Gender Benders: Theology and Gender Fluidity, in the Daniel J. Theron Assembly Room, Princeton Theological Seminary, 25 Library Place in Princeton. Presentations will address real-world experiences of people in both the church and society. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the lot behind the Seminary Library.

For more information about the conference or the CTWG, contact Jacqueline Lapsley or Regina Langley at 609.497.7946.

  • Former professor of Reformed Theology and Public Life Max L. Stackhouse dies at age 80

The Rev. Dr. Max L. Stackhouse, former professor at Princeton Seminary died on Saturday, January 30 at home in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He was 80 years old.

After graduating from DePauw University and Harvard Divinity School, Dr. Stackhouse was ordained by the United Church of Christ and went on to be internationally recognized as a theologian in the field of Christian social ethics. After early involvement in the civil rights movement, he pioneered work in public theology, economics, globalization, and ecclesiastical concerns.

Dr. Stackhouse held the Herbert Gezork Professorship at Andover Newton Theological School, where he was on the faculty for nearly 30 years before becoming the Stephen Colwell Professor of Christian Ethics, later the Rimmer and Ruth de Vries Professor of Reformed Theology and Public Life, at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1993 to 2006.

  • Princeton Seminary alumna Brittany E. Wilson receives 2016 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise

Brittany E. Wilson, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD ’12), is the recipient of a 2016 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise. Wilson is one of ten recipients of the prestigious Lautenschlaeger Award for her first book, Unmanly Men: Refigurations of Masculinity in Luke-Acts (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Wilson’s book challenges widely held assumptions that men in the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts embody variations of “muscular Christianity.” Wilson argues that Luke reconfigures—or refigures—men’s claims to power in order to highlight God’s alternative incarnation of power in Jesus. In Luke-Acts, Wilson maintains, “real” men in fact look manifestly unmanly. 

Wilson, an assistant professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School, credits the faculty at Princeton Seminary with helping her develop her project. “I am grateful to my dissertation committee and the entire Biblical Studies Department at Princeton Seminary.” 

San Francisco Theological Seminary

  • Old Texts, New Understandings: T.V. Moore Lecture Series at SFTS, Friday, April 8

A new era dawns for the printing of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts of the Bible and the Qur’an. This dramatic era is exemplified by an emerging edition of the Hebrew Bible, the latest edition of the Greek New Testament, a new in-depth examination of the Old Latin Bible (a text which is uncontrolled by any church authority and frequently inaccurate), and the recent rediscovery of one of the oldest known manuscripts of the Qur’anic text. What is new about these discoveries and understandings, and what do they mean for our understanding of the Bible? What do early Qur’anic manuscripts tell us about the use of the Qur’anic text at the beginning of Islam? About its stability and/or fluidity?

Speakers are:

Alba Fedeli, Research Fellow at the Center for Religious Studies at Central European University, Budapest, rediscovered one of the oldest Qur’anic manuscripts. Her lecture is: Editing Qur’anic manuscripts: the case of the Mingana-Lewis palimpsest and its digital edition: ‘Are we producing data or texts?’

Ron Hendel, Norma and Sam Dabby Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of Berkeley, California, general editor of The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition. He lecture is: The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition: Restoring a Multiple Text

David Trobisch, Museum of the Bible. Director of Collections. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Washington, DC and one of five editors of the Novum Testamentum Graece at the Münster Institute for New Testament Textual Research. His lecture is: The Text of the New Testament: Is there an original?

Annette Weissenrieder, Associate Professor of New Testament, with Professor Dr. Thomas Bauer from the University of Erfurt, co-editor of the Old Latin Bible of the Gospel of Luke and Matthew. Her lecture is: The new edition of the Old Latin Synoptic Gospels: What do these texts tell us about early Christianity?

The T.V. Moore Lecture Series, taking place April 8 on the SFTS campus from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., will explore all of these questions. Join our esteemed panel for a day of insight and discovery. Registration is encouraged – click here.

  • SFTS offers Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF)

The Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising is a four-day comprehensive training program with selected readings and a practical application project. It provides the research, tools, and customized training to meet the growing needs of leaders in religious communities and fundraisers of faith-based organizations. The course focuses on the cultural, organizational, and philanthropic practices unique to religious institutions. These practices in turn enable donors motivated by spiritual and religious values to experience the joy of generous giving.

