Most seminarians overlook church management. Not so Kerry A. Robinson ’94 M.A.R., formerly development director for Saint Thomas More Catholic Center and Chapel at Yale and now executive director of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management. Impressed by Robinson’s work in institutional ministries, the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in California recently invited her to deliver its commencement address on May 22. “I’m honored and humbled by this invitation,” Robinson said. “JST graduates are the future spiritual and administrative leaders of the Catholic Church worldwide, and I look forward to sharing this momentous day with them.” Kevin Burke, S.J., executive dean of JST, describes Robinson as a committed Catholic lay woman who “has discovered a range of creative and powerful avenues to help the Church fulfill its mission.”
Peter W. Marty ’85 M.Div. was honored with the Parish Pastor of the Year award by the Academy of Parish Clergy, an international organization of clergy from many religious backgrounds and perspectives. Marty is senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA. According to the ACP, the award is given annually to a parish pastor who has “consistently demonstrated exemplary faithfulness, leadership, and personal characteristics in ministry, as reported by multiple endorsements from colleagues and parishioners.” The award was formally presented at the APC's annual conference in Racine, WI on April 20.
Krista Tippett ’94 M.Div., creator and host of public radio’s popular Speaking of Faith program embarked on a series of public talks in March focused on her new book, Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit. The book reveals the creative interplay she has discovered between scientific and religious questions. One stop along the way was New Haven, where she gave a talk to a large audience at the Shubert Theatre on April 6 and then dropped by the YDS Student Book Supply the following morning for a book signing. Other stops included the New York Public Library, Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, DC, Harvard Divinity School, and the Perlman Theater at Kimmel Center for the Arts, Philadelphia. On May 18, Tippett is scheduled to speak at the Minneapolis Public Library.
Notre Dame, it might seem, has a knack for courting controversy--or at least arresting protesters. When President Obama delivered the university’s commencement address last year, 88 demonstrators were locked up. Meanwhile, in a previous protest, members of the Soulforce Equality Ride also found themselves behind bars--including Delfin Bautista ’10 M.Div., who recently spoke at length with the South Bend Tribune about his experience.
Not many musicians who perform with Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, and Tony Bennett go on to write critically acclaimed novels. But then, most musicians aren’t Todd Johnson, ’91 M.A.R., author of The Sweet By and By, which follows the lives and relationships of five southern women. Johnson will be reading from the novel in Litchfield, CT on May 13, 2010.
After earning his degree at Yale Divinity School, Wayne Conner ’70 B.D. headed straight to Duke University to work on a Ph.D. But over winter break, 40 years ago this December, he decided to leave the Ph.D. program, never to return. Instead, he spent the next four decades as a youth pastor in Kalamazoo, MI. “I loved it,” he told the Kalamazoo Gazette. “So I stayed.”
Bennett Lee Owens, M.Div ’52 B.D. died from cancer on April 15, in Fearrington Village, NJ. During his career he performed a variety of roles, from serving as the Episcopal Chaplain at Brown University to speechwriting for Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign.
When you’ve sold over one million books, why not write one more? For William H. Willimon, ’71 M.Div., the decision was an easy one. His latest, “Who Will Be Saved?” challenges Christians of all persuasions to rethink their understanding of salvation.
Harry Wappler, ’61 M.Div., died on April 21, following complications from a stroke. Although he was also an ordained Episcopal priest, Wappler was better known as Seattle’s weatherman—he spent three decades as chief meteorologist of KIRO TV. Aaron Brown, a former anchor for CNN, called Wappler “probably the most decent man I ever met.”
George Paul Reeves, ’43 B.D. died on April 15 in Asheville, NC. He served as a Navy Chaplain during WWII, and then as an Episcopal Priest in Florida and Georgia.
After 37 years, Bert Keller ’66 S.T.M. will be stepping down as pastor of Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, SC. During his tenure, Keller sought to balance traditional theology with modern spirituality. “When we only bring out what is old, then we totally miss out on what's going on today,” Keller says. “When we only bring out what is new, then we rob ourselves of depth and we become superficial.”
For most couples, getting the marriage license is the easy part—it’s the wedding that’s hard. Not so for Thomas Conroy, a public defender, and Sarah Ruden, currently a visiting scholar at the Divinity School and recent recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. A practicing Quaker, Ruden refused to raise her right hand and recite the requisite statement. “I tried to explain again and again that if I did that, it would be an oath,” Ruden said. “Quakers do not swear oaths.” But when all was said and done, Ruden and Conroy had their marriage license in hand.
Leonard Frey ’52 B.D. passed away in Memphis, Tennessee on April 6. A gifted linguist and educator, Frey taught most recently at the Hutchinson School in Memphis.
Erhard S. Gerstenberger, who served on the YDS faculty in 1961-64, reports that his dissertation from Bonn University (1965, under Martin Noth) and his Heidelberg habilitation thesis (1980, under Hans-Walter Wolff) were reprinted, without changes, in German, in 2009 by Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR.