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Class of 1990


Class Secretary


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  The Rev. Margaret B. Hatch '90 M.Div.

  2304 Pine St.

  Billings, MT 59101-0531






Class Notes

Welcome to 1990's Class Notes page. Here you will find news from your classmates as it was submitted in the late summer of 2008 for publication in Spectrum 2009.  Enjoy!

Moved? New job? Retired? Newly married? New grandchildren? Please submit your Class Notes to your Class Secretary or the Alumni Office by August 31, 2009, for publication in the next issue of Spectrum.



Notes from 2008


Last year, Wes Allen ’90 M.Div. published his sixth book, Reading the Lectionary: The Three Dimensions of the Liturgical Year, Book and CD (Chalice). He is editing a series of homiletical textbooks with Fortress entitled Elements of Preaching. Two came out this last year, and three more are due this fall including the one Wes wrote called Determining the Form: Structures for Preaching. Wes is married to Bonnie L. Cook, executive director of the Kentucky Psychiatric Medical Association; they have a 9-year-old daughter, Maggie.

Kristin (Neily) Barberia ’90 M.Div. has just completed her transformation from parish priest to school minister with a full year under her belt at St. Matthew's Parish School (an Episcopal Day School for Preschool through 8th grade in Pacific Palisades CA), where her two children (ages 11 and 7) also attend.

Brett Blair ’90 M.Div. is married with three children and living in Memphis, TN. He was ordained by the United Methodist Church and is the founder, owner, and chief editor of Sermons.com.

Neal Christie ’90 M.Div. works on Capitol Hill as Assistant General Secretary with the General Board of Church and Society, the international public policy and advocacy arm of the United Methodist Church. His responsibilities include teaching and grassroots organizing around the UM Social Principles in Africa, Europe, Philippines and the U.S, as well as directing grants, interns on the Hill, contacts with seminaries and universities, etc. He is married to Lois Clinton, a clinical social worker, and they have two children, Calia (8) and Kai (4). They live right in the greenest part of DC, just across from the National Zoo. Christie also reports that Doug Horner ’90 M.Div. is an inner city pastor in Cleveland, and Dan Diss ’90 M.Div. pastors a church in the Chicago area.

Joe Cistone ’90 M.A.R. writes, "My partner Alyne Kemunto, my daughter Francesca (now 16 and back from two years of study in Rome, Italy), and I were thrilled to welcome Joseph Jacob Amani Cistone into our family on April 30th. Both mother and baby are doing wonderfully and we have him down for the Yale Class of 2030!"


Dawn Detgen ’90 M.Div. is a clinical social worker at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury, NC. In her time there (since January '06; before that she was in Coatesville, PA) she has worked with spinal cord injured veterans and in the home health care areas. She will soon be going to a primary care position.

Brigid Farrell Dunn ’90 M.Div., her husband Peter, and their daughters Katharine (4), Elisabeth (2) recently moved to the Syracuse area after spending twelve years in Southern California. Peter accepted the position of President/CEO of the Central New York Community Foundation. Brigid left her teaching position in the Religious Studies Department at Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena and is spending some time getting her kids (and herself) acclimated.

Sherard Edington ’90 M.Div. writes that, "After 16 years as a Presbyterian (USA) pastor--the last 11 as solo pastor--I opted to take a break. Earlier this year I stepped down from the pulpit and resigned from my pastorate for an indefinite sabbatical. We’ll see where it leads."

John Farrell ’90 M.Div. is ordained in the Episcopal Church and has sustained a productive tension between educational and parish ministries. "Currently, I’m an adjunct professor at the New York Maritime College in New York City. From 2003 to 2008 I was priest-in-charge of Christ Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. After leaving there in January, I took a 6-month sabbatical where I worked on a book, Praying with John Donne; was certified as an interim pastor; spent time as a professional-in-residence at the Betty Ford Center, and trained as a labyrinth facilitator. In the fall the Bishop of Long Island intends to name me 'Bishop’s Vicar' of St. James in Elmhurst, Queens. This is a parish that left the Episcopal Church and took the property with them. The diocese has won the buildings back through the courts and my job will be to reclaim the physical plant and reestablish an Episcopal presence Pray for me!"

Sarah (Taylor) Harris ’90 M.Div. works as a Chaplain in a Men's Prison in North Carolina. She is on the verge of ordination in the UCC.  She lives with her husband, two of their daughters and four dogs.

Meg (Barron) Hatch ’90 M.Div. lives in Billings, MT with husband Doxey and daughter Claire (4).  Meg is a hospital chaplain at Billings Clinic and is active on the  palliative care team and the ethics committee.