The course will be held June 6-9, 2016 at San Francisco Theological Seminary 105 Seminary Road San Anselmo, California, 94960. Early Bird Rate $1,250 through 3/31/16.
Full Rate $1,500. For information please contact Su Hanson at events@sfts.edu, 415-451-2800.

  • SFTS welcomes Dr. Wendy Farley as Professor of Christian Spirituality and Director of the Program in Christian Spirituality

Farley, a premier theologian who has written extensively on women theologians and mystics, religious dialogue, classical texts, contemporary ethical issues, and contemplative practices, has been a member of the faculty of Emory University since 1988. In recent years Farley’s scholarly work has focused increasingly on Spirituality. The author of many books and articles, her most recent book, The Thirst of God: Contemplating God’s Love with Three Women Mystics (Westminster John Knox, 2015) explores the spirituality of medieval mystics Marguerite Porete, Mechthild of Magdeburg and Julian of Norwich. Farley’s widely-used text Gathering Those Driven Away: a Theology of Incarnation (Westminster John Knox, 2011) offers a powerful expression of Jesus Christ as experienced by the marginalized and persecuted.

SFTS is pleased to offer our students the opportunity to study with one of the leading theologians of our time. Farley will begin teaching at San Francisco Theological Seminary in the fall, 2016.

  • Floyd Thompkins, Jr. joins SFTS staff

The Rev. Floyd Thompkins, Jr. has been named director of the newly launched Center for Innovation in Ministry at San Francisco Theological Seminary, joining the staff February 1, 2016.

“We are very excited about Floyd’s decision to bring his passion and call to ministry to the Center and our educational programs at the seminary,” said SFTS president Jim McDonald. “For many years Floyd Thompkins has been one of the most influential thinkers and creative doers, not only in the African-American church but in the entire Christian community. His experience and skill is impressive and expansive.”

The Center for Innovation in Ministry was created a little over a year ago to increase the Church’s capacity to respond faithfully and creatively to the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century by bringing together unlikely partners for collaboration and experimentation. 

Union Presbyterian Seminary

  • Richard Voelz joins Union Presbyterian Seminary Faculty

Dr. Richard W. Voelz will join the faculty at Union Presbyterian Seminary as assistant professor of preaching and worship on July 1, 2016. He comes to the seminary from Johns Creek Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Johns Creek, Georgia, where he has served as senior minister since 2012.

Voelz received his Ph.D. in Homiletics and Liturgics from Vanderbilt University in 2011. As a doctoral student, he distinguished himself as an excellent teacher, productive researcher, and first-rate colleague among his peers and faculty. While at Vanderbilt, he served as managing editor for Homiletic, the journal of the Academy of Homiletics.

"We are ecstatic about the arrival of Rich Voelz on our faculty this summer," said Ken McFayden, academic dean for the Richmond campus. "He brings to a deep commitment to the church, a desire to work with colleagues across disciplines, and a passion to help our students develop their gifts in preaching and worship leadership."

Voelz holds degrees from Milligan College (B.A., 2001) and Emmanuel School of Religion (now Emmanuel Christian Seminary, M.Div., 2005). He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

  • Union seminary to host African Odyssey exhibit

Union Presbyterian Seminary will host a free exhibit and gallery talk exploring the history of the transatlantic slave trade, its resounding effects on Africans in the Americas, and its representation in literature and the humanities. The exhibit, titled African Odyssey, will feature photographs taken by Dr. Joanne M. Braxton, director of the College of William & Mary's Middle Passage Project and its 1619 Initiative, during a visit to Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Senegal.

“I took the photos to support my written notes when I would later sit down to write a play about the survival of African people in the New World,” said Braxton. “And when I saw the pictures, I realized that they tell a story, a very personal story that explores the problem of memory in a way that I had neither anticipated nor expected. I want to share that story through the collection of photographs and hand-lettered captions that I now call African Odyssey.” Sample photos from the exhibit can be viewed here (photo credit: Joanne M. Braxton).

The exhibit will be displayed at the seminary’s William Smith Morton Library and open to the public for viewing until April 12, 2016.  Dr. Braxton will present a free gallery talk about the exhibit in the library’s reserve reading room March 29 at 3 p.m.