"Students have been endeared to him by his gentle wit and compassionate heart. He patiently listens to their struggles and problems, and offers sympathetic words and wise counsel." J. Bradley Creed, provost of Samford University, regarding the awarding of the school’s 2008 George Macon Memorial Award for teaching to J. Roderick Davis ’63 B.D., retired dean of Samford's Howard College of Arts and Sciences. Media Newswire, Jan. 30, 2008.
"I kept thinking, 'I'm good at beating the odds,' I beat death three times. I got into Yale even when my teacher thought I was a bonehead. Why couldn't I beat these odds?" Dave Cark ’90 M.Div., Dec. 29, 2007, Des Moines Register, in the article “After gambling troubles, pastor finds redemption.”
"Christ is the shepherd, the congregation is the sheep, and the clergy is the sheepdog. It's the sheepdog's role to keep the community together and go in the direction that Jesus wants them to go." Peter Stebinger ’80 M.Div., Amity (CT) Observer, Feb. 21, 2008, in the article “Stebinger marks 25 years as rector.”
"Paula will bring to St. Olaf a deep understanding of higher education and a profound commitment to the college's mission. Her experience as the parent of two current St. Olaf students is certainly a plus as well." David R. Anderson, president of St. Olaf College, St. Olaf College News, Jan. 18, 2008, on the appointment of Paula Carlson, former lecturer at YDS, as the college’s vice president and liaison to the Board of Regents.
We know that religion was once misused to justify slavery. Today it is being misused to deny members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community full and equal rights. The African-American faith community must recognize the perpetrators and injustice, and bring about an end to the hurt that has been caused to so many.” Bennie Colclough ’90 M.Div., Feb. 21, 2008, writing in the Huffington Post, “African American Minister issues challenge to Obama on Equal Rights.”
"[People should] begin by reflecting on what is most important to them, preferably in conversation with time-honored spiritual teachings, and by developing the practices that best support those values and beliefs." Christopher Beeley, the Walter H. Gray Assistant Professor of Anglican Studies and Patristics, USA Today, Jan. 13, 2008, in an article exploring how Americans develop their inner lives, through spiritual practice and disciplines and in other ways.
"It's been my whim and wish to write this memoir. As I told people stories of my experiences, they said, 'You really should write this down.' So I did." Gretchen Van Aken Johnson ’87 M.Div., Jan. 8, 2008, Florida Times-Union, in the story “Gretchen Van Aken Johnson plays numerous roles in Called Girl, an upcoming play about her life.”
“After three years at PC, Professor Chard deNiord is one of the most genuine and kind professors I've ever had and one who truly cares about his students. Not only is he knowledgeable in his field, but he seems to really understand what students will take out of a class at college.” Kiley Taylor, a Providence College junior, speaking about Chard deNiord ’78 M.Div, Jan. 31. 2008, The Cowl (Providence College), in the article “Chard DeNiord Inspires Students through his Work.”
“I would like to help bring community and faithfulness to the church and its members and let the people know that my door is always open.” Rev. Sam Dexter ’97 M.Div. on his appointment as minister of the First Congregational Church of Watertown, CT, Feb. 7, 2008, Town Times (CT) in the article “Rev. Sam Dexter: New First Congregational minister.”
“I thought I was simply going to study ethics, but it became apparent that a change in my life had taken place.” Rev. Susan McCone ’98 M.Div., referencing her decision to enroll at YDS in 1994, Feb. 14, 2008, Town Times (CT), in the article “McCone named new preacher at Christ Church.
“The high percentages of teenagers who freely admit that unethical behavior can be justified is alarming. It suggests an attitude of ethical relativism and rationalization of whatever actions serve one's immediate needs and purposes. This way of thinking will inevitably lead to unethical if not illegal actions that will damage individual lives and ruin corporate reputations.” David Miller, Executive Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and assistant professor (adjunct) of business ethics,, Feb. 17, 2008, Corporate Responsibility Officer, in the article “Unethical Behavior: Largely Unreported in Offices and Justified by Teens.”
“If you listen to hip-hop with the right kinds of ears, you hear spiritual yearning. You hear questions constantly raised about 'Why is it like this?’” Rev. Otis Moss ’95 M.Div., citing the lyrics of hip-hop artists Nas, Talib Kweli, Common, Mos Def and Jay-Z, Feb. 17, 2008, Chicago Tribune, in the article “Remixing the Gospel.”
Author Becky Garrison ’92 M.Div. has two new books out: The New Atheist Crusaders and their Unholy Grail (Thomas Nelson, 2008), answering the anti-God gurus Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett; and Rising from the Ashes, Rethinking Church (Seabury, 2007), about the emerging church movement.
Peter Panagore ’86 M.Div. has written a book entitled Two Minutes for God: Quick Fixes for the Spirit (Touchtone Faith/Simon & Schuster, 2007), a book of devotionals that address topics such as love, loss, healing, work, mythology, celebration and family.
Chris Sawyer ’75 M.Div. has been awarded the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service from the State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. A partner in the Atlanta law firm Alston & Bird, Sawyer was honored for his work in conservation and environmental leadership with numerous national and local organizations, including The Trust for Public Land, which he currently serves as emeritus advisor.
Laurence Cecil Judd ’46 M.Div., a missionary to China and Thailand from 1948-1970 with his wife, Virginia, and professor emeritus of sociology at Illinois College, died Jan. 28, 2008 at the age of 87. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he was a strong advocate for peace and convinced Illinois College supporters to launch both the Martin Luther King Award and Peace Studies Award given to outstanding students at convocation each year since the 1980s. As professor emeritus, he remained active with Illinois College, leading efforts to establish the multi-disciplinary Peace Studies program. From 1970 onwards, he was active in the Great Rivers Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA), often serving as guest preacher in area churches. Judd and his wife continued their service to the Thai Church returning to Thailand four times as volunteers (1976-77, 1986-87, and the winters of 1987-88 and 1989-90). The Judds’ mission letters from the 1948-70 period were donated to the Day Missions Collection at the Divinity School Library in the mid 1990s. In addition to his wife, he is survived by five children, nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Kat Banakis ’09 M.Div. has won second place in an essay contest sponsored by the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South. Her essay, entitled "Steve, Psych, Sanctify," examines chaplaincy training in an inner-city psychiatric ward. Banakis's piece garnered a $300 prize and will be published in an upcoming issue of the RCWMS newsletter, South of the Garden. The Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South, founded in 1977 and located in Durham, North Carolina, offers a wide variety of programs on feminism, faith, creativity, spirituality, and justice.
Harold A. Durfee ’44 B.D. recently delivered he first Durfee Lecture in Philosophy at American University on the topic “Parmenides in the Twenty-first Century.” He also recently published the article “On Beginning with Nothing” (Existentia 16, 2006).
Lidabell Lunt Pollard ’88 M.Div., former pastor of the Congregational Church in New Canaan and the first woman in Connecticut to serve as senior minister of a church with more than 600 members, died on December 18, 2007. While at YDS, she was awarded the Mersick Prize for excellence in preaching. She was a national specialist in Christian education, obtained a certificate in clinical pastoral education in chaplaincy, and served churches in Wilton and Farmington before being called to the church in New Canaan. Since her retirement in 2001, she was the minister emerita and continued to lead worship services as a guest minister in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida, and led retreats and workshops on such diverse subjects as retirement, spiritual growth and Bible study. In addition to her husband, Charles F. “Chuck” Pollard, she is survived by three children and eight grandchildren. Donations may be made to the Congregational Church of New Canaan Mission Outreach Program, Park Street, New Canaan, CT 06840.