Melissa ’90 M.Div. and Randy Hollerith ’90 M.Div. live in Richmond, VA. They have two children: Marshall (13), and Eliza (10). Melissa is Chaplain and Head of the Religion Department at St. Christopher's School and Randy is Rector of St. James's Episcopal Church. They have been in Richmond since 2000.

Michael Koppel ’90 M.Div. teaches pastoral theology and care on the faculty of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC, and celebrates the publication of his first book, Open-Hearted Ministry: Play as Key to Pastoral Leadership (Fortress Press, 2008).  He is currently working on a co-authored project with Denise Dombkowski Hopkins, professor of Hebrew Bible at Wesley, entitled Grounded in the Living Word: The Hebrew Bible and Pastoral Care Practices (Eerdmans Press, forthcoming 2009).


Colin McGinnis ’90 M.Div. writes that, "Shortly after leaving Yale, Claire Mathews McGinnis '88 M.Div. and I married here in Baltimore, and we have spent much of our time and energy since then focused on raising two lovely kids, our daughter Killian (11) and our son Patrick (8). Throughout the 90s and until 2002, I worked for US Senator Paul Wellstone as his chief of staff. After he was killed in a plane crash in 2002, I took a 3-year hiatus from the Hill to work as the C.O.O. of an international humanitarian relief and development agency based in Baltimore. I returned to Capitol Hill and the public policy vineyards two years ago, and work for Senator Chris Dodd. My wife Claire is a Professor of Theology at Loyola College and is on sabbatical this year, working on a book on Exodus. We're flourishing, and looking forward to seeing folks at the reunion this fall, if we can swing it."


Mark Melchior ’90 M.Div. noted that he will be moving to Montreal from his home in Vermont for a couple of years to pursue a library science degree at McGill University. He is looking forward to some city time to complement the rural life he knows so well at this point!


Elizabeth Ripley ’90 M.A.R. has spent the last 15 years working for a small hospital in Palmer, AK, north of Anchorage. "After helping with a massive strategic planning campaign," she writes, "we closed that small 40 bed facility and opened a new 74-bed hospital at a major crossroads in our borough, . . .To find the capital to build this new hospital, we merged with a large for-profit hospital proprietary company. Excess assets from this merger created the Mat-Su Health Foundation, which makes grants to improve health across the Mat-Su Borough, which is the size of the state of West Virginia. This summer, I became executive director of this foundation."


James Starr ’90 M.Div. has been teaching New Testament since 2001 at Johannelund Theological Seminary in Uppsala, Sweden. He will be on leave in 2009 to write a commentary on 1 & 2 Peter.


Brian Stiltner ’90 M.A.R. is associate professor of stiltnerReligious Studies at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, and has recently served as chair of the department. In 2007, he published Faith and Force: A Christian Debate on War in 2007, co-authored with David Clough, his classmate from the Yale doctoral program. Brian lives in Hamden, CT, with his spouse Ann, a high school special education teacher, and two children Brendan (8) and Grace (3).


Eric Stroshine ’90 M.Div. is Senior Pastor of Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Evansville, IN and is also a religion writer for the regional newspaper. He and his wife Colleen have two teenage children, Drew and Paige.


After four years in Los Angeles with Clayton Thomason ’90 Div. serving as associate rector at St. James' Episcopal Church and Mary Hope Griffin ’90 M.Div. working on a doctorate in history at UCLA and the birth of Helen (1994), nine years at Michigan State University with Clayton teaching spirituality and ethics in the medical school and Mary Hope teaching in the history and religious studies departments and the arrivals of Julia (2000) and Bennett (2005), they have relocated to the Chicago area. Clayton holds the Bishop Anderson Chair in religion, health and human values at Rush University Medical Center, overseeing the ethics and pastoral care services and education for the university and hospital. "No, the shores of Lake Michigan still don't count as a coast line for us," Mary Hope says!


After graduating in 1990, Tom VanTassell ’90 M.Div. served for seven years as the Associate Minister of Plymouth Congregational Church in Lansing, MI. While there, Tom's wife Wendy completed seminary at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI. For the past 12 years Tom and Wendy have served as co-pastors of the First Congregational Church of Spencer, IA. Tom is the spiritual director for hospice in the area, and has coached high school soccer for 10 years. The Van Tassells received the Citizens of the Year award from the local newspaper in 2008.

IN MEMORIUM: YDS Class of 1990 classmate, Richard A Sandman '90 M.Div. died of a heart sandmanattack on April 30, 2008 at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. A number of YDS alumni were at Richard's side in his final days and/or joined his family and many other mourners at memorial services in Chicago and New York. Memorial contributions may be made to the Middle Collegiate Church for the Richard Sandman Memorial Fund to support the immigrant and LGBT communities and sent to Middle Church, 50 E. 7th Street, New York, NY 10003. For a full obituary, please click here.