Summer Term at Sterling Divinity Quadrangle wraps up its second year of classes on June 24, following the inaugural Summer Term session held in 2004. Summer Term 2005 had a total of 83 participants studying a broad range of topics in 12 weeklong courses held over three consecutive weeks in June. Five pastors and one co-pastor couple attended on Pastors of Excellence scholarships, selected from a pool of 57 nominated candidates.
“The June term on the Quad is clearly meeting a need among our friends and alums,” said Yale Divinity School Dean Harold Attridge. “We look forward to expanding our offerings and enhancing the experience in the years ahead.”
“All the partners in theological education on the Quad have been actively participating in the process,” the dean observed. “Our colleagues at the Institute of Sacred Music have offered courses in liturgy and sacred music. Berkeley Divinity School sponsored a course in clergy leadership. YDS faculty offered courses in scripture, homiletics, and pastoral care.”
The 12 courses offered this year ranged from Pauline Ethics to Pastoral Care with Young Adults to The Art of Icon Painting in the Orthodox Church. The most heavily subscribed course was Vital Clergy Leadership for Healthy Parishes, which had 23 participants, co-taught by Alan Blanchard, president emeritus of the Church Pension Group of the Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Keith Brown, consultant to the Pension Fund. The second most popular course, by a slight margin, was Difficult Texts from the Lectionary, taught jointly by Attridge and Dean of Academic Affairs Robert Wilson, the Hoober Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of Old Testament.
Many of this year's students were at Summer Term for a second time, having taken a course or two in 2004. For others, this was the first visit to YDS. Many were veteran religious professionals; others were newcomers to theological study. Evaluation surveys conducted at the end of the first two weeks were uniformly enthusiastic. One student's evaluation mentioned the delight of being once again in "the crackling intellectual atmosphere of a YDS classroom." Another acclaimed the experience of the worship course as "some of the best I've experienced." Class content, the professors, and discussions with classmates headed the list of most enjoyable aspects of summer term. The most cited suggestion for improvement was the inclusion of informal worship or vespers services during Summer Term.
Fifty-seven pastors were nominated for Pastors of Excellence scholarships, which provide up to $1,000 to cover tuition, transportation and housing. All pastors, regardless of denominational affiliation or relationship to YDS, were eligible. The primary criterion was the impact a pastor has had on his or her congregation and community.
Following is a listing of pastors selected for scholarships who attended Summer Term 2005.
The Rev. Myrna Bethke is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and a member of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. Since her ordination in 1982, she has served a wide range of churches in New Jersey. Her current appointment is to the Red Bank United Methodist Church as senior pastor. Bethke has also served in Annual Conference leadership at many levels, including co-chair of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, which credentials clergy. Bethke is committed to peace and justice work. She worked with the Hispanic immigrant community while serving in Freehold, NJ and developed a community dialogue project to foster discussion among diverse segments of the population. Bethke's youngest brother was killed on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center. As a result of that, she became part of a family group organized against returning violence for violence. The group, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. Bethke traveled to Afghanistan in June 2002 as part of an interfaith peace delegation.
The Rev. Anne M. Bracket currently serves as pastor of the Darien (CT) United Methodist Church. She is a second career pastor, her first career being in early childhood education. While working on a graduate degree in education, she become a convert to the concept of learning styles and has used them in redesigning Christian education for children and adults in the congregations that she has served. She also uses these styles in her preaching and in worship design. While attending YDS, she served as pastor of the Rocky Hill (CT) UMC and later served in Hamden and Simsbury, CT.
Maureen Dickmann '84 M. Div.
The Rev. Maureen Dickmann, pastor of Rock Bridge Christian Church in Columbia, MO since 1987, holds a Master of Law degree in Dispute Resolution from the Missouri School of Law (2003), an M.Div. degree from Yale Divinity School (1984), a Juris Doctor degree from Saint Louis University School of Law (1974), and a B.A. in English from Washington University (1969). She currently serves as president-elect of the YDS Alumni Board and as a member of both the Board's Nominating Committee and Alumni Connections Task Force. Dickmann served as associate chaplain of the Masonic Home and Hospital in Wallingford, CT from 1984 to 1987 and before that was an attorney—both with the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office and in general practice, from 1974 to 1981. She currently serves on the Anti-Racism Team of the Christian Church of Mid-America and is a board member of several organizations: Show Me Central Habitat for Humanity, Missouri School of Religion Center for Rural Ministry, and the Church Finance Council. She is also vice president of the Interfaith Council of Columbia and a member of the Lenoir Retirement Community Ethics Committee.
Beth O'Malley, '86 M.Div.
Born in Milford, CT, the Rev. Beth O'Malley graduated from Hiram College in 1982 and Yale Divinity School 1986. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ and served as pastor of the Community Church of Chesterland (UCC), Chesterland, OH from 1986 to 1994. Subsequently, in 1994-95, she was interim director of University Christian Movement, which is the campus ministry to Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University and Cuyahoga Community College. She was interim pastor at Kriders United Church of Christ in Westminster, MD from 1995 to 1996. Currently, she serves as pastor of Columbia United Christian Church ( UCC /Disciples of Christ/ Church of the Brethren) at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Centre in Columbia, MD. This facility is shared by five other resident congregations—Reform Jewish, Reconstructionist Jewish, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Baptist. In her local community, O'Malley is involved with the Horizon Foundations and the Search Institute “Assets” Program, Industrial Areas Foundation, and PFLAG ( Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
The Rev. Kerry Pidcock-Lester and the Rev. Carter Lester have been serving as co-pastors of First Presbyterian Church in Pottstown, PA since 1994. Pidcock-Lester, ordained in 1982, served churches in Indianapolis, Baltimore, and Richmond before being called to Pottstown. She is a graduate of Duke University and Union Theological Seminary. She currently serves on the editorial council of the journal Interpretation and has contributed articles of essays to Interpretation and to the books God Who Creates and The Abingdon Women's Preaching Annual Series 1-A. Lester was an attorney before attending seminary and is a graduate of Duke University, the University of Virginia (Law), Union Theological Seminary, and McCormick Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry), where he currently serves as adjunct faculty. He served as co-associate pastor of a downtown church in Richmond before moving to Pottstown.
Father Bruce Wellems, CMF, is pastor of Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Chicago 's Back of the Yards neighborhood. He has worked at the parish since 1990. Wellems's work has concentrated on developing two alternative public high schools to serve young people who have dropped out of high school. He also has helped develop a support process for other agencies working with high-risk youth, known as the Peace and Education Coalition (www.peaceandeducation.org). His efforts reflect his conviction that support and intervention can turn young lives around. For his work in violence prevention, Wellems received the 2000 Juvenile Protective Association's Jane Addams Medal of Honor and a Victims Service Award from the Cook County States' Attorney in 2002. He also received Mayor Daley's community Builder Award and the Illinois Center for Violence Prevention's Peace Leaders Award.