About People

"It is not possible to argue sanely in favor of increased droughts, floods, famine, disease, hurricanes and hundreds of millions of refugees due to rising seas. These are the consequences of unabated climate change, they have already begun, and they will worsen unless we act with fortitude and wisdom.”  Andrew Barnett ’12 M.Div., in a Dec. 18, 2009 column in the Minnesota Star Tribune following his attendance at the global climate summit in Copenhagen. 

“I wanted to give others an honest and appreciative look at the ministry... Young pastors pressed us to write about family and marriage, and there were times while writing this book where I had to wipe away tears.” Martin B. Copenhaver, ’80 M.Div., co-author of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers with Lillian Daniel ’93 M.Div., Dec. 17, 2009, Wicked Local Wellesley, in the article “Wellesley minister writes about his 'odd and wondrous calling.”


"War, there's just nothing decent about it.  I signed up and went away for three years in the South Pacific, and I learned a lot, but I learned that war is evil.  I think the presence of war right now is the greatest evil that we have to face.” Will Campbell ’52 B.D., Associated Baptist Press, Dec. 17, 2009, in the article “Day with a legend: Belmont students meet Baptist activist Will Campbell.”


 “As a mystic, I can talk about mystery a lot and really deal with the questions of faith, rather than answers. And I think the questions are more important.” Sidat Balgobin ’92 M.Div., Dec. 16, 2009, Norwich (CT) Bulletin, in the article “Pastor of Park Congregational Church Retiring after 10 Years of Service.”

"People here love the church deeply and have a lot of energy. I would like them to focus that energy to accomplish the ministries that are already going on here. They're doing great things, but they can accomplish even more." Bonnie Bardot ’82 M.Div., Dec. 16, 2009, VoicesNEWS.COM (CT), in the article “Church in Oxford Welcomes Veteran Interim Minister.”

Samuel Candler ’82 M.Div., dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, and YDS Adjunct Professor Jerry Streets ’75 M.Div. were recently elected to the Board of Trustees for the Fund for Theological Education.


 “Families are utterly distraught as to how they’re going to pay for a test or a treatment, and that is an excruciating position to be in even for families with insurance.  In my view we have an extremely backwards system, even the thought of a deductible -- that you are somehow punished financially for going to see a doctor when a condition first starts, whether that’s a cold or a lump on your body. I think there’s tremendous opportunity for reforming our system and we have a lot to gain in getting this right.”  Rebekah Davis ’06 M.Div., Dec. 21, 2009, The (Omaha, Neb.) Reader, who recently declared her candidacy for Nebraska's 3rd Congressional Seat.


 “It was the first time that some of them were able to publicly speak of the beatings and torture they had endured. The chance to work together meant so much to them. On the final day of the workshop, when they were developing strategies and projects for reconciliation for their communities, the catharsis was incredible,” Andy Dreitcer ’83 M.Div, a professor at the Claremont School of Theology, Dec. 8, 2009, in a Wabash College news story, “Dreitcer ’79 Leads Healing Workshops in Zimbabwe


 “And it’s been a joy. The unexpected plus: The life-changing aspect is that after conversion I have spent much time explaining Christianity to Jews and Judaism to Christians.”  Julie Galambush ’79 B.A., ’83 M.Div. a former Baptist preacher, recounting her conversion to Judaism in the November/December 2009 issue of Moment Magazine.


 “What this is about is helping these families live and live quality existences, so we don’t focus on the illness, we focus on living.”  Bob Franchini, a supporter of Sunshine House, a children's hospice currently under development outside New Haven. Nov. 3, 2009, New Haven (CT) Register. The founder and CEO of Sunshine House is Amy Kuhner ’96 M.Div., who has raised over a $1 million for the project.


"I have always been committed to the freedom struggles of all people.  I hope that my experiences as a minister and as a person of color will help me serve as a bridge between PFLAG and the communities where I have done my life's work."  Gil Caldwell, civil rights activist and former adjunct professor at Yale Divinity School, commenting on his election to the national Board of Directors for Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).  Oct. 26, 2009, PRNewswire.


The Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, NC recently held a reception in honor of Mel Williams ’69 B.D., in recognition of the 40th anniversary of his ordination. "My central focus has been the joining of spiritual practice and social justice," Williams said. "Jesus was a mystic and a social reformer. Where he leads, I seek to follow."  Oct. 24, 2009, The Durham (NC) News.


Stephen Ogden ’09 M.A.R. is one of 16 students to take part in the 2009 Lilly Graduate Fellows Program, a pilot program funded by the Lilly Endowment and based at Valparaiso University.  Ogden is currently pursuing a dual doctorate in philosophy and religious studies at Yale.


"Whether we end up with a 1,000-member church, merge with a different church or we close and sell the building and it has to be torn down, whatever the option is, I hope they feel we thought it through and we were faithful,” Gina Finocchiaro ’04 M.Div., Dec. 24, 2009, Portland (ME) Press Herald, in the article “Accepting the future on faith: Challenging times force the small congregation at Williston-West church to brace for change.”


Paul Kolbet  ’94 M.Div., ’95 S.T.M. has published a new book with the University of Notre Dame Press, Augustine and the Cure of Souls.  Publicity material from Notre Dame says Kolbet “situates Augustine within the ancient philosophical tradition of using words to order emotions” and “uncovers a profound continuity in Augustine’s thought, from his earliest pre-baptismal writings to his final acts as bishop, revealing a man deeply indebted to the Roman past and yet distinctly Christian.


John Edwin Smith, the Clark professor of philosophy emeritus at Yale who had long associations with YDS and The Works of Jonathan Edwards at Yale, died on Dec. 7 in Arlington, VA.  A prominent philosopher and author, he taught at Yale from 1952 until his retirement in 1991.


 “Calm, thoughtful, engaging, sometimes humorous, Young, was a leader who turned First-Plymouth Congregational Church into the antithesis of the stereotypical image of mainstream churches as stale, standoffish and shrinking.  Under his leadership the church became a vibrant place, full of activity and outreach efforts.”  Dec. 11, 2009, JournalStar.com (Lincoln, Neb.), in an article about the Dec. 10 death of Otis Young ’57 M.Div., who in 2007 shared the YDS alumni award for distinction in congregational ministry.


Mark Bayert ’68 Div. died Dec. 9, 2009 following complications of heart surgery. He retired from Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Minnesota in 2007 and had previously served as pastor at several Presbyterian congregations in Iowa and Illinois